So for those who read my blog on the regular, you may have noticed I haven’t posted the last 2 Mondays and even the post on Wednesday was written 2 weeks ago and scheduled. My grandma died on 4th March, just when this year was starting to look up, but yeah it kind of messed with my positive outlook and my writing mojo so I couldn’t compose anything that was not deeply sad and depressing, even my poetry is dark and broody. And no, this is not the first time I’ve dealt with death, that would be over 10 years ago when my sister died. And since then I’ve lost friends, aunts and grandparents. But it doesn’t get any easier does it? It’s not like the more people die, the easier it is for you to be like “yeah, this is normal.” And I know as Christians we should be comforted and be rejoicing when one of us dies because we know they have finished their race and are now part of a great cloud of witnesses cheering the rest of us on but it doesn’t really take the pain away.
“There comes those times in life when the facade of control that keeps us together slips through our fingers and we scramble to seize it back. Such seasons are usually started by loss. We try real hard to get back to ‘normal’. But the best way to deal with tragedy and chaos is not to run, but to embrace the wave and let it die down. ” ©kenahcatalogs
And death isn’t the only way to lose someone or something. We experience grief when we lose jobs we really wanted or when opportunities we craved pass us by. We also lose people to madness, fear and depression. We lose contact with friends and break up with lovers. Relationships crumble before our very eyes and people we hold dear change slowly and painfully and drift away as we watch and have no ability to do anything to stop the night changing. Grief happens when we lose what we hold dear, when the control we exercise slips through our fingers.
Grief is a merciless master that we fall prey to and just when you think you are free, you crash and realize that you never stood a chance. It is a powerful affliction; you can try and turn your back on it but that is when it sneaks up on you and eats you alive and therefore it is better to just deal with it head on. Yet some people struggle to understand their own grief, unwilling or unable to face it and come to terms with the end of an era and so they run away. But today I would like to share a few tips that have helped me through the years and I hope they help you too, because grief and loss are a part of life, therefore you need to learn to deal.
They say that grief always occurs in 5 stages; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Whatever stage of grieving you are at, here are 6 steps that help with the healing process and dealing with the new normal.
1. Surround yourself with positive people:
Misery always loves company and therefore when you are grieving you will find yourself gravitating towards other sad, lonely or hurting people or retreating into the dark and crowded recesses of your mind. Now there is nothing wrong in seeking comfort in those who you think ‘understand’ more but the blind cannot lead the blind. You have to find a way to actually start healing, life is not ever going to be the same, but you can adjust and move forward if you surround yourself with positivity and light. Immerse yourself in your friendships, do more bible studies, have more family time, spend time with prayer warriors and worshippers.
Don’t give in to the sinking feeling and stay with those who want to drown but cling tightly to those who have found a way to make it to shore.
I know this may seem obvious to some people but it’s really not. Most people try to act all put together, pretend they’re ok or cry only at the funeral or for a day after that breakup. There is nothing wrong with taking time to wail and weep, even Jesus wept and yet he knew Lazarus would be raised up in a bit. The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or the passing of an opportunity are emotional straining seasons and it’s ok to cry; several times a day, for several days, even a few years later the memory can make you cry. There is no weakness in letting the tears fall, none at all. Just don’t wallow and that is why point number 1 is so important. Surround yourself with those who will hold you as you cry but still drag you back to the land of the living.
3. Talk to someone:
As you surround yourself with light and cry your eyes out, open up. Find one person you can be real and honest with and let them walk with you. It could be a parent, discipler, mentor, pastor, counsellor or shrink. Just don’t bottle anything up; it’s part of getting used to the new normal. Talk about what bothers you, what hurts and what you hate. Talk about the good days and bad. That communication line helps you process better and think clearer. It also lightens the load because a problem shared is half solved.
4. Find a healthy and moral outlet:
Now other than crying, you need an outlet for your emotions, especially those first few months. This is to ensure you aren’t hurting those you love while you are hurting. Be it sport, working out, writing, reading or music, find that thing that let’s you really let lose and lose yourself in it. Now see that I said healthy and moral so work is out of the list because becoming a workaholic will kill both you and your relationships, no drinking or drugs,no sexual immorality, no moping and most definitely no sleeping. Some things seem easier to fall into as an outlet but they only lead to heartache, misery and an inability to deal with your emotions.
Now I’ve found that there are times during my own grieving process that I somewhat resented God. I couldn’t understand how a woman who was not even 35, just had a baby and a young family could die of breast cancer, it wasn’t fair. I found myself not actually saying this but just letting it fester. It ended up hurting only me. You see, God remains God even when we don’t acknowledge him and his plans remain that way even if we don’t live by them. And yet we will hurt and mess up if we don’t lean heavily on him. So I discovered that because God lived as a human and experienced all the trials we experience that he understands so I should talk to him; Vent, cry, scream. Ask him those a million questions that are running through your brain or just ask ‘why’. It’s important because he will answer you and he will comfort you as only he can. No other human can do this.
6. Don’t force the process:
The first realization should be that there is no ‘going back to normal’ This is your new normal; without this person in your life. So you are allowed to change, you are allowed to move, you are allowed to be a completely different person because the person you were before has morphed into someone new through the grief. So do not let anyone, even yourself, rush you to be ‘ normal’ again or fool you into thinking you will be. You’ll get used to living without this person and that will become your normal. Also don’t rush it. Don’t rush the pain, don’t rush the acceptance, don’t rush the ‘I am ok’ face. Let yourself breathe and go through the process as you will. It’s your journey, so even if all of lost a mother, you don’t have to react to deal like Janet is dealing, do you. The best way to heal is to find the medical process that works for you.
Emotional healing is trial and error and there is no proven way to make it better. To each their own so own your process.
Remember that if you are helping someone through their grieving process, do not push them unnecessarily. When duress is applied to the emotionally unstable the result can be as violent as it is unpredictable.
Be gentle with yourself during this time and most definitely hold on to God and people. Don’t do it alone. If you have no family or friends, plug into a church and trust me you will find at least two people to help you. And remember it is a process not a jump. Step by step until you can breathe again. And like an addict, even after you have conquered grief, it may come back in bouts, the important thing is not to give in but to take yourself through the steps again. Also be sure to check out 5 things to do when you don’t know what to do, 7 simple steps to begin dealing with depression and 5 keys to having inner peace (even when your entire world is on fire) because they most definitely have tips to help during any period of loss.
Hope this blessed you. Click that follow button if you haven’t already. Comment below if you’re currently going through a grieving process and how you are doing it. Share with someone who will need it (buttons below) .
Much love and light,