BENEFITING FROM GRIEF by Fritz Grief, each of us has our own unique trauma to grieve about--and yet there seems to be a great deal in common in the grieving process for everyone. Grief, it is a challenge. It comes with feelings of sadness, guilt, anger, confusion, and fear. The first feelings maybe disbelief and confusion. Then we find that we want to get things off of our chest, a release of the feelings. A good friend can really help when we want to talk. Finally, the day comes when we are able to accept what has happened and move on with life. This doesn’t mean we no longer care about what we grieved about, nor does it mean we’ve forgotten, it simply means we have worked through the feelings associated with the grieving process. There is alight at the end of the tunnel, there is hope, there is freedom from emotional pain, but each person has his or her own timetable and sometimes the journey seems impossibly long. Have you tried to think things through, and it just doesn’t happen. Grief is a releasing process, and a healing, the heart and spirit of a person are the players to watch, don’t expect the analytical part of the brain to score a touchdown in this
situation. The heart of a person will push through to score, even though the analytical part of the brain schemes and schemes. But many of us are afraid of our feelings. We hold back our feelings, when the tears and the grieving are what we need to heal. Blessed are those who weep, for they will find comfort. When we grieve, we often feel our world is falling apart, its gone. We are isolated in a confusing world. The world made sense, but now it doesn’t. Now we see ourselves in such a different world. We need to be patient with the world. Faith is the victory that overcomes such a frightening world. We must have the faith that eventually there will be light at the end of the tunnel. The world that has shattered like a broken mirror seems like it cannot be reconstructed. But miracles do happen everyday--and those shattered pieces will miraculously mend themselves in a mysterious way. When we first grieve, many of us want to retreat from life. We find it hard to talk and be around others. We just get through each day. Often we can handle the truth only is small packages, so we turn to denial, either partial or full denial to get us through. Sometimes the best we can do is incorporate the truth at the speed that we can internally deal with it. We know this happens to other people--but when we grieve it seems to bean aberration. Slowly the mind breaks down its denial. But while it does, we wake up feeling like we’re in a nightmare. Can this really have happened On the one hand we want to disbelieve, yet on the other a small voice tells us--YES, this terrible thing did happen. One shock after another. We take the shocks as fast as we can. Someday the denial will begone, and the grieving will begone. But until then the process continues. Our feelings of love, our good feelings are responsible for us grieving. If we had no feelings we could not grieve. Grief is a testimony that we can love. Grief is a neon sign that we can care for others. Grief is a memorial that we can get close to someone. Those same abilities to love are now causes for our pain. The weight on our backs from the grief is really the weight of the proof that we cared for and loved another. When we wrap our world and intertwine our world with another, the world seems empty when that person is gone. The disciples were heartbroken when Jesus left them. The Holy Spirit was sent to bean Page 453 ... eternal comforter for mankind. Not only is the Holy Spirit thereto comfort us, but many of our brothers and sisters have gone through suffering so that they can minister comfort to us, as they were comforted. Maybe the world isn’t so lonely after all. Reaching out to someone else who has suffered the same pain as we have is often soothing. If we let people minister comfort to us, we are giving them the chance to be like God the Holy Spirit, the comforter. This will strengthen them spiritually as they walk in the same direction that the Holy Comforter moves. Some who we thought suffered with us, may not be in a place to provide comfort. They may not realize that with only a little better grasp of what grief is, a little extra time, and the willingness to listen they could be so helpful. We must give them space too. But if we reach out for help when we grieve, it is a chance for us to feel needed and loved by the living, rather than staring off into space, and a chance to talk, rather than hoarding our feelings. We must give people the space to not be helpful too. Unfortunately, the type of feelings we are hoarding are often the same
type that our friends are secretly denying themselves. They are notable to face true emotions in anyone. The most helpful friends are those who will take the time to find out what we need, and will participate in helping with those needs. A vague suggestion to travel, is not going to help as much as if the friend gets a ticket for us and travels somewhere with us. Sometimes while grieving we enter those periods where we need to be touched, to be hugged, to have a pat on the back as a friend passes by. This can mean the world to us. When we grieve it is natural to feel alone. However, when we grieve we can honestly come to realize that others have also had the weight of grief on their back. So go ahead and grieve. Grieve and grow stronger through the hours, the days and the months. The road we each travel is our own--and yet to be honest with life--we each must travel down a road, and each road is filled with things to grieve about. Let us travel down our own road. It is ours to travel. But we must be kind to ourselves if we hope to travel down our own road, because it will take determination and spirit to get through. We must recognize and take care of our needs. If our needs conflict with what others expect, we may have to clearly state our needs without apologizing. It is our own road to travel not theirs. Its OK. to get help from friends. We just need to learn to verbalize what it is that they can specifically do. Vague comments for help during a grieving state, may end up frustrating everyone involved. To shut ourselves off from others who can help is not wise. When we grieve, we float through the day. But people are resilient. They don’t sink, and after awhile the floating numbly through the day, becomes soaring and flying through the day. The entire person grieves, the body, and the spirit and the mind. We must minister to all of these. And yet all of these parts seem so numb. Yet, we must allow these parts to feel. The body, spirit, and soul need to express themselves. They need to each groan in their own way. The body feels tired, not just occasionally but most of the time. We must sleep and we must eat if we are to have the strength to continue on this journey. Even if we don’t immediately want to do these things, to neglect our sleep or meals will only make the journey harder. On the other hand we need to be sensitive to our new limitations. Under the stress of grieving, we may not be up to going to the store like we used to, but we can console ourselves with the fact that this will only be temporary. Grief is an emotional surgery to the heart, body, soul and spirit which needs time to heal. Before our loss, we had settled into life a certain way. When we lose it, our confidence in life is jolted. And that lack of confidence develops into fear. This fear can come from Page 454 ... seemingly out of nowhere, and rob us of the safe secure feelings we had. There are many people who will ask us questions, give flippant advice, and if we let them, they can hurt us. However, we can choose to understand that often their pity is the best they have to offer us, and their questions, however thoughtless, are an outgrowth of their interest and natural curiosity. If people say worthless things to us, then we can discard these words into the trash. We want understanding from others, then we need to give understanding. There are not many people who will nurture us in silence, and just be there silently with us. And sometimes during grieving we want to talk, or to be talked to, but sometimes we just want silent companionship. Grieving is healing. When we lose something externally, sometimes we then try to internalize it. It’s as if we are saying, "Now I’ll place it in myself and then I won’t lose it" We may adopt the mannerisms of the person we lost, we
may in an effort to stop the pain substitute something for them. After we heal, we will still be vulnerable to surprise triggers, which will trigger us to remember our period of grief. First, we must get over our loss, and then we will have to get over the grieving memories. As individuals we have to wrestle with powers that are greater than us. Changes in life, caused by overpowering uncontrollable events in life, may produce strong feelings of loneliness. If this is equation on life is written in another way, it can also be reduced to the statement loneliness equals a fear of life with its uncontrollable changes. The only way to win against overwhelming situations is to take baby steps and to deal with those situations that we can and keep moving forward even if its only at a snails pace. Gradually, as we step through and over the small problems, we will gain the confidence and inner strength to face the bigger ones. Life is brief. Many generations have come and gone. And just as a rainstorm is made up of little raindrops, God Almighty’s big plans and His big purpose is produced through each of us tiny drops on the panorama of time. At some point in the recovery phase of grieving, we relearn our own happiness. We salvage what is good in our life, and we recognize how to be happy and we allow ourselves to be happy and move forward. In recovery we find ways to record the past so it is not forgotten, and then turn the focus of our minds onto the present. We cannot be happy in the pastor the future, for we live only in the present. It is possible to let goof the past without giving up caring. We can go forward into changes, while our memories carryall that was good of the past that we want to bring with us. Finally, as we recover, we get to the point where we are now equipped to comfort others. As we move forward to help them, we find that in helping them with their grief, we further heal ourselves. What a healing it is when we are able to be thankful for all the wonderful things we have experienced. Some of us have had hard lives, but most of us there are exceptions) have something that we can appreciate. Thank the good Lord that the earth hasn’t jerked as it has revolved around its axis. If it had just once, we might have seriously been hurt. We take so much for granted. Our grief feels like it will rob us of joy forever. Nothing seems to console. We don’t think we could ever love anyone in the future, like the people we miss from the pass. In the early stages of grief, we were in a fog and it was frightening not being sure how to travel. But we learn to be patient with ourselves, and to balance self-improvement, solitude and involvement with others. Day by day our emotional lives stabilize. More and more, we bloom like a flower and we open up to the sunshine all around us. We find new sources of love and joy. And as we finally recover, we are amazed at how Page 455 ... much grief has silently taught us. We never knew we were so strong. How did we persist in persisting. How did we get past just floating numbly through the day When we recover, we surprise ourselves at that inner strength and patience we always had but didn’t know was there. Finally, the value of choice shines so bright. How wonderful God was in giving us choice. Thanks to grief, we have stopped to reflect upon our lives, and we have realized what is important. The chance to make good choices is important. Now we realize how important. Now we realize that we can choose and design our lives like we choose with the new strengths we discovered through the grieving process. We are
survivors, and survivors are strong people. Survivors have better-defined goals, fresh views, and stronger views. We have thrown away oor masks, and we are facing life with afresh understanding of who we are. As we grieved we recognized those things in life which gave us life and strength. Now we appreciate those life-giving things. As recovered survivors we no longer need to ask why we live, we realize the value of living life to its fullest potential. Now we are ready to be used of God. We are content to be alive.