Matthew 5:4 NIV
The past 6 months have been filled with some incredible joys (birth of our first baby) as well as incredible heartbreak (death of a family member). After a second time of mourning, I decided to write what I was learning about–mourning in a healthy way. So rarely does anyone preach on this, and there are so few resources. Hopefully the following suggestions will prove beneficial when you face a season of grief.
1. Rally the troops- Get everyone you know to pray. If we truly knew the power of prayer I’m sure we would engage it more. This is one of those times when prayer reaches into the crevices of the heart in ways we can’t begin to understand.
2. Focus on daily tasks- When bad news is heard, there is a period of shock. It can be difficult knowing how to go on as you mentally process this news. Caring for yourself physically is a tangible first step in the process. Eat enough, drink enough, rest. After hearing difficult news, I knew I had to continue eating and drinking because I was nursing my child. I also found comfort in the normalcy of everyday tasks like doing dishes and laundry – you need to take breaks from the grief while you can. Grief comes in waves; take advantage of the breaks. Also find what you might do to ease the load for the someone else – a meal taken to their home, a quick phone call of encouragement (more on what to say later), pick up the kids at school or run a quick errand.
3. There is no skipping the process- Many well-meaning people will find a ‘silver lining’ and move on. This never actually facilitates the mourning process. To fully heal, expect to experience these steps: Disbelief and/or Denial, Anger, Depression, and finally Acceptance. You may vacillate between these emotions and the order is different for everyone. There is also no specific time limit to this process.
4.Words heal but they can also hurt- Expect that during a grieving period or perhaps at the funeral someone will say the wrong thing. This is because people care but many struggle to adequately express their own feelings in words. No one can truly understand your loss; it will be different for everyone. The worst culprit is “I know how you feel” or bringing up an example of a minor loss that doesn’t relate. Accept their comments in good faith. A simple “thank you” will often suffice in response. Someday you will be in their shoes on the outside of a tragedy trying to comfort someone who’s experienced a loss.
Some additional points in the grieving process will be coming in parts two and three of this series. There will be tips on keeping the right mindset as we grieve and allowing God to help us heal.