What Helps When You Are Grieving?

February 1, 2018

Photo by Milos Tonchevski on Unsplash

It is inevitable at some point in our lifetimes we will all find ourselves grieving. Losses are part of our earthly world. How we process, our grief will be unique to each of us. However, we can each be a part of easing the pain of another by sharing what helps when we are grieving.  Today, I will share the best thing I ever learned about grieving.

First, let me reveal a truth.

All Loss Is Significant and Worthy of Acknowledgment

We do not need to compare our pain as if one injury is more significant than another. When we get caught up in comparison, we slow down our healing. Plus, if we love one another their pain will matter to us. It does to Jesus.

I truly believe this but when it came time to sit down and write this series I began doubting my own words.

The year 2017 was a year filled with tremendous loss of life for those that are dear to me. Even though I wasn’t the parent who lost a child, the wife who lost her husband, or the child who lost their parent – I still grieved. These were people in my life I loved plus my heart hurt for my friends.

I mourned alongside them, on my own and I continue to grieve.

Questions swirled through my head. How could I even begin to talk about loss when mine somehow felt smaller or less significant compared to theirs?

We All Have Pain

Then I remembered back to a time when people began backing away from me because they measured their pain against mine. When their pain seemed smaller, they stayed silent. It took coaxing and communication on my part to get them to continue to share not only their pain but their joy. I wanted to know what hurt their hearts and what made their heart soar but most of all I didn’t want to be alone in life.

Losses come in many forms – death, divorce, chronic illness, an expectation not realized, and many more. All are significant and worthy of grieving. Click here to read a great article I found on explaining the different types of grief and loss.

We all have experienced significant loss and will continue to do so in our lifetime. We can’t avoid it even though we try. The good news is we don’t have to go through it alone; we have a God that will not leave us.

It is inevitable at some point in our lifetimes we all will find ourselves grieving. Our grief will be unique to each of us. However, we can learn from each other ways to ease the pain. Today, I want to share the best thing I ever learned about grieving.
Photo by Laura Goodsell on Unsplash

Many years ago,  I found myself in a place where the losses mounted one on top of another It seemed impossible at first to go on with life when the sadness was so heavy.  I felt as if I would never feel joy again and yet I felt a responsibility to others to find it. You can click here to read a little of my story, “Wishing Life Was Different.”

Are you in a place where you wonder if you will ever find joy again? Please let me share –

The Best Thing I Ever Learned About Grieving

Two Things Can Be True at the Same Time

We each possess the ability to experience two vastly different emotions, and one does not have to cancel the other out. At first, it seemed absurd one could apply this to grieving.

How could I feel joy when my loved one was in such pain, or away from home? It felt wrong, mean, and as if my loved one’s life didn’t matter.  It can be the same with a death of a loved one. You may feel as if you are not honoring their memory or somehow forgetting them but you aren’t.

Embrace Life in the Midst of Grieving

At first, I was reluctant to try it. It felt fake, and the guilt crept in. It took a lot of work on my part to feel worthy of joy and happiness again.

There is a trick to this – we must make a choice.

Even in the middle of grief, we must choose “joy.” We must look for it and embrace it.

It won’t be easy, and it will take practice. Most likely you will need to announce it to those close to you, so others will feel free to do the same. If you want to read about a time I put this into practice click here.

Remember we can feel immense joy and profound sadness at the same time. It is natural, it is healthy, and it is good for us.

We all need a community to help us. Please share what helps you when you are grieving. Your best tip for grieving just might be what helps another.


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38 Comments

  1. Reply

    inspiredbyjune

    Such a positive, helpful view of grief, Maree. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you have a fantastic Sunday! Maree

  2. Reply

    sarahgirl3

    I lost my Mom a year out of college and none of my friends knew what to say. They kind of stayed away, and I was good with that because I didn’t want to talk about it. 15 years later, it still hurts but we have all grown since then. We have experienced different pain and know more, but it never seems to get easier to share. I think we just have realized loss is part of life. Thank you for your words!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah, I am so sorry for the loss of your mom and at such a young age. Yes, loss is a part of life. I am finding out there is no right way to respond to others. It is so vastly different. I believe good communication helps. I remember a time when a loss was so raw and people didn’t know how to respond. Some stayed away, some pretended nothing was wrong, and those that helped the most were the ones I could be honest with. They would ask how I was and I was free to say, horrible or good and most important I could be honest and say I didn’t want to talk today. Blessings to you. Maree

  3. Reply

    Aimee Imbeau

    We need a healthy view of grief. It’s an emotion that we consider ‘negative’, but one that we must work through in order to heal properly. I really came to understand this as I helped my son work through his grief of losing his pet. But I think going through that in a healthy way helped him deal with the emotion for other things that came up. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth, Maree!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Aimee – You are so correct, grief is a healthy response to loss. Sorry, your son lost his pet but he is lucky to have you help him through it. Thank you for the Grace and Truth Link-up. Maree

  4. Reply

    Annabella

    Such a great blog post! Thank you Maree! I deal with reoccurring grief every year in February and I recently wrote about my experience. My faith in the Lord is the reason I can accept that season and be hopeful. God makes all things right!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I jumped over to your blog and read your experience. Thank you for sharing. I added it to my facebook page. I am so sorry for your loss. I bet you grieve her each February. Praying right now for you. Maree

  5. Reply

    Julie

    This such a helpful post Maree! Grieving is part of our existence here on Earth. Sharing this to my page soon!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Julie, Thank you! Yes, so true! We are stuck with the grieving this side of heaven. Blessings, Maree

  6. Reply

    KellyRBaker

    I like your point that we have varying degrees of grief, and don’t need to compare ours with another’s who seems deeper. All of our feelings are valid. God and community helps us get through.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Amen!!!

  7. Reply

    Lisa notes...

    Times of grieving can be so hard and complicated. 🙁 But they are essential to transitioning from one thing to another. Thanks for sharing that grieving can still include joy and is easier with community.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Lisa – Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Yes, grieving is hard and complicated. Blessings, Maree

  8. Reply

    mbethany

    What a freeing statement that two things can be true at the same time. I think choosing joy (and not feeling guilty or wrong over it) is such a hard part of grief. I also appreciate your wisdom on measuring others grief against your own. The ony “tip” I have about grieving is to let yourself feel what you feel. God gave us emotions- it isn’t wrong to have them and work through with Him!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      The tip you shared is HUGE. You are so right it is so important to allow ourselves to feel what we feel. I think so many times we jump into judging whether our feelings are right. Thank you for sharing and adding to the wisdom on grieving. Maree

  9. Reply

    messymarriage

    The process of grieving is near and dear to my heart because it truly can unlock our hearts–opening them to the healing God alone can provide in times of trial and loss, Maree Dee. I’m so glad to hear how you’ve embraced this grace of God that is found through grieving, surrendering and then in receiving His comfort. I’ll be pinning this for sure! Thanks so much!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you for your encouraging post. I loved your beautiful words. They spoke volumes. Thank you for pinning and being a part of our conversation here at Embracing the Unexpected. Maree

  10. Reply

    staceypardoe

    Thank you for this, Maree. It’s interesting I stumbled upon your post today. Our family is in the midst of the deepest grief we have ever known, and it’s been a lot to wrap our minds around. The reminder that we can embrace both life and pain at the same time is what I needed today. I’m feeling ready to step back into the world, but there is a deep sadness lingering. Thanks for the reminder that joy and sadness can coexist. There is so much to be thankful for in the midst of our sadness….

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Stacey – I am so sorry you are in the midst of your deepest grief. My eyes filled up with tears just reading your comment. I am so glad my reminder about embracing both joy and sadness helped. I know it did for me. However, some days it is hard. I am praying for you as I reply to your comment. Blessings, Maree

  11. Reply

    debbieputman

    Grief is so complicated and does not follow any neat and tidy list of stages. It hits unexpectedly and lingers far longer than we expect. A supportive community who doesn’t expect things to go “back to normal” or have a due date for a “new normal” helps more than anyone can ever know.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you for adding you wise words to the discussion. I love what you said about a “supportive community who doesn’t expect things to go back to normal.” Blessings to you, Maree

  12. Reply

    Stephanie

    “Immense joy and profound sadness at the same time…” Exactly that. My daughter died of suicide 5 weeks before my wedding day. When I walked down that aisle to get remarried (to one of the most wonderful men on the planet), I had never known such joy and such pain in the same heart at the same time.
    Grief follows no patterns and no direction. It just is. So glad I found your blog. <3
    Stephanie
    Healthy, Savvy & Wise

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Stephanie,
      Oh, my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry your daughter died. I know suicide adds an extra layer to the loss. Praying for you right now.

      You are an amazing woman and excellent example of embracing both joy and pain. I am so proud of you for walking down the aisle. You may have gotten a great husband, but I am pretty sure he received a fabulous wife.

      Thank you also for adding the comment that grief follows no pattern and no direction. I think that is so helpful to know when grieving.

      Blessings,

      Maree

  13. Reply

    Cheryl Gerou

    Visiting you from Counting My Blessings link up. I love Isaiah 54:10. What a beautiful promise. I am helped in the grieving process by knowing the Lord is with me and that He is faithful to keep His promises. He always holds the deep pain of my heart and gives me comfort in His presence. May He hold your heart, grant you His everlasting loving presence, and give you comfort. Thank you such an encouraging post. Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Cheryl, Thank you for your encouraging and comforting post. I am so glad you came over to visit. Hope your weekend is terrific. Blessings, Maree

  14. Reply

    Boma

    Remembering what God has said helps a lot. He is our comforter, and He is with us always; just remembering this truth brings hope and a kind of brightness to the situation. Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, to remember what God has done in the past is a wonderful help. Thank you for sharing. Maree

  15. Reply

    Brenda

    So true that we can feel two things at once. Our unwarranted guilt likes to limit us, doesn’t it? (Or is that just me?) — I process feelings differently at different stages. Sometimes with grief, I need to pray, sometimes I need to be alone, sometimes I need to be with others. I think I’m kind of a poster-child for the “stages of grief.” 🙂 Seems to be true for me, though. The one thing I’m not good at is “stuffing.” I know myself well enough to know that I need to work through things, no matter how gradually. — Good words today, friend. Thank you. ♥

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda, No it is not just you. Guilt can play a major role. I know when I feel guilty I don’t allow myself to grieve. Usually, it is unwarranted guilt as if I had the power to do miracles. I like what you said about, “processing feelings differently at different stages.” You are so right! Thank you for adding that to the conversation.I am so glad you don’t stuff, I do and it isn’t pretty when it all comes out. Eventually, we all have to grieve.

  16. Reply

    Bette

    Being in God’s word and spending time with Him in prayer and meditation.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Bette, Great things to do when one is grieving. Thank you for adding to the conversation. Maree

  17. Reply

    Sarah Geringer

    Yes, so true: two things can be true while grieving. I learned this when my grandpa died in 2012. Thank you for sharing this so bravely, Maree.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah, Sorry for the loss of your grandpa. I bet you miss him even though the years have gone by. My grandma died over 28 years ago, and I still miss her. Blessings, Maree

  18. Reply

    vann54

    What I find hard is that the grief never leaves you just don’t get to move forward because somewhere along the way on this mental health journey another grief pops up. I did an inservices for nurses on grief but it did not address long term grief and I am sure my youngest has more bouts of grief than he can express because he has to live with schizoaffective Daily , thanks for sharing your journey it helps

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am not sure anyone quite gets over grief. I used to think a person could until I walked closely with losses.

      I agree the long-term or chronic grief that goes along with mental illness is hardly addressed. I used to think one only grieved if someone died but have come to learn that isn’t true. I know with mental illness we have loss upon loss and I had to learn how to grieve them. In a few weeks, I will address this on the blog from a parents perspective. Please feel free to share any thoughts with me or posts you have written that address this. maree.dee@embracingtheunexpected.com Thank you for dropping by and leaving such an insightful comment. Praying for your son as I hit reply. Blessings, Maree

  19. Reply

    Joanne Viola (@JViola79)

    Maree, this is an encouraging post as we all experience loss, pain, and grief at times in life. I am so grateful we never go through it alone. God is always with us, in the midst, and brings those we need alongside of us. It may not be easy but I would not want to go through those times without Him. Blessings!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Joanne, I agree! I can’t imagine going through it alone. So glad we have a loving God. Maree

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