This grief can occur after death, yes. It can also show up after the loss of a dream, a life transition, moving, a job change, a change in our routine, or at other times. Children and adults experience grief and we all process the experience a little bit differently.
If you find yourself in a season of grief or know someone who is, hopefully, this article will help. We’ve included some tips for processing grief as well as encouraging quotes and Bible verses for times of grief.
How People Might Experience Grief
Most of us are probably familiar with the “five stages of grief.” Did you know that these are not meant to be understood as linear? You do not move through each phase in a neat and tidy line. While some people might go through them all in order, you may not.
You may go through all five phases in a day. You may spend a significant amount of time in one phase and a brief time in another. These stages of grief are meant to teach how we typically process grief, not to be a timeline to understand when you’ll “get over” your grief.
The five stages of grief are:
A note on the depression stage: this is different from clinical depression. If the feelings of depression persist for longer than two weeks, reach out to a counselor or healthcare provider.
These stages will look different for everyone and everyone will have their own expression of grief. If you’re concerned about your response to grief, or the grief of someone you know, reach out to a counselor for help.
Tips for Processing Grief
Here are a few rituals, spiritual practices, and activities to help you process grief:
No matter the reason for grief, talking it through with a counselor is a great place to start. They can be a safe place for you to process, share memories, ask questions, and move through the stages of grief.
- Prayer & Meditation
- Establish a routine
In as much as possible, let this be a season where you have consistency and predictability in your days. Even establishing a simple morning and evening routine can be helpful.
- Outside help
Accept outside help with meals, chores, household tasks, errands, work, etc.
- Keep people in the loop
Inform those around you about what is going on.
- Writing activities
Therapeutic letter writing is a powerful tool during periods of grief. In this practice, you write a letter to someone that you never actually intend to send. If you’re dealing with grief over a death, for example, you might want to write a letter to the person who has died. If you’re dealing with grief over the loss of a relationship, you would write a letter to that other person.
Grief over a job loss could look like writing a letter to your former boss or coworkers. You can even write a letter to God or your past or future self. Get everything out on paper that you’d like to say to them- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some folks like to keep these to look at later on while others like to burn or bury them or have some other ritual with them.
A “brain dump” is similar to therapeutic letter writing. Set a timer for 5 minutes or commit to filling an entire page. Then free-form write about your loss. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, form, etc. Just write from your heart and see what comes from it. Nobody else will ever see it and you may choose to destroy it when you’re done.
Regular journaling practice is a good idea to adopt during a time of grief if you’re not already journaling. There are also journals specifically designed for processing grief with writing prompts.
A prayer of lament. We see these prayers throughout the Bible, especially in the Psalms. These are prayers in which we boldly tell God what our complaints are and pour out our grief. We then ask God to bring help and comfort and acknowledge God’s love and power in our lives. A few examples of laments are listed below.
- Have a funeral
This will, most likely, happen if there is literal death. But if the grief is the death of a dream, a transition, or something else, you’re not likely to get a funeral. Hold a small funeral or ceremony either alone or with close friends and family members for the specific thing you’re grieving. It may feel a bit silly at first, but most folks report it to be quite meaningful and healing.
- Plant a tree or flower in memory of what you are grieving
Gentle movement such as a gentle walk or restorative yoga is incredibly important during times of grief
- Eat nourishing foods as much as you can
- Unplug for screens, especially social media
- Spend time in nature. Nature is a powerful healer!
- Get some bodywork
Massage, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, chiropractic, and other bodywork modalities can be a good way to calm the nervous system and provide a bit of relaxation during times of grief
- Read books or poetry on grief
- Join a support or care group
Examples of lament and grief in the Bible:
We see lament other places in Scripture as well, such as in Job and Jerimiah
Quotes and Scriptures Verses for Grief
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. – Isaiah 53:4a
“The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” – Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott
“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” – C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.” – C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
“Grief can destroy you – or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it.
“But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it.
“The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.” – Dean Koontz, Odd Hours
“In Loving Memory”, Courtesy of aitoff, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Folded Hands”, Courtesy of Reenablack, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Lakeside Walkway”, Courtesy of Big_Heart, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Cemetery Angel”, Courtesy of Tim Mossholder, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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