Grief Update - You Can’t Stay Here
Email Day 32 of my 365 days of GriefShare emails…
You Can’t Stay Here
The journey of grief is one that you must ultimately decide to complete. You cannot remain where you are right now. Time moves forward, and so must you.
“You can’t stay here because God’s Word is always going forward,” says Dr. Ray Pritchard.
In Philippians 3:14 Paul says that he moved forward toward “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NASB). The Christian life is not static. It is a walk with God that moves you forward into a larger life with God.
The Lord’s plan for your life is pure and simple during this time of grief: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 NASB).
Lord, may I simply walk with You. Take my hand and guide me through every moment of this day. Amen.
This is the best email I’ve received yet. Part of the reason I was so excited about getting pregnant in May was that it made me look forward to something. So often in grief you are looking backwards or lamenting how crappy you feel in the present. Being pregnant clearly demonstrates LIFE moves on.
And just because you “move on” doesn’t mean that you didn’t love your loved one. It’s just life.
So on September 8, I started attending a Christian grief support group called GriefShare. I’m nervous about the upcoming holiday season and thought that having a group of people going through what I’m going through would help. Did anyone just think “Wow, she’s still in the thick of it? She’s STILL grieving” I say that to myself every day. I feel guilty for leaning on my husband so heavily and for having so much of my energy still absorbed by the process of grief. There is no timeline for grief and one of the things I’ve already learned from the group is that what I’m feeling is NORMAL. There are 5 adorable widows, three couples who have lost children, a widower, and me. I feel a little like the odd man out. I’m actually the one who has lost someone the most recently - most of the others experienced loss in 2013 or even earlier. I was surprised and reassured that they were still going through the process.
GriefShare Week Two stated there are 4 actions of grief:
1. Accepting your loved one is gone (could take 6-9 months - NO WONDER I STILL FIND MYSELF DOING DOUBLE-TAKES AND AM OFTEN IN PARTIAL DENIAL! It has just now been 6 months.
2. Release your emotions - I wish I had done this more early on. I wish I had gone full out Greek tragedy, pulling my hair out, wailing, gnashing teeth, and going crazy because it’s OK to go out crazy right after someone dies. Now? People would be concerned.
My #1 piece of advice for grieving people is to LET IT ALL OUT. GO CRAZY NOW.
3. Store Memories - Doing something with your loved one’s belongings. I started a scrapbook almost immediately after she died and worked on it for two weeks but I’ve been scared to touch it again. Maybe when Sean comes to visit for Thanksgiving?
4. Separate identity - this one is going to be a doozey for a while. I was my mom’s caregiver and my duty to her as a dedicated, serving daughter was a big part of my identity. My mom and grandmother were also my two biggest role models and often a foil or example for how I should do things, act, say, etc. Unwinding what’s me versus them is going to take time. What do I want versus what would they want for me?
5. Reinvest in life - I feel as though I’m already doing this the best I can. I invest in my health for my growing baby boy, in my husband, in Quincy, and in friendships to try and keep me motivated. I’ve been able to dig my heels in at work in the last two months and have had a few successes that have bolstered my confidence as well.
If someone you know has recently suffered loss, I highly recommend they at least sign up for the daily GriefShare emails and possibly join a local support group as well. The emails touch base with you daily FOR A YEAR. Grief can be lonely sometimes and just this daily reminder that others are suffering for as long if not longer than you is comforting.