12 Lessons Grief Taught Me

Stones500
  1. 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.
  2. 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 others survived the day after, the week after, the month after, the year after, the lifetime after their love one died.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Comments

  1. Barb Bolt Stull says

    Interesting—-I lost my husband 5 years ago this month. This time of joy and happiness has a certain damper at times for me. Thanks goodness for family/friends. I appreciate your sharing of ideas about grief.

    • KaylaFioravanti says

      Barb – I can’t imagine what it would be like to loss your spouse especially during the holiday season. Anniversaries are hard enough to go through without them being right in the middle of a time of joy and happiness. I am so glad you have good support from family and friends. Blessings!

      • Barb Bolt Stull says

        Thanks—–one group of friends is the soap community. Due to my failing health I am unable to make soap at the present time. I still have contact with them via facebook—-wonderful. Its all good. Blessings to you and yours.!

        • KaylaFioravanti says

          The soap community is a tight and loving community even when you don’t make soap anymore. Awesome community that has blessed us both.

  2. Carol Wilson says

    Oops…it’s nuggets…not nougats. My mind must have been desiring a sweet confection when I typed that. Or, maybe the dozen points are confections.. .hmmmm

    • KaylaFioravanti says

      Ha! A wee bit of comic relief is always important. I didn’t catch it – I read what you meant, not what you wrote.

  3. Santana ™ says

    my grandmother passed away on Sunday 12/8/13, we were very close. Im so glad I found this, #11 hit me hard.. Thankyou.

    • KaylaFioravanti says

      I’m so sorry for your very recent loss. #11 hit me hard too while I was writing it. It is so very true and hard to walk through especially with such a recent loss.

  4. teresa says

    I lost my husband on August 23 2013 to cancer. His bday would have been September 27 our anniversary November 7 and then there’s thanksgiving and now Christmas. I am alone and now hate the holidays oh and throw my bday in there on December 3. I cry on a daily basis. I have no idea on how to get thru this

    • KaylaFioravanti says

      Teresa,
      Your comment breaks my heart. It is exceptionally hard when holidays, anniversaries and birthdays come up – but that so many hit you one after another after your husbands death multiplies your pain. Please be certain to reach out to people around you like family, friends, your church, if your husband was in hospice use their continued services and any other community you are connected to. Don’t go through this all alone. I don’t know your situation, but I hope and pray that there is someone you can reach out to.

      There are a few online resources as well to connect with a community. http://griefnet.org/ and http://www.onlinegriefsupport.com/ and http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Bereavement/support-group.

      I will be praying for you.

  5. WillowJen says

    Thank you so much for this. I am so glad I read it. My best friend, my mom, passed away 8/13/12 but honestly, it feels like yesterday. She suddenly passed away when my babies were only 14 months & 2 months old. At the most challenging point in my life, I lost my role model, my advisor, my sounding board & my best friend. I will re-read this again & again. Thank you.

    • KaylaFioravanti says

      Processing the loss of my mother is what inspired this blog post. The influence of your mother will show through as you mother your children. I wrote the poem below the day my mother died. The line, “I can hear you in the language of my motherhood and the dialect of my life.” will be true in your life too.

      Upon Goodbye

      It is nearly impossible
      to think of you in the past tense.
      Your life is colorfully woven into the fabric of ours.
      I know you are gone,
      I saw you leave,
      but in my memory you are vividly alive,
      with your mischievous smile
      teasing the corners of your mouth.

      Saying “she was…”
      doesn’t fit comfortably on my tongue yet
      because you left bold strokes upon my life.

      I see you “alive” all around me
      You live in the impression
      you left upon your grandchildren.
      Your life is etched in the laugh lines
      worn deeply into my father from a lifetime
      of joy shared with “the love of his life”.
      I see you in the bold brush strokes you left on canvas
      and the lives you touched.
      I can hear you in the language of my motherhood
      and the dialect of my life.

      I feel your strength that you wove deep
      into the hearts of my brother and I
      because you always knew that you would leave us too soon.

      Death may have taken you,
      but what you left behind
      Will echo in our lives
      for generations to come.

      Kayla Fioravanti 2/10/11

  6. jacquelynbodeutsch says

    Kayla this is beautiful! I love what you wrote! Such important things to remember after a loss. God bless you for sharing and getting such helpful info out there!

  7. Terry says

    I walk thru my days, trying not to remember-
    I kneel and pray trying to fill that hole-
    I wait for that reunion and try to let life go forward-
    Part of my heart is missing-
    My baby is gone but never forgotten-
    I want her back, but know she’s better in heaven-
    I walk thru my days, trying not to remember

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