Grief can be overwhelming. The loss of a loved one or even something that you loved can often make it difficult to handle our everyday challenges. Our reactions to grief are as unique as our personalities.
Our friend Tim recently lost his sister-in-law with whom he was very close. His grief was written, not only across his face, but in the words and memories he shared with our family. He also told us the story of the reactions of his young great nieces, and nephew. Their responses reminded me of how differently we all deal with loss.
We All Cope Differently with Loss
Here’s an excerpt from an email sent to Tim from his niece Leslie:
I just wanted to let you know that we told Hayden, Ian, and Nora last night that Grammy was gone to join her Lord and Maker in heaven. They each took it in their own ways, and will continue to do so.
Nora boo hoo’d like you have never heard before. Big, big unfiltered feelings. May we each feel the freedom to take moments like that which are not reserved for the under 5 crowd.
For Hayden, it was a torrent of tears on her cardigan. She continued to process with us throughout the whole night. She came down the steps many times after tuck in, with many questions and concerns. Then she said something sweet. She asked us if we had ever read the Psalms. We assured her that we had. She said that David cried out to the Lord sometimes, and then felt peaceful other times. Then she told us she was ready to nod off to sleep in peace.
Ian didn’t shed a single tear. He just curled up next to me and held my hand. Then he excused himself, went up to his room, fetching a Christmas card picture of Grammy and Papa and held it.
Each of them had more questions about Papa than anything else. Like all of us, Grammy and Papa are inextricably linked. We cannot fathom one without the other.
More importantly, the thing they seemed the most certain of is that our cherished Grammy is in Heaven. Strong, safe, and whole, and anticipating the day she sees each one of us.
Processing Our Grief
Maybe you relate to these sweet children and have lost a loved one. While there’s no one right way to cope with grief, we can learn to be patient with ourselves and the process. Grief can trigger some uncomfortable emotions that are unpredictable at best. But as we embrace this process in our own ways, we can do a few things to make it a bit easier.
- Honor the loss and acknowledge how painful it is.
- Remind yourself that this won’t last forever.
- Take care of yourself: emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
- Seek out support from loved ones or even a support group.
- Establish a new routine that acknowledges your grief, yet finds purpose and hope in the future.
Grief is messy, but we do have choices during the process. We can be honest with those around us. We can ask the Lord to heal our hearts. We can place our hope in Jesus and focus on the truth.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NLT)
Prayer for Those Coping with Grief and Loss
Lord, we know that you see us right where we are. You are compassionate. You are our healer. Please take the brokenness of this grief and make us whole again. In the moments where nothing seems to comfort or help the loss we feel, show us how to depend on you for everything that we need. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you are coping with grief and loss, please comment below. I’d love to pray for you!