- The walk through grief is filled with milestones that are precious. You cannot sneak past grief in the night, run through it or sit still in one spot of grief. You must walk through it at grief’s pace. Grief is a passage, not place to wallow in, skip past, or tunnel under. If you don’t go through the grief it will fester and consume you in another way or at later time.
- Read through grief. Read the experiences of others. It is good to know you aren’t alone in your thoughts and struggles. At one point in your grief the numbness caused by shock will vanish and you will need to know that other survived the day after, the week after, the month after, the year after, the lifetime after their love one died.
- Cry, even if you aren’t a crier, allow yourself to cry, weep and sob as needed. Even if crying leaves you exhausted and spent it still washes away a stronghold of hurt. Crying does not miraculously close a wound, but it allows a festering sore to feel cleansed.
- Love your way through grief. The instincts of hurt can cause us to withdraw within ourselves, but loving others is a salve of healing. Bottled up potential love causes the vacancy left in our lives to feel enormous. Loving on others multiplies the joy in our lives. Even a glimpse of joy can be enough to carry you through the next hour.
- Forgive those who don’t know how to be there for you in your deepest hurt. Keep in mind that people will say stupid things, they will pull away and some will tell you to come to them when you need them – none of it feels good, but give them grace. This journey is new to them too. Listen to their intentions and not what the clouded perception of emotions can make you hear.
- Lean into God as you walk through your grief. There is no rescue or instant remedy that will offer relief from grief–only daily walking, talking, reading, writing and crying our way through grief leaning into the shoulder of the Father. Grieving alongside the Lord is the most intimate exposure you will ever experience with Him. God is near to the broken hearted. He will walk beside you on the messy path of grief.
- Learn to live with a hole in your life without falling into it. You can’t join the dead while you are grieving. You have the right to grieve, but not at the expense of the very essence of life. It is okay to laugh again, live again and adopt new people into your life. Accept the fact that life will never be the same, but you will find a new normal even with an ever present hole in the middle of your life.
- Have realistic hope about grief. It will get better, but it will always be present. You never stop missing your loved one. People don’t take their place. The vacancy is forever deep. It never goes away. It just gets easier to live with. The grief will never ever end. If it were to end we would forget our loved one; however you must continuously move forward in your grief.
- Don’t starve or gorge your way through grief. You will need the sustenance to survive grief because it is an exhaustingly long journey, but gluttony will only wear you out too. The same is true about drugs, alcohol, making yourself too busy to grieve and other methods of numbing yourself. Don’t try to numb the pain of grief, feel it, and go through it so that you can grieve in the here and now, not sometime in the far off future. You will grieve, even if you try to numb it, so do up front rather than later.
- Remember, to remember, to breathe. As sorrow engulfs you it is easy hold your breath, tighten all your muscles and give into the tension caused by loss. Life goes on with or without you. Take it one breath at a time, one step at a time, one jagged sob at a time; moment by moment remember to breathe.
- Grief is the price of love, but you must continue loving even as you pay the price. Your loved one enriched you, made you who you are and you must honor their lives by living yours even without them. Love others, love often, love openly, love fervently, love expectantly, and love completely into the lives of others.
- Write your way through grief. Even if you aren’t a writer and have no aspirations of becoming an author write your way through grief. Use a journal or purposefully write when memories flood you and you feel you may drown. Writing it out is a healing life preserver. Writers are the lucky ones who naturally use the written word to process grief. Become a writer, even if the words are only for your consumption.
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