“You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Today marks nine years since I lost her – my mom, confidant, and friend. August 9, 2011 changed me in such a profound way.
There are so many beliefs out there about grief that I was honestly confused at first about how to navigate my own journey.
Below is some stinking thinking I initially adopted:
• Stay strong. True believers of God move on and move on FAST.
• Stay busy, busy, busy.
• You need to fill your mother’s “shoes”.
I couldn’t have been more wrong about it all. It would be three years after my initial loss that I faced my grief and faced it courageously...
I had to boldly own every regret, accept God’s grace of “slower” processing, and walk in the identity gifted to me and me alone. This was different. This was tough as “unhealthy church culture” and “strong woman” society mantras had literally dictated the trajectory of my grief journey for far too long. I suffered tremendously because of it.
It would take God himself and the words, counsel, and affirmation of some wise women at a Christian conference to free me from the prison of delayed and unprocessed grief.
One of the most scariest things in the world was walking up to the panel of female ministers, counselors, leaders, and therapists (I didn’t know) to voice out loud the wounds of my heart. As the weight of what I had been carrying was being released, I literally collapsed on the floor. The women graciously counseled me right where I was as undignified and not “put together” as I appeared. The tears, confessions, and pain flowed freely from my body as God was doing a new thing from that day forward.
Today, as a Certified Trauma Healing Facilitator (look at God😊), I feel especially accountable to spread hope to others who may be experiencing something similar (grief experienced by death or other forms of loss related to breakup, separation from community, end of friendships, and severed emotional ties/connections).
And so I end this post with just a few words of encouragement:
• God does indeed care and He desires to walk through grief with us. A feeling of abandonment is common but you are NOT ALONE. Repeat this as needed: “I am NOT ALONE.”
• Safe people and spaces are crucial. Everyone can not handle your pain, story, and matters of your heart and this is OKAY. This can feel like rejection, but don’t take it personal. Just choose wisely.
• Everyone’s grief journey is different. Your mourning process may not look like mine or your friend’s or coworker’s journey.
• It’s quite fine for unexpected memories and tears to manifest – even years later. Acknowledge what you feel and intentionally quiet yourself and space — allowing God to be there with you in prayer, reflection, singing, journaling, etc. Call a friend or person of support (😊 God knows I sure did a couple of days ago. Asking for support and prayer from others has made a world of difference!).
• Be kind to yourself. You are human and the Bible itself reflects such humanness as it relates to grief and loss over and over again (a large portion of the Psalms are laments and prayers of suffering).
• Seek out professional help (please do your research) if you feel like your grief journey has been extremely overwhelming. Counseling or therapy has helped many people. If you are suicidal, please reach out to your local crisis care line or call 911.
#grief #courage #faith