I was with a lady today whose husband died last week. It was so sad…
“I loved [him] more than life itself.”
“It’s like everywhere I look he’s screaming at me… I can’t even go to the grocery without something making me think of him…”
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this! We were supposed to grow old together!”
It got me thinking about grief. Everyone experiences grief throughout their life, even when they haven’t necesarrily had a loved one die. We go through a grieving process every time something is lost, even if it’s an intangible like, security or hope. Whatever the loss, the more significant it is, the more deeply we grieve. The important thing to remember is that no matter how big or small your loss… it’s okay to grieve.
I keep a stock pile of the book Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen, for whenever I, or someone I know experiences a loss. It’s a therapeutic guide for healing. These are some of the most important points from the story…
1) Everyone grieves in their own way.
2) Rushing through grief does not make it heal faster. Slower is better.
3) People grieve about all kinds of things, like divorce, a house fire, retirement, chronic illness, loss of a prized possession, a break-up, a stillborn child, flunking a class, an unfaithful spouse, death of a child, loss of status, death of a pet, infertility, death of a spouse, a fatal diagnosis, death of a friend, and many more.
4) Grief is messy. There is no guide for how to do it. It hurts, and to make it worse, there are misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and wrong assumptions all over the place.
5) Grief always takes longer than one wants it to.
6) Cry… Cry alone. Cry with someone. Cry on someone. Cry softly. Sob. Wail. However you do it, just cry. It’s okay if you do most of your crying alone. It’s okay if you can’t cry at all right now.
7) Letting yourself grieve will hurt, and for awhile it may be the only thing you feel.
8) Remember the good things and the bad things. Go over each one carefully.
9) You may still be grieving when everyone else has moved on.
10) Well wishing people may do or say things that make it worse.
11) Sometimes what one needs the most is a knowing look, a warm hug, and a listening ear.
12) Get some exercise.
13) Eat comfort food when you can’t get yourself to eat anything else.
14) It’s okay to be angry with God. He can handle it.
15) Don’t put off grief. Just because you don’t deal with it, doesn’t mean it will go away.
16) It’s okay to give yourself a break from grieving.
17) Share your grief with someone else who is going through the same thing.
18) Eventually, give yourself permission to not grieve all the time.
19) You may never completely finish grieving and that’s okay.
20) There is something down deep within all of us ready to help us survive the things we think we can’t survive.
If you are grieving right now (or need to be), I wish you the best as you travel this hard and painful journey. ~Eva