I had the blessed opportunity to attend my second GriefShare meeting. It was a mixed group of familiar faces from last week and a few new ones. This session helped us recognize what it means to be stuck in grief and how to develop positively through the process. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for a person to mourn with the same intensity even many years after a death. But the objective is to get unstuck from becoming stagnant in our mourning.
Each meeting, we watch a video around a specific theme and listen to people sharing their stories of loss. There are references to Scripture along the way so that we never lose sight of God’s power in our time of pain. We also have a workbook so that we can jot down sticking points from the information being presented to us. After the video, we get a chance to have a group discussion so that we can explore our discoveries.
These are my takeaways:
- Always take care of yourself because you’re still here and need to continue living
- We love and cherish people but they are not essential
- Can’t skip the grief so it’s best to work through it
- Continue to worship God and demonstrate His goodness to others
- We can choose to be trapped or use the experience for a greater purpose
- Don’t obey your feelings as they constantly change (like the weather)
- Be patient while adapting into a new normal
- We don’t own our loved ones as they are on loan to us by God
- Connect with others to build a community based on encouragement and inspiration
- Honour your loved ones every chance you get (birthdays, holidays, anniversaries)
We also deconstructed a couple of beliefs such as “time heals” and “stay busy”. The passing of a loved one is not an open wound which will eventually regain its original state. Grief does not follow any kind of predictable pattern nor is it linear. There will always be unexpected triggers which can lead you all over the map. I’ve decided to fill the void with memories and God’s unwavering love. Being busy for the sake of distraction can easily spiral into an unhealthy obsession. Actually, we need time to reflect, be sad, cry and do all of those things that feel uneasy. I make a conscious effort to sit alone with my thoughts and feelings so that I can process them. Brushing issues aside or pretending they don’t exist, doesn’t make them go away and just makes it worse.
I’ve learned through personal experience that you can grieve the loss of someone who is still alive. For instance, the relationship with my mom has been very strained for many years. It’s been difficult to connect with her because she is mostly occupied with her own issues. It’s been a couple of months since we’ve heard from her despite my dad trying to reach out. Unfortunately, sometimes the existence of our loved ones is in limbo while here and that can be extremely exhausting in itself.
Watching someone fade out of your life is not a great experience.
Last week, I decided to share my story with my colleagues at our monthly staff meeting. It wasn’t planned but I was extremely happy to take the mic. At one point, I almost broke down in tears but was able to maintain my composure and carry on. There were a couple of topics which I felt needed real awareness – the opioid epidemic and humanity. It might be interesting to know that people are turning to painkillers for the hurt in their mind and heart. Yes, anxiety and depression is everywhere. It’s not a simple as putting on a cast and waiting for a few weeks to fully recover. We really don’t know what others are going through despite how they may appear. We can all bear to learn how to continuously be kind and caring beings. One nice word which may be insignificant to you can give someone a world of hope. Never underestimate the value of a smile or a hug because our soul appreciates these gestures.
I received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback which touched my heart in a profound way. The part that really brings me joy is how comfortable people become in sharing their journey after hearing my tale. I really hope that David is proud because he inspired me. I am not ashamed of how things turned out in my life because Lord knows we’re all broken. The need to say something overshadowed any doubt or anxiety because the message was stronger than all of that. It would almost be selfish of me to keep this to myself.
Let us not confuse when it’s time to remain silent and when to speak up because…
you just might save a life.