When you go through a major grief experience, it changes you to your very core.
And it takes time to sort your life out.
Anyone who has been through grief is reading this and wholeheartedly agreeing. They understand exactly what I mean when I say a person needs time to sort their life, emotions, and grief out.
Someone who has never experienced a heart wrenching loss just seems not to get it. They can feel sympathetic towards a loved one…but they don’t understand the major disruption grief can truly bring.
Every few weeks, a person who has a loved one who is experiencing deep grief will contact me and ask me to meet them for coffee.
When I first started receiving these requests, I assumed their grieving loved one knew I’d be showing up. Instead, I found that these “coffee meetings” were an intervention of sorts. They thought I’d talk to their grieving loved one, sort them out, share some sort of miraculous words that would instantly change their grief-stricken loved one…so everyone could return to their happy, normal, pre-grief lives.
If only it were that easy…sigh…and apparently they don’t know me very well.
Each person who attempts this, quickly finds out a few things about me:
- If someone didn’t know I was coming, I’d apologize and give the griever the option of talking with me or not. I don’t believe in forced interventions, controlling conversations, or tricking people – even if the original intention was good or thoughtful…which majority of the time it is. They truly want to help.
- They found out new ways of being there for their grieving loved one…and that their grieving loved one is just as frustrated as they are. Nobody likes going through grief and experiencing deep heartache and the sudden changes it brings. Absolutely nobody.
- They found out I’m a huge grief advocate…I don’t believe in telling anyone to “suck it up,” “get back to being your ‘old self,'” “get over it,” or “act normal.” The only exception is if a person has children still in the home, a person will have to balance out grief with providing a stable environment for their kiddos…but that never entails hiding emotions, being their old self, or being fake. It just means a person may need to gain more outside help from loved ones, gain wisdom and counsel of how best to navigate the new grief experience, so they don’t end up experiencing greater loss down the road. I always encourage grievers to balance their grief while cherishing their remaining loved ones, too. It prevents many potential relationship issues.
What do you do when family or friends don’t “get” or understand your grief?
How do you handle family and friends who say unthoughtful things such as, “you need to get over it, “you need to move on,” or “I just want you to be your ‘old self'”?
When I went through my sister’s and other loved ones’ deaths, I majorly reacted in my heart to people who said comparable things to me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized when people say these things, it is really annoying, but they usually really do mean well. They’re frustrated with the situation, and hurting from the loss of their normal relationship they’ve previously enjoyed pre-grief.
Granted, there are some who are selfish and find the grief of a loved one intrusive, but most genuinely do care…some just haven’t learned how to help their grieving loved one or learned how to communicate what they’re feeling in a beneficial or non-insulting way.
I have found one of the greatest things needed during times of grief – for both the griever and the family and friends of the griever – is grace.
Grace is compassion on steroids.
Grace doesn’t take away the grief, but it sure does help tremendously when people offer each other this priceless, special gift.
What about when a grief event totally changes a relationship? A grief event took place and your family and friends treat you differently than they did before?
I’ve had multiple grievers share with me that they’d had a best friend for decades…but then after a grief event, the friend was nowhere to be found. Couples who had hung out for years – even vacationed each year together – suddenly disappear without warning. Family relationships, who were previously very close, end up blowing up, disintegrating, or become almost irreparable.
Grace is so very important during times of grief!
When people are going through grief, they may say or do things that are very uncharacteristic of them. Sometimes people are in so much pain, they may say some really ugly things … things they truly don’t mean.
Again, grace is very much needed during times of grief.
Who can you offer grace to today? Do you know someone who you greatly hurt or offended during their time of grief who you need to apologize to? Is there someone who hurt or offended you that you need to call to work through an issue?
Grief changes everything. And it genuinely changes everyone who experiences it.
Be kind to the grievers you know. Seek to be the grace-filled rainbow through all of your loved ones’ storms in life. And give grace to those who may have offended you during your time of grief.
There will come a day when we all will need grace. Choose to be a grace-filled person starting today.
May each of you always give and find grace, compassion, encouragement, and love in your relationships with family and friends.❤️
Gratitude & blessings,
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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: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays