In my last two blogs (Grieving through the Holidays: Part 1 and Grieving through the Holidays: Part 2) I identified seven tips for grieving through the Holiday. I pray that those have helped you or a loved one who need this information.
In this last blog I will discuss the last three tips. May the Lord use this information to help give strength, peace, and new life.
8) Understand you are not alone.
There is a universal and particular side to all suffering. In a universal way, I understand the pain of losing a loved one (my Mom died in 1995, my dad died in 2005, and we have had seven miscarriages since 1995).
It is good to know that universally, there are many people who understand some of what we go through when we grieve. However, there is a particular side to suffering as well. Particularly, you can never fully understand my suffering nor can I fully understand your suffering because I am not you and you are not me. It is good to recognize this, but we need to decide to focus on the universal side of suffering because if we focus too long on the particular side it becomes too self-absorbed and we buy the lie that “nobody understands.”
Try this today: If you feel like “nobody understands” the depth of your pain, tell yourself that is only half true: that universally, many people understand what you are going through and remind yourself that Jesus understands totally and has redeemed all suffering that we will ever go through.
9) You may have to tell people what you need.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that does not know how to respond well to grief issues. There are many ludicrous, uninformed, and downright foolish statements that people tell us to bring us “comfort.” I truly believe that people do not mean to bring us harm in these circumstances, but rather they really do not know what to say. If you feel up to it, you can gently remind them that what you really need to hear is: “I am sorry for your loss.” When we grieve, these validating words can be balm for our souls.
Try this today: If you feel called to assertiveness and to a teaching role, practice this statement: “Thanks for your concern, but what I really need to hear is: ‘I am sorry for your loss.’” For more information on this topic, please read my wife’s blog (Maureen) “what to say to a friend who has lost a loved one.”
10) When you are able to, laugh a little.
When we laugh the brain releases endorphins, which are morphine-like chemicals that our brain gives us! We need to balance the heaviness of grief with laughter. Our loved ones want us to do this.
Try this today: Pull out some funny photos of your loved ones and let the laughter come. Or watch some old funny and good TV shows (Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies, etc) and let the laughter come. If the tears come that is okay too. Humans can feel joy and sadness at the same time.
My deepest prayer is that these top ten tips will be of great value to you, or a loved one who is grieving as we enter into the Holiday Season. May God bless you with healing.
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