Take Time to Grieve
Everyone grieves differently. While one person may seem to have boundless energy and begin immediately cleaning and sorting and getting rid of things, another may find it difficult to get out of bed and face a new day. The grief can also be delayed for days and weeks, even months, because of paperwork to be completed, sorting of spouses’ clothes, company, or work responsibilities.
Doug Manning, in his book, Don’t Take My Grief Away, quotes a newspaper survey that asked people how long it took to mourn the loss of a loved one. Answers varied from forty-eight hours to two weeks, while clinical tests showed it takes from eighteen months to two years. The only ones who knew were those who had themselves experienced grief. He assures us that “Grieving is as natural as crying when you are hurt, sleeping when you are tired, or sneezing when your nose itches. It is nature’s way of healing a broken heart.
“Don’t let anyone take your grief from you,” Manning says. “You deserve it, and you must have it. If you had broken a leg, no one would criticize you for using crutches until it was healed. If you had major surgery, no one would pressure you to run in a marathon the next week. Grief is a major wound. It does not heal overnight. You must have the time and the crutches until you heal.”
You’ve been a caregiver for months or even years, and have been almost as housebound as the person you’re caring for. Suddenly, unless you have other members in the household, you can cook when you want and what you want, watch whatever TV program you want, and go where you want whenever you want. And you feel guilty!
You don’t have to! You’ve done everything you can for that person—most likely a spouse. Now they’re gone and it’s time for you to take care of yourself. Take a little vacation if money permits, sign up for a class at a local community college, begin having lunch with friends who have stood by you all this time.
Don’t Second Guess Decisions You Made
Yes, there probably will be times of regret: Why did I do this or that? I should have… If I had done this, he/she would still be alive. Remember these two things:
- The decision has been made and can’t be undone, and
- You made the decision with all the information you had available at the time.
After my mother died, I went through a time of depression. I tried to read the Bible and pray, but it seemed no one was listening. One day as I washed the dishes, tears ran down my cheeks. In desperation, I shook my fist at the heavens and yelled, “Is anyone up there? Is anybody listening?” Immediately, from the television set in the living room came these words: “The audio portion of this program is temporarily disrupted. Please stand by.”
The words couldn’t have come at a better time. God was still listening; He wasn’t giving up on me. I was to stand by and wait for the morning when, as His Word promises, joy would return: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
The line to heaven may be temporarily disrupted due to your grief, but God is still listening. Just stand by!
What has helped you in your time of grief?