What is grief?
We experience grief any time we lose something that is very valuable to us. Some of
the deepest grief is experienced when we lose someone close to us. A family member, friend, mentor, pastor, co-worker, or any loved one. The pain we feel can be deep and overwhelming. It may be experienced emotionally, physically, socially, or mentally.
Grief is often preceded by a sense of shock or disbelief. As the shock begins to fade, a deep sense of sadness often fills its place. Some people may experience anger at the loss. Others may be consumed with a sense of emptiness. Often there is confusion, disbelief, or even a loss of sense of safety. You may experience any combination of these emotions and others. Grief can impact your ability to function, eat, sleep, or socialize. For many there is a numbness or disconnection to the world around them. These are normal responses to the loss of a loved one.
Grief is a deeply relational emotion that is best processed in a relational manner. Depending on how close you were to the person who passed, it will likely take a long time to work through your feelings of grief. Each person is unique and fills a special role in life. This makes each person irreplaceable. While the function they played in our lives may be played by someone different when they are gone, the person themselves will never be replaced. This is a difficult reality to accept, but it is essential to the healing process.
Allow yourself to feel whatever is needed while you are healing. Know that after a few weeks or months have passed, your feelings of loss may come in waves. This is normal and to be expected. Each person processes their grief a little different. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1) Take your grief to the Lord and ask for His care and comfort. I Peter 5:7
2) Talk through your thoughts and feelings. II Corinthians 1:3-5
3) Journal about the things cycling through your mind and heart. Job 19:23-25
4) Share your story with others experiencing the same or similar grief. Romans 12:15
5) Read a book, listen to a podcast, or attend a support group on grief recovery.
In some cases, when the symptoms above persist past your ability to manage, you should consider finding a counselor to assist you in the grief recovery process (Proverbs 20:5). While it is really healing to go through the grief process with friends and family, sometimes it is important to have someone outside of your situation to help you process as well.
Remember, the Lord is with you at this time. He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). It is ok to take your sadness, anger, and questions to Him. Trust Him to bring you the strength and resources you need to honor the memory of your loved one and to heal from the intense pain of the loss.