Sorrow that seems unstoppable. Tears that have no end. Unanswered questions. Words of comfort that fall on deaf ears. Grief is an agony of the soul that one day will exist no more (Revelation 21:4). But until then, we all must take the journey.
There have been a few people from my life that have died—some battled a prolonged battle with illness and others were taken suddenly. However, the most difficult death I’ve ever endured was the loss of my father. Gone over a year now, I still find myself navigating the grief process. It isn’t nearly as painful as it once was—however, it’s a loss I continue to work through.
Here’s some things I’ve learned about grief that I believe may help others…
- It’s okay to “check out” when in the beginning stages of grief. I remember going to the grocery store the day after my father passed. I felt like a zombie walking through the aisles and a bit foolish as I fought to keep the tears at bay. If I had thought about it, I would have sent someone else. Although my family needed to eat, I wasn’t ready for this simple task. Sometimes you need to step back and let things go, or delegate. There is nothing wrong with checking out in the initial stages of grief.
- Don’t look at grief as your enemy. I fought the grieving process at times. I didn’t want to feel, didn’t want to hurt or cry anymore. But grief isn’t the enemy. Death is the enemy and one day it will be defeated. Until then, grief is part of the healing. It’s what helps us process the loss and move forward.
- There is no “right” way to grieve. Grief doesn’t have an expiration date. It can last weeks, months or even years. Also, the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) are guidelines. You may not go through every stage. Some stages may last longer than others. You could end up back at a certain stage you thought was over. Everyone grieves differently…and that’s okay!
- Know the One who can fill the gaping hole left by your loss. Things will never be the same when you’ve lost someone close to you. I’ll never send another Father’s Day card or call my dad to provide an update on my son in the military. There is a gaping hole left when someone dies. Holidays will never be the same. New firsts won’t be experienced with your loved one who has passed on. Moments are now just a memory. But there is One who can fill up that hole. His name is Jesus. He understands our grief and He wants to help us walk through this dark valley. Jesus will bring us to the other side of hope, comfort and healing.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”