Anyone who has experienced great heartache or loss has felt that “sinking” feeling. You know, the one you feel every morning after you wake up and realize it wasn’t all just a bad dream. The feeling that stays with you all throughout the day until you put your head on your pillow to sleep at night—and that’s if you can even fall sleep.
That hollow, dreaded, awful feeling you so desperately want to go away.
The feeling of deep grief.
After feeling this way for several months after a major grief experience, I became desperate to know when the timeline for my grief would end.
I discovered that for every grief experience, there’s a unique timeline for each griever.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to grief. Each grief experience is as unique as every fingerprint or snowflake. Although there are definite commonalities in grief, each is felt and handled differently.
I also discovered this: the greater the love, the greater the grief. The more you experienced in life with your loved one, the greater (and more profound) your loss will be.
So, how do you get through the timeline of your grief? One minute at a time…then one hour at a time…then one day at a time…then week by week…month by month…and year by year.
As I was grieving my sister’s death, and my other sister’s fiancé’s death (they died three weeks apart), I was so depressed that I literally didn’t want to get out of bed. It wasn’t an option, though, because I had daily responsibilities I had to do.
I knew I wanted to feel better, yet I had no idea how to get relief from my devastation and broken heart.
And I felt guilty…so very guilty! My sister had previously saved my life and it felt incredibly unfair that she was no longer here.
I just kept thinking about how much my sister loved life. I knew she’d want me to love her kiddos for her…she’d want me to give her children great and fun experiences in life…she’d want me to miss her…but I knew that she’d ultimately want me to honor her memory.
It was at that point I realized I wasn’t going to waste my life…or my grief. I made a decision to honor her life and her memory.
But how was I going to accomplish that when I barely felt like getting out of bed?
Honoring her memory by doing things she loved to do, although initially very hard, helped me dramatically with my grief and grief timeline! I thought doing the things we loved to do together would bring me incredible sadness…and, I’m not going to lie, it was hard the first few times I chose to celebrate my sister by doing the things we loved to do together…but it actually ended up being very comforting and therapeutic over time. Sharing stories about my sister to her children kept her memory alive, too.
I think the only way to truly get through grief is to embrace it. What originally starts off as our worst enemy (grief), ends up being something that can bring comfort to our heart.
As we choose to celebrate a loved one’s life and honor their memory, the timeline for grief becomes easier…more manageable…over time.
Doing something kind for others in my loved one’s honor also has dramatically eased the timeline of my grief.
I frequently bake treats and give them to people I know who are having a tough time in life…especially around the holidays.
Ministering to and encouraging others who have experienced similar grief has also greatly helped, and has also added tremendous value to my grief timeline.
By encouraging and helping others, there’s a unique healing that somehow ends up helping your own heart, too!
Embrace your grief and the timeline of your grief. The timeline for grief never completely goes away…it just becomes easier as you work through your grief.
With grief, there is hope! Making the best of the worst situations in life develops resiliency, compassion, and purpose.
It’s up to us to take the first steps to ensure our individual, unique timeline is something we can look back on and clearly see we chose for good to come out of our grief.
Seeing good come out of heartbreaking situations, while honoring your individual timeline for grief, teaches valuable life lessons to your soul and eventually helps a griever to truly live life again!
It’s not always easy, but then again, grief never is. If you have to go through a grief experience, you may as well grow through your grief so your grief timeline isn’t wasted. Grief, although extremely hard to experience, can become something of great value when you look for purpose, and ways to honor your loved ones, as well as your grief. It most likely won’t shorten your grief timeline, but it can bring great comfort on your hardest days.
Learn everything you can throughout your grief. Seek to always find ways to not shorten your grief timeline but rather find purpose through the pain.
Gratitude & blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): Click here for book
Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com
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FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: (Coming November 4, 2015)