The transition of grief is mysterious to me. Last week I was happily driving to Bible study, then a Classical song came on the radio, which reminded me of hearing a similar piece with my Dad (who passed away last summer), and there I was –crying away. The memory of my Dad and I at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra also made me smile as I recalled how we had gotten a chocolate bar during intermission, and Dad went on to finish it during the next part of the concert—crinkly foil and all! It drove me nuts, but that is just how Dad was: he wanted to do what he wanted to do. I am thankful for his example of fearlessness and savoring the moment.
At Bible study one of my leaders asked me how I was after I arrived, and I said the normal, “Fine,” but then the tears just started pouring out. She gave me a hug, listened to me explain how I was missing my Dad, and just loved on me through her words and actions.
Grief comes and goes…I had thought I had pretty much processed losing my Dad, but this situation helped me see how grief is much more fluid, unpredictable than expected, and will just take time.
Here are some of the things that have helped me over the past months to process grief:
Feel the loss, and let the pain out through tears, shouting, wailing, groaning… Embrace the loss, don’t push it down. It’s okay that it hurts—it meant that you lost someone or something that you loved. Loving is worth the pain you feel when it leaves…but the wonderful thing about love is that it multiplies! So keep on loving the people you DO have around you, and let them love you.
Journal, write down memories, look at pictures and write about those experiences…write down what you are feeling and why. You don’t need to let anyone see it; you can destroy it after you are done, but let out the sadness, the anger, the joy, the memories… It helps me to write—so writing this for you has helped me remember and appreciate my Dad! Also, I wrote this piece about him last summer: My Last Time with My Dad /// Thoughts about his Funeral
Sometimes you can’t hold it in when you are around people, like I just started crying when my leader asked me how I was that day. Sometimes you CAN hold it together, but try letting someone safe know how you are feeling. Talking about what you miss about that person, sharing your sad feelings, and then laughing at funny stories about the person you lost helps that flood of sadness wash away.
Cooking comforting stews and soups (ask my husband—I’ve made SO many pots of soup this winter!) to eat while sad eases the pain through the warmth and satisfaction from the food. The act of cooking and shopping also makes me feel productive and useful. So a time of grief is not a time to fast or have a strict diet…finding some comfort in food, eaten with loving people, is just fine. I love this soup recipe (I made the biggest pot of it yet this week!): Thai Chicken Coconut Soup
Last week I bought a hyacinth bulb in a glass jar that was sprouting for $3.99, and it started blooming its delicate, fragrant purple cluster of flowers this week, and it has brought me so much joy! If flowers bring you comfort, surround yourself with them! I don’t always have fresh flowers, but I have pictures of flowers around. Bright colors, sunlight, and green growth brings comfort.
What helps you during grief? Please share because I’m curious to hear your stories!
May God give you peace as you journey through this time of grief.
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Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!