I recently met someone who has experienced the sudden, simultaneous death of close family members in a horrendous way. I can’t imagine ever personally meeting someone who has been through worse.
Despite bereavement and loss being all around us, I never really know how to deal with it, so I asked this person for their advice.
Here’s what I learnt from them:
We need to grieve for many things, not just bereavement.
Grieving is a process that lasts much longer than we acknowledge – often years.
Even for those people who do incredibly well at rebuilding their life and moving on positively through their bereavement journey, years later the pain can still be extremely deep – like a stab in the heart every day.
We need trusted people (who can cope with us opening the floodgates) to dare to keep asking us how we are really doing over the long term – not just in the initial first few weeks or months.
This conversation provoked me to consider what I need to grieve for. The length and breadth of my list surprised me:
Wasted opportunities in my twenties.
An estranged son
A child with a disability
Unfulfilled hopes and dreams
How limited my skills and giftings really are
Loss of close friendships as the church grows
Good things it’s time to let go of in order to embrace change
What do you need to grieve for?
Why not make a list?
What stage in the grief process are you at?
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression or acceptance?
We need to grieve for so much more than just bereavement – even the results of referendums.
Written by Dean Fryer-Saxby