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Speaking Grief Language

When my dad died it was a trauma w/o warning or preparation. One minute we were talking on the phone, the next, five people were knocking at my door telling me he was dead. I can’t tell you how many people would say to me “how beautiful a death” it was because he died in the church pulpit. But losing my daddy wasn’t beautiful - it syphoned the oxygen out of our lives - it broke our hearts. It took years and years to work through the impact of losing my dad. It was like peeling back an onion one layer at a time. The loss of a loved does not only change one’s state of mind, but it also changes one’s entire reality. What that means is the ground shifts under your feet and changes life. Life changes from each perspective from which one lives – thoughts, priorities, hopes, dreams expectations, relationships - everything. The death of a loved one will impact a person regardless of the status or condition of a relationship. In essence, life will often call for ongoing adjustments emotionally, relationally, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, and socially. Nothing facilitates that more than time. Grief has no timeframe.

I often hear people ask, “if their loved one is feeling better?” I hear people say, “in time it will get better.” Truth is that the loss of a loved one does not get better – it’s an adjustment. Instead, grief changes its pitch; the pain still comes and is present, but the drumbeat gets softer. An analogy I often use is when person loses a limb and it is replaced with a prosthetic limb, he/she still feels and knows their real limb is gone. The pain from death hits at the soul; it penetrates deep into the heart (emotions, feelings) mind (thoughts, beliefs with all its intentions, choices and will.)

While different psychological views on grief and grief counseling/support exists, there is some collective alignment w/ understanding how deeply personal, and unique each relationship and grief journey is. Strong faith-based support systems approach grief w/dedication, consistency, commitment, and equipping. As w/any issue faced, effective grief support brings humanity and the human experience into the room first not religion. Accompanying/guiding someone effectively through their grief journey takes time, an empathic heart and a willingness for empathy, gentleness, connectedness to fill the space.


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