You can’t get off and it doesn’t even seem real. But you’re stuck there…riding the grief train with no other option but to ride it out until your own heart releases you.
So, sweet friends, let’s talk about what happens when we lose a loved one. It’s a heart wrenching, aching loss, that takes the wind our of our sails and often leaves us feeling numb.
When our hearts are hurting we often can’t see clearly. In fact, I remember that about three weeks after my mom died and I finally began to come out of the funeral fog, I felt as though I had just stepped out of the fog and into the haze.
My mom died on November 6th after a long battle with cancer and I miss her every day. For the first couple of months I seemed to see life through that haze. I just hurt inside and nothing anyone said could change that.
People mean well, but comments like, “Well, at least you were expecting it.” don’t really help. If your heart is hurting because you’ve lost a loved one, you know the best thing someone can say is simply, “I’m so sorry for your loss!”
But God is real and His presence during those difficult days has been an assuring reality that this life is not all there is. If it were, we would be most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
The other day I wanted to go to the cemetery and just sit by her grave and cry…for hours. I just wanted to spend the day thinking about her and crying. But I knew I couldn’t. I had to chose to say no to my own need to grieve. Not because I shouldn’t grieve, but because I knew it would throw me into days of depression if I did.
You’re going to have to make choices like that too. Choosing to not let your heart linger in the place of pain.
So, instead, I chose to busy myself with the dailies of life and seek God’s face in the midst of the pain. I’m so thankful He speaks peace to our hearts in the midst of our storms and He carries us when we feel the weight of the loss is pressing us down.
Today, sweet sister, please know that it’s okay to cry. I’m crying with you. I’m crying for you. Your emails and comments have brought tears to my eyes and I’m walking with you through this thing. Somehow the Lord is allowing me the privilege of bearing your burden with you and I am honored.
But I also want to encourage your heart to healing. Healing doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean living as though they never existed or as if their death had no affect on us. It means seeing the death of your loved one through eternal eyes and knowing that, while they are no longer with us – you are…and God still has a plan for your life.
Some people say there are 5 stages to the grief process, others say 7, but whichever is true, it is a process of emotional healing that you must walk through to some degree or another. Some go through each step; others skip a couple steps on their way to acceptance. Some linger in one stage longer than another.
Look at the grief stages below and try to evaluate where you are in the process:
5 Stages of Grief
1. Denial and Isolation
7 Stages of Grief
1. SHOCK & DENIAL
2. PAIN & GUILT
3. ANGER & BARGAINING
4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS
5. THE UPWARD TURN
6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH
7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE
Everyone is different and I don’t know what stage you are in, but the ultimate end of the process is hope. Acceptance and hope.
When you lose a loved one it hurts. It hurts so much. And while the process of grief is necessary, you must enter it knowing there will be light at the end of this dark and painful tunnel. You may not see it now…but it’s coming…one day you will laugh again.
Before I close today, I must say this… in fact, it’s something I will say with every post in this series on grief… “I know your heart is hurting and I know you feel depressed. That’s a normal reaction to life altering events. And while it’s okay to go there – it’s not okay to stay there.” And that means this ride is going to be tougher than you think because you’re the one that has to chose when it’s time to get off.
One day, death will be no more and sorrow will cease. So hang on, sweet one and let God wipe away your tears.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4
Sweet friend, do you know someone who may need this series? Do you? You can subscribe and receive these posts in your inbox by clicking here, or you can click on the Google or Networkedblog feeders to the right of the page.