We have looked at the 5 steps in dealing with Grief. Today I will offer you tools that will help you through each step of the way.
Fellowship. Finding a strong, understanding support team will help to get you through your most difficult days. You may only have one or two friends or relatives to speak to or you may have an entire support network – either way it is impertinent to find at least two people who care enough about you to listen. If you don’t have anyone close to you find a support group or even start one.
This is where you will find that the more you talk about your grief the easier it will be to walk through these difficult days. A close friend of mine said that after her husband left her and the kids she filed for divorce. She was suffering a tremendous amount of pain, anger and heartache. She said she had a few close friends that she talked to. She found that the more she talked the more she healed. She said
“I talked and talked and talked. You finally find that when you no longer need to talk as much, you are now in the healing process.”
Getting Out. Getting out of the same atmosphere that you and that person were once in can help tremendously. When my daughter left for Thailand I didn’t know when I would see her again. I was deeply grieving and heart-broken. I found that being in our office at home was very difficult. This is where we had worked together 5-6 days a week. The memories felt overwhelming and I felt very lonely
I found that just by eating out, going for walks and just getting away from the house helped me tremendously. I could go back into the office in small increments. I went in and rearranged the office and made it feel like I was serving a new purpose. It no longer continually evoked memories of my daughter.
Chris’s husband Rick was killed in a horrible plane crash. She didn’t want to live. She no longer wanted to get out of her home. She was so in love with her husband. One night I had a dream and Rick appeared in it. I saw him in his leather bomber jacket looking very handsome. He spoke to me and said “Chris has more ahead of her than she realizes.” Then he handed me a book. It was small and thick. I saw a mark in the book where Chris’s life was now and how much further she still had in her journey. The book showed me that she would be moving soon and would be beginning a new journey.
I shared the dream with Chris. She said that I had described the airbase where they had met. Little by little she began to force herself to get out of her house. Within a year and a half she had met a wonderful, Christian man. They soon married and moved into a new home. Chris had a new journey ahead of her. She was beginning a new path that God had for her.
If your friend, relative or loved one is grieving it is tremendously helpful if you can assist them in taking baby steps. This could be just a 10 minute trip to the grocery store, a short drive to the park, a walk around the block. Be flexible yet supportive.
You want to encourage them to get out even when they don’t feel like it. When Jill’s husband died she wanted to remain reclusive. One day two friends stopped by and encouraged her to just buy one can of beans. They walked with her through the grocery store. When she broke down crying because of the memories the store evoked her friends gathered around her and began to comfort Jill and pray for her. She later told me that one baby step was the first step forward in healing.
Moving Forward. One of the worst things that you can do while you are grieving is to do nothing. A woman who had just found out that her husband had passed away got a bucket of hot water and soap. She began to mop all her floors. As she cleaned she grieved. As she mopped she grieved. Being in motion helped her through her most difficult days. Finding work, hobbies and volunteer time to occupy your time is an part of the healing process. When you don’t feel like doing something it is still important to force yourself to get involved with life.
Sharon’s husband of 29 years left her for a younger woman. She was extremely distraught, heartbroken and grieving. She never went out. She didn’t work and she did no volunteer work. She was Suicidal and several times tried to take her life. I encouraged her repeatedly that she needed to find a job or do some volunteer work. She said that she just had no gumption to get out and do anything. She tried to take her life repeatedly. Yet, she would just stay home and cry. She was not moving forward. She was not allowing the healing process to continue. She was stifling it.
If you can find volunteer work that involves helping others, whether it is people or animals, the sense of camaraderie and serving always brings a greater sense of perspective and healing.
Volunteer where you are all alone would not be the healthiest position for you at this time in your life. Begin to pray “Lord, I know that I am on a new path. Please begin to show me the plan and purpose that you have for my life. Give me the courage to begin to move in that direction.”
My friend Terry’s husband left her and her three small children. Though she was devastated she continually forced herself to move forward. As she began to seek God on this new journey He began to reveal to her what plans he had for her. She felt led to get her college degree. No small task for a woman who was married at age 15 and received her GED because she never graduated with her class. She packed up her three small children and drove from Indiana to Tennessee. After four years of much work, fortitude and struggle she received a degree in psychology.
Terry has now worked with many patients that have suffered tremendously. The very thing that was set out to destroy her was the very thing that developed her. She has changed her world. You may not feel like getting out. You may feel exhausted. You may feel reclusive. You must learn to fight these feelings and choose to move forward.
Healing is a long process. It takes time, work and effort.
Yet in the end you will find God still has a purpose, a plan and a vision for your life.
You are in a new chapter of your life. God is just waiting to reveal it to you.