While grief can be the loss of someone you love, it can also be an abrupt change in your life that leaves you feeling off kilter and off balance, wobbling around and trying to figure out where to go and what to do next. This can include a change in your financial status, loss of job, infertility, change in body shape or size, divorce or abrupt change in relationship, loss of safety after a trauma, or another life-changing event.
Regardless of your age, grief can cause an influx and rush of emotions. You might immediately feel like you have been transported and are stranded in the desert, unsure of where to turn for help, emotionally and physically exhausted, and completely alone and depressed.
Things to remember about the grieving process.
Grief can come in waves. On Monday, you might feel energetic and excited to conquer a new week with new goals. You might check off a week’s worth of projects on your to-do list in one day. By Thursday, you might feel completely depleted of energy, overcome with sadness, unable to get out of bed right away, and lost in a sea of confusion as to what your next step is.
Seasons of grief come and go. Grief can vary by the week or by the day. Whatever loss you are trying to cope with right now, take it slowly. Don’t feel like you are failing because you are having a day where you feel overcome with sadness over the losses you have experienced.
Grief has its own schedule. Your grief timeline does not have a handbook that can quickly be read and applied from cover to cover. It is important that you take to heart that your grief is important and should not be compared to everyone else.
Your story and heartache can and will vary greatly from those around you. Some people start to feel better after a few weeks or months, while others have a grieving process that comes in waves for years. There is no “right” or “wrong”; just take it one day at a time.
There are three myths surrounding grief that anyone experiencing grief needs to take to heart:
Myth 1: If you ignore the pain long enough, it will go away.
What’s going on under the surface cannot be pushed aside and forgotten. You cannot shove grief into a tiny box and just hope that it will eventually disappear over time. Pain needs to be addressed.
If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to say goodbye by visiting a grave, then visit the grave. If you need to take steps to close a chapter of your life to accept it and move forward, be sure to take those steps. If you need to write all of your feelings on paper – grab a paper and pen and pour your heart out.
Just because something is gone or behind you does not mean you have to pretend it did not happen and that person was not important to you. It’s okay to hold on to the good parts of whatever you lost.
Myth 2: If you aren’t crying constantly, you aren’t grieving.
While it is a normal response to cry when you are experiencing sadness, just know that just because someone is not crying constantly does not mean they are not experiencing what may be unbearable grief.
There are many silent grievers all around you just trying to figure out what they are feeling and process how to move forward. Some grievers might deal with their feelings by withdrawing, while others cling to avoidance, and some try to be peppier than usual because they feel the need to be strong for everyone else.
The reality is it’s not unhealthy for your children and others to see you grieving. It’s okay to cry, to feel, to try and figure out exactly what your emotions are trying to tell you. Do not try to keep all your emotions bottled up. Let others rally around you, hug you, and hold your hand through whatever you are experiencing.
Myth 3: Finding hope and moving forward equals forgetting about what you were grieving.You can still treasure what you had while looking forward to the beauty that God has ahead for you. There have been certain people and things in your path for a reason. Maybe they changed you, taught you, helped you, or raised you. We go through seasons of beauty, pain, fresh starts, and hope.
No matter what season of life you have been in, there is hope. If you had a falling out with a friend, maybe God is using that season to show you what kind of friend you want to be for others and what kind of friend you need.
If you had to move out of your dream home because of financial constraints, maybe God is using that season to help you focus on the little things and to become financially sound. If you did not get promoted to your dream job, maybe God is using this season to prepare for an even greater position in the future that will use more of your talents and abilities.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV
Whatever season you feel like you are in, God has a plan. Right now is the perfect time to address the pain so you can move forward and see all the beauty that lies ahead for you.
How to move forward amidst a season of grief.
Acknowledge your pain. Stop shoving your feelings into a box or trying to hide in a dark corner to figure out your feelings. It’s okay to be human – whether it’s being sad, angry, confused, or uncertain. Give yourself permission to feel.
Realize that you might be triggered by grief when you least expect it. You might feel great on Monday and then be completely overwhelmed on Tuesday after seeing a familiar spot you used to visit with someone you lost. Different things might trigger you when you least expect it. You are not broken and there is nothing wrong with having good and difficult days. Just don’t try to face it all alone.
Ask for/accept help and support. While a lot of people will try to force opinions on you of how you should experience grief in various situations, it is important to have a support system to stand beside you and hold your hand as you try to navigate these new waters. Do not let others belittle your grief. Schedule a counseling session with a professional at our office who wants to aid you in your unique grief journey.
Acknowledge your unique grieving process and do not compare it to anyone else. We are all wired differently and experience and feel things in different ways. No one person copes the same. We are all triggered differently. Do not compare your journey to someone else’s. Just remember that it’s okay to feel what you are feeling.
Christian counseling for the grieving process.
The counselors at our office specialize in helping you process your losses and navigate your unique journey and would be honored to walk alongside you in this process. Today is the perfect time to schedule your appointment so you do not have to navigate the grieving process alone.
“Sand Sea”, Courtesy of Raychan, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sand Ripples”, Courtesy of Sumner Mahaffey, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Beach and Waves”, Courtesy of Finding Dan | Dan Grinwis, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Waves”, Courtesy of Linus Nylund, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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