To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
[God] has made everything beautiful in its time,
also He has put eternity in their hearts… (1)
Every thing is as God made it, not as it appears to us. Through sad times of death and separation, and in joyful times such as birthdays and weddings all are part of God’s design. Life is full of changes. We learn to take the good with the bad, and savor the happiness and grieve the losses. One thing is true of life: it is short, uncertain, and full of change. Death changes everyone and everything! Death brings with it separation from a precious loved one who we enjoyed sharing life with. We value,love them and grieve they will be greatly missed. The finality is permanent, heightening our grief. This unexpected grief is especially burdensome in these traumatic, unforeseen circumstances. But, as with all deaths, we must enter into bereavement. There are six stages of bereavement we must walk through when we have a significant person die that was part of our life.
Here are some coping methods:
- Grieving is a normal process which everyone goes through. Give yourself permission to grieve. Maintain the need to take care of “you”. Although the initial first stage is shock, manifested by being in a fog, numbness and denial, these will pass as you move into other stages of grief. It is while you enter another stage that you need to be careful not to resist denying your grief by feeling the need to portray a strong image. It is okay to cry…Jesus the perfect and sinless example still grieved, because it is a normal process necessary in order to heal.
- Grief interrupts so many areas of life. If you isolate yourself, you will miss many rich qualities your loved one has imparted to you into your life. Identify each part of loss and take time to grieve each one.
- Maintain plenty of rest to account for the physical and mental fatigue. Grieving can zap energy and cause lethargic sluggish emotions. To help relieve insomnia, there are some natural products at the health food store that can remedy those sleepless nights. Try a natural sleeping aid such as: sublingual melatonin, or some Yogi Bedtime teas. Also teas, such as Yogi calming teas, can keep you relaxed to prepare for sleep.
- Grieving requires a lot of your energy. Be sure to eat wholesome foods and exercise. Walking even twenty minutes a day can lift your spirits as you breathe clean fresh air, and fell the warmth of the sun.
- Your emotions are unpredictable with many odd combinations. They can leave you confused and in a state of despondency. Keep yourself informed of the grieving process to better understand what is normal during the process of grief.
- Journaling can be very therapeutic in sorting through grief. It is good to have a place to put down in words what you are feeling. Sadness, guilt, confusion, frustrations, anger, memories, and prayers can be released through writing. Then they can be picked up later to see marked progress and recorded answers to prayers.
- Communication is an important aspect of letting your desires be known. Write letters to family and friends telling them what you do and don’t need.
- Allow caring people around you to help with your needs, as they want to comfort you during the grieving process. Permitting them to help you will fulfill both yours and their needs.
- Music can be another method to find relief for sorrow. Music calms the soul. Some of the music by Maranatha can be relaxing and soothing to an aching heart. Also, Don Moen, Bob Fitts and Alvin Slaughter, are some other composers that can add to a rich calming atmosphere.
- Depression is consuming and is an intricate part of grieving. It is difficult to shake when life is turned upside down. It is one of the stages of grief that can’t be ignored. A lack of control can make us feel depressed. What can we do? We can lift our spirits by embracing hope. The Lord is our strength when we are weak…come to Him for strengthening. Shift the focus off self and onto the Lord. Thinking of His mercy, and goodness is a great remedy for emotional turmoil. Then, set your feet to follow Jesus right out of depression. The good news is that depression can be defeated by the power of God.
- The mind is both strong and weak. The strength of the mind recalls good memories, but it is frail in allowing negative imagination run wild. The mind has the ability to create images that cause havoc to our sense of well-being. Most of our battles in the mind are spiritual battle; not seen. “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2) The Lord is our rescue from bad oppressive feelings. I submit if you are in a place where your mind is playing havoc in your life. It is keeping you from peace, then try giving your anxiety to the Lord in prayer.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you; because he trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 am kjv
- Cast down those things that are oppressive, they are not of the Lord. Call out to God to protect your mind, thoughts and heart. Ask the Lord to carry the burdens that are too overwhelming. Think positive! Positive emotions can fill your mind of good things – beneficial for restoring the soul. Consider this, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy – meditate on these things.”(3) Truth speaks for itself – God is good! Think on these things! By the Scriptures we find comfort.
- They’re times when the grief is so overwhelming you can’t seem to get a grip on bitterness, anger, depression or you may have thoughts of suicide. It may be necessary to seek professional intervention. If needed do so, do not delay in seeking help for the problems and troubles that need professional treatment.
- The mixture of grief and uncontrolled emotions clouds the mind. Don’t make any major decision – for at least a year after a death of a loved one.
- Hold on to God’ s promises. When faith is faltering – seek God by asking Him to increase your faith. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”(4)
God is for you – He loves you. He has given you a love letter, the Bible, to confirm His love. Read His love letter in the Psalms for affirmation of love and comfort. Study the book of Isaiah to reinforce God’s sovereignty over your life. God holds everything together, even all that has happen in your life. He is your security!
“The righteous face many troubles, but the LORD rescues them from each and every one.” Psalm 34:19 It’s Alive, NIV
Remember, you are only in a season that is temporary and it will not last forever. When you finally reach the last and final stages of bereavement, life takes on a different meaning. The gloomy days dissipate, and life changes. What was dull and lifeless finally becomes renewed with freshness, where new hope is breathed in. Death changes us all, and through the changes we grow and mature. We slowly begin to accept that life will never be the same. The place of acceptance opens new opportunities that rise for a hopeful future. Life continues to move forward and although things are never the same, we cherish the loved one “holding them close to our heart”, knowing they desire to see us happy, not sad.
Heavenly Father, help me when I feel so sad. I have a hole in my heart for the loss of my loved one. Fill in the gap with Your steadfast love. I thank you for Your sustaining grace. Amen.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-3, 11a
- 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 KJV
- Philippians 4:8
- Psalm 46:1
Scriptures are taken from the NKJV.