How to cope with grief and loss

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Okay… I’m not going to sugar coat anything in this post. Death SUCKS. To think that one minute someone you love and care about is here, alive and breathing, talking and laughing, and the next minute…just gone. Reality sinks in. You’ll never again get to feel their touch, call them on the phone, spend another moment with them for the rest of your life. That is deep and in my honest opinion, the absolute worst type of pain to endure. 

Over the past four years, I’ve lost people close to me and every time seemed to hurt worse than the first. First, it was my great-grandmother, affectionately known as Madea. If you know me, you know the incredibly close bond I had with both my great-grandma and my grandma. We were three peas in a pod. I remember all the times I would just lay my head on Madea’s big belly and listen to the noises her stomach made (weird, I know, but my fondest memories of her involved this). I was there with her till the very end—taking her to the grocery store when she couldn’t get around on her own anymore, escorting her to doctors appointments, even staying with her when she was too ill to take care of herself. Next thing you know, she falls asleep eternally on her couch while I’m away in college. That four-hour drive home SUCKED. This was my first big loss and these feelings were new and totally unbearable at the time. 

Her daughter, my loving grandmother, passed away only three years later, grieving to the point of sickness over the loss of her mother. We lived together, I saw her EVERY DAY. We laughed together, talked about the afterlife when she began to feel as though her time here on Earth was coming to an end. We shared the last moments of her life together. Next thing you know…she’s in the hospital..and it didn’t look good. I couldn’t get to her before she took her last breath. My last moments with her were on FaceTime…she couldn’t talk but only winked with a lone tear falling from her eye to tell us (her children) just how much she loved us. I knew all I needed to know from that last act of love she showed us that day, only four months ago.  

Before I lost my grandmothers, I remember stumbling across a verse during one of my Bible studies a while back and I learned for the first time that God is actually the “God of all comfort,” not just some comfort, but ALL. After suffering such loss, and after my loved ones would try their best to give me what I needed to heal, I realized that nothing they could do (no amount of food, desserts, comforting phone calls/texts/prayers), would really fill the void that my grandmothers had taken from me when they died. I had to lean and depend on God more than I ever had before. That was the only way I would get through it. 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 

2 Corinthians 12:9

Sis, if you’re struggling with loss, or even if you have been blessed to live this long without losing anyone close to you, death is inevitable. It’s going to happen, so it’s better to prepare for it so that you will know Who to turn to when the going gets rough. 

Advice for coping with loss and grief—the Biblical way

  1. Know what God says about death and grief. 

This means actually opening the Word and seeing for yourself God’s position on death. He says that those who die in the Lord are actually BLESSED! If we’ve surrendered our lives to the Lord, and if your loved ones have, it’s actually worth celebrating that they will eventually be reunited in spirit with the living God! Revelation 14:13 says,

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.

Not only does the Bible tell us what will happen to us after we die, it also explains how we should grieve. Check out 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. Here, we are told by Paul that there is a difference between those who don’t believe in Jesus and God the Father, their grief is much more painful and difficult to heal from. But if you are a believer, you know that God will bring up from the dead those who are asleep during an appointed time. 

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

A part of our rest should come from knowing that those we’ve lost will have eternal life with God. And honestly, eternal life in Heaven is MUCH better than the pain, sorrow, and imperfections we endure on Earth during our lifetime. I’m happy with my life here, and I desire to grow old and plant my seed in this Earth, but I am not afraid of death for this very reason! 

The Bible touches on loss and grief much more than what I’ve mentioned here. Please read these verses for further support: 

  • Revelation 14:13
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
  • 2 Corinthians 5:8
  • Revelation 21:4

2. Have at least one person who will allow you to vent your feelings 

You don’t have to tell everyone in your circle, or even family members, about the pain you’re feeling. Grief is lonely. No one can understand your pain on the same level that you do, even if they know and have a relationship with that person, too. You alone are left with personal memories that replay in your head. You alone have to cope in the middle of the night when your husband is sound asleep. 

This is why you need at least one person, whom you trust, to dump your feelings on. They don’t have to say anything to comfort you, because most likely there is nothing no one could really say that would subside your pain. But sometimes, just speaking out loud those painful thoughts will be just what you need to further heal. 

If there’s no one who you can trust to talk to, I suggest seeking counseling. Venting your pain can be very beneficial in your healing process moving forward. 

3. Dwell on their life, not on their death

Easier said than done, I know sis. Think about the things they enjoyed doing while they were alive. Keep their legacy vibrant by doing some of those things yourself. My grandma loved to barbecue and listen to music. On her birthday this year, our family will have a cookout in her honor, will will laugh, eat some of favorite foods, and listen to music she enjoyed listening to, knowing that she would not have wanted it any other way on her birthday. My great-grandma loves to garden, and I recently told my husband that I would like to plant beautiful flowers in our yard this summer in honor of her. What new memories can you create with family or friends that will honor and keep your loved one’s legacy alive? 

_____________________________________________________________________

I’m not saying that these three points will completely heal you of your pain. Everyone is different. Losing a grandmother is a different pain than losing a friend, a parent, a child, a classmate, a teammate, etc., as I’m sure some of you have. 

Do what make you feel good. But don’t forget, the God of ALL comfort is there for you. He will wash his peace over you and give you strength to press forward in this life. We can never understand why people must be taken away from us, but if I haven’t learned anything else from loss, it is to really cherish those that are alive today. Don’t brush off that lunch date with your mom. Don’t miss your niece’s dance recital. Make sure you are there for them, let them know how much you love them not only by your words, but you ACTIONS. The worst thing is feeling regret about what you could’ve done with someone after they’re gone. Life is entirely too short to not savor every moment. 

I pray that God of all creation will show you the steps you need to take that will lead to your healing. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ❤ 

2 comments on “How to cope with grief and loss”

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