Editors Note: Today’s post is written by our newest volunteer staff member. Her style and transparency are a great fit for us here at True Relationships and we are grateful to have her writing for us! Kim Yowler joined TR the last year as a volunteer copywriter. She’s spent most of her career either teaching writing classes or providing writing and editing for companies that serve the defense industry. Kim is a strong believer that writing should be reader-centered and authentic in order to be effective. It’s her hope that the Stay True Blog reaches your heart and helps you feel connected to the TR team. Kim is a graduate of Wright State University and Miami University. She currently lives in the Dayton area with her husband, her children, four cats, and Annie, their spoiled Australian Shepherd.
It’s a universal experience. It’s a natural emotion.
And yet, we spend very little time understanding it and allowing time for it.
If you look up “grief” or “mourning” passages in the Bible, you’ll find references about them stretching from Deuteronomy to Revelation. Hundreds of scriptures are dedicated to the reality of grief and the Lord’s understanding and comfort.
So, why do we shy away from talking about grief? Why is there so little discussion about how to handle it in a healthy way? Since it can trigger all kinds of emotions and pain, we prefer to avoid it.
Grief can remind us of how short time is or of other losses in our lives. Our American culture rewards hope and positive energy. Still, God tells us that there is a time for everything, including grief.
That time for me is now.
You probably don’t know me, but I could be someone you see today. I could be the woman in the car next to you in traffic. I could be the one leading a meeting at work. Or I might be the person in front of you at the grocery store. As I write this, it’s been 12 days since my sister passed away from COVID-19 complications. My family is still in shock, and we now walk through our daily lives and carry this with us.
We are in grief. I am grieving. But for most of my day, you’d never know it. But, I promise, it is real, nonetheless. Life must go on, we say. There are kids to pick up from school, a house to clean, paperwork to finish, and bills to pay. But grief is still here with me.
That’s why I’m writing this today. If you are grieving, you are not alone. Your grief may look different than mine. But it is a feeling of deep sorrow, no matter what. Grief is not just the loss of a person, as in my case. You may be grieving over the loss of a relationship, a beloved pet, a job, or moving away. The common denominator is loss. We all feel it, and it is easy to forget how universally human this feeling is. It is nothing to be ashamed of. This is a season of our lives.
Grief Is More Than Feeling Sad...and That's OK.
Sorrow is an individual experience. Everyone has a unique way to grieve. Don’t try to confine it to a small definition. You may have heard of the grief “stages.” Many people experience these stages, but they may not appear in any order. Instead of stages, you may experience different feelings, including:
- Difficulty concentrating and not feeling present with others
- Anger…at the deceased, at ourselves, at God, at any close target
- Guilt that you didn’t do more
- Sleep and appetite issues
- Irritability or numbness
- Intense loneliness
None of these reactions are wrong or bad. They are natural ways our bodies and minds cope with grief. They are part of the process of healing and trying to make meaning out of our loss. We can let go of expectations of how we “should” grieve or look to others. You are not on a timeline to “get over it.” Be gentle with yourself.
Offer Yourself Compassion
During your grieving time, your energy level will be different. You may not feel like yourself. This is normal. Here are a few reminders that you can take your time and allow space for your feelings:
- Try to avoid new responsibilities at this time. It’s OK to wait on big decisions.
- Listen to your body and rest when you need to.
- Try to eat healthily and exercise moderately.
- Write it down: keep a journal of your feelings.
- Talk to a counselor about your grief.
- Watch how you entertain yourself… films, shows, and books can trigger intense feelings.
- Speak to a spiritual leader or pastoral therapist.
- Get into nature. Fresh air and deep breathing can help our healing.
Reach Out for Help
My prayer for all of us who are grieving is that we practice kindness to ourselves and others. For you, that may mean talking to someone who has both empathy and training in how to deal with sorrow. True Relationships is a place we can share our feelings and work toward healing. Give the team a call if you’d like to talk through your grief or loss.
There are no quick or easy answers. But there can be peace and happy memories.