Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

15 Things I Wish I Had Known About Grief

My sweet friend, Jill, shared the following with my precious, Magen.  You have all been praying for Magen and her family since the end of September when she went into labor at 22 weeks gestation with twin daughters.  You were here with us in December when twin, Kash, went home to be with God, and you were here again when Kruze came home with a motorcycle escort.  It has been a tough walk for this sweet little family and there are many more tough days ahead.  Grief is devastating.  Life moves on around you....but you stand still.  Teryn O'Brien is the author of the fifteen things.  They are powerful.  They apply to anyone who has lost someone they loved.  I had to share this and of course I had my own comments to add.  "The After a year of grief, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also made some mistakes along the way. Today, I jotted down 15 things I wish I’d known about grief when I started my own process.  I pass this onto anyone on the journey.  No, I did not lose a child...but I thought 2009 - 2011 I would lose my mind with grief from losses.  I wish I had had this then....

1. You will feel like the world has ended. I promise, it hasn’t. Life will go on, slowly. A new normal will come, slowly. (I found that normal changes as time passes.)

2. No matter how bad a day feels, it is only a day. When you go to sleep crying, you will wake up to a new day.  (There are special days that can rock you....but even they pass and a new day comes.)

3. Grief comes in waves. You might be okay one hour, not okay the next. Okay one day, not okay the next day. Okay one month, not okay the next. Learn to go with the flow of what your heart and mind are feeling.  (Ok regular months, not Ok monumental months.  My dad died at the beginning of my Fall break.  My mom died at the beginning of my Spring break.  That first Fall break...I did not want to go anywhere....I was afraid someone would die.  I still get nervous when my phone rings when I am on a break.)

4. It’s okay to cry. Do it often. But it’s okay to laugh, too. Don’t feel guilty for feeling positive emotions even when dealing with loss.  (I remember the first time I laughed.  I felt like I should apologize to my folks.  I also remember the first easy breath I drew.)

5. Take care of yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Eat healthily. Work out. Do the things you love. Remember that you are still living.  (My friends Carolyn, Mary, and Susan stayed after me to eat.  Mary tried to take me to the beach.  Susan....well she stayed at the house....and we painted the my parents bedroom and bathroom, got a new bed spread and curtains and put new things on the wall.  It was so therapuetic.)

6. Don’t shut people out. Don’t cut yourself off from relationships. You will hurt yourself and others.  (This one was tough because it is my best coping mechanism.  My friends and family know this...and they bombarded me with dinner invitations, visits, and I am so glad they did.  They refused to let me curl up and withdraw from life.)

7. No one will respond perfectly to your grief. People–even people you love–will let you down. Friends you thought would be there won’t be there, and people you hardly know will reach out. Be prepared to give others grace. Be prepared to work through hurt and forgiveness at others’ reactions. (My biggest issue here was all the helpful words people offered....when all I really wanted was to be held and remember sweet moments and stories from the past.)

8. God will be there for you perfectly. He will never, ever let you down. He will let you scream, cry, and question. Throw all your emotions at Him. He is near to the brokenhearted. (On my way down Hwy 22 each morning I remember yelling at God, questioning Him, and crying.  I even pulled over a few times and cried til I was sick.  Once I got out and walked to the edge of the woods shouting at him.....and you know....He was there....always....holding me up.)

9. Take time to truly remember the person you lost. Write about him or her, go back to all your memories with them, truly soak in all the good times you had with that person. It will help. (I began some serious blogging during this time.  I have countless things written on tablets, napkins, scraps of paper.  As I remembered something special....I wrote it down immediately.....because I was afraid I would forget it.)

10. Facing the grief is better than running. Don’t hide from the pain. If you do, it will fester and grow and consume you. 

11. You will ask “Why?” more times than you thought possible, but you may never get an answer. What helps is asking, “How? How can I live life more fully to honor my loved one? How can I love better, how can I embrace others, how can I change and grow because of this?”

12. You will try to escape grief by getting busy, busy, busy. You will think that if you don’t think about it, it’ll just go away. This isn’t really true. Take time to process and heal.  (I tried to tackle cleaning out my mom and dad's house at this time(my mom was a hoarder)....and that was so wrong.  All I did was hurt more when I was there....and that eventually turned to anger.  It took walking away from the house to breathe again.)

13. Liquor, sex, drugs, hobbies, work, relationships, etc., will not take the pain away. If you are using anything to try and numb the pain, it will make things worse in the long run. Seek help if you’re dealing with the sorrow in unhealthy ways. (When my parents disappeared....right before my dad died and my mom snapped....Frank and I went to a counselor.  This was something no one should ever have to experience...the disappearance, death, and loss of mental faculties...  I was ill equipped to handle any of it.  I knew if I did not seek some help I would lose my mind.  After counseling....I realized that every thing I was feeling ....was normal.....for grief.  It was just a step into my new normal.)

14. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to need people. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.  ( I found it was actually ok....just to hug people and not say a word.)

15. Grief can be beautiful and deep and profound. Don’t be afraid of it. Walk alongside it. You may be surprised at what grief can teach you.  (I have learned through this that I have a great deal to offer others.  My grief and experiences have helped others cope.  I have learned what to do....and not to do.  I have learned what to say and not to say.  I have learned to be quiet and listen to their hearts and read their souls in their eyes.)"



Sweet Tea said...

Oh so wise.
Life lessons are often so hard to "get".
I, too, have walked this path - but didn't handle it very well.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Excellent list, thank you for taking the time to share it with us.