Tag Archive | individual grief

The Challenge of Unspoken or Hidden Grief

Some of the most difficult grief experiences to heal from are those that are unspoken.

The reason unspoken grief experiences are so difficult to heal from, is because of the nature of the grief – and the choice to isolate oneself.

As I was helping an anonymous young lady on an online grief forum last week, my heart sure did go out to her. She – unknown to her parents, family, church family, and friends – had gotten pregnant and miscarried her first child 8 weeks into the pregnancy. Fearing judgment, she didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone except for the father of her child. For three years, she’s walked the road of grief all on her own. 

Isolated. Heartbroken. Alone.

With unspoken grief, some grief events have happened recently, while some happened decades ago.

Some may have believed that time would heal their wounds, only to find that time hasn’t healed anything.

There are many grief experiences that are “unspoken” or “unknown”…experiences someone may not feel comfortable sharing with others:

  • Unplanned pregnancies that end in miscarriage, secret adoptions, or abortion
  • A sexual assault 
  • Medical diagnosis such as HIV
  • Mental health diagnosis 
  • Adultery
  • Family or marital issues
  • Abuse
  • Conflict with adult children or other family members
  • Addictions
  • Mistreatment of others or conflict that you never had the chance to make right
  • Church conflict/church abuse
  • Suicide issues that remaining loved ones have to go through
  • Suicide attempt survivors

There are many life challenges people go through. With unspoken grief, they’re just not at a place they feel comfortable sharing with others the tremendous heartache they’ve been through. 

Unspoken grief presents a big challenge for the person going through it: if they keep their grief concealed, they may never find the help or healing their heart needs.

So how do you heal from unspoken grief experiences?

Please realize God never intended for us to walk through grief alone. Community, as well as the many resources available, are very powerful gifts when going through heartache, challenges, and grief.

There are many confidential options for finding help and healing when going through an unspoken grief experience:

  • Seek out confidential help with a trusted pastor, grief counselor, or therapist
  • Find encouragement through a local grief group (GriefShare, The Compassionate Friends, local funeral homes who offer grief seminars, Grief Bites conferences, etc.). Many grievers do not realize their grief situations can remain completely anonymous at these meetings, conferences, and seminars. Outside of introducing yourself, you don’t even have to talk if you don’t wish.
  • Utilize online grief resources (blogs, YouVersion’s grief related reading plans, grief related Facebook pages, GriefShare daily emails, The Compassionate Friends private groups, Grief Bites blog, etc.)
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend…keyword: trusted. When choosing who to confide in, always realize that two listening ears are also attached to a talking mouth – meaning, they can share what you confide in them, so be very selective in who you choose to trust!
  • Go to your local bookstore or favorite online bookseller and purchase books on grief. 
  • The best place to go with your broken heart is to God. He is always there 24/7, He cares deeply for you, and He has the power to heal your heart and spirit.

If you are going through an unspoken grief experience, please know there is hope. You can find relief and healing. Seek out the help you need today so your heart has the opportunity to truly and fully heal.

May God bless and encourage your heart!

Gratitude & blessings,
Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:⭐️

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️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

When Hope Seems Lost

When going through grief or the hardships of life, it can be easy to lose hope.

When googling a definition for hope, this came up:

Hope~
1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
synonyms: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design; More

After I saw this definition for hope, I quickly realized that the reason hope is not readily available to a griever is because the expectation and desire is for our loved one to still be with us…or for a past circumstance to not have happened…and we can’t make that happen.

As I looked at the synonyms…aspiration…desire…wish…expectation…ambition…aim…goal…plan…design, I realized hope itself can be created out of these synonyms of hope.

We can’t bring a loved one back…and in many situations in life, we may not have the ability to take back something that happened in the past…but we can all make the important life-saving decision to aspire to create a new normal.

We can create new desires for our futures. We can form new wishes and expectations, have new ambitions, aim our sights on fresh new goals, make new plans, and come up with a new design for our lives.

It’s not easy or fun…and if a griever is completely honest with themselves, it will most likely be one of the hardest things a person will ever have to do. Creating a new “normal” isn’t something any griever would willingly sign up for…but the alternative is to die a little bit more inside every. single. day. The ultimate alternative is to permanently lose hope.

So we hope for a better tomorrow…we hope someday the pain will not feel as fresh as it does today…we hope that life will once again be the joyful song we once knew it to be…and we hope that eventually hope itself will be renewed so we can truly feel hope once again on an everyday basis.

How do we regain our hope after life devastates us?

That will look different for each individual griever. Hope is something that requires self-work and renewing hope is something we must CHOOSE for ourselves.

I personally find hope in God. In grief, He is the only thing that has ever made sense…and the only One who has ever had the ability to make sense out of my grief.

As I struggle through situations I don’t understand, I ask God to show me deeper levels of His love and comfort. I ask Him to reveal a greater depth and perspective about life that will help me, or someone I know, at a future date. I do not like to feel as though life or grief is in vain or wasted, so I seek to learn life lessons through anything I go through in life…good and bad.

A few months ago, I came across Psalm 107:23-31 as I was studying about prayer. It spoke volumes to me because grief makes a soul feel as though it is drowning in the deep. As the waves of grief come crashing in, it can feel just like a horrible storm that leaves you miserable and at your wit’s end. It can make you feel as though you have no hope.

Psalm 107:23-31, “Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery. They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!”

When we cry out to God in our heartache and troubles, He has the powerful ability to renew our hope and bring us out of our distress. He is the One who can quiet the waves we go through in life, causing the storms of life to be still, when we allow Him to guide and direct us in life.

Today, if you are struggling with God and wondering if hope will ever be a true part of your life again, I encourage you to call out to God and seek Him for His help. I encourage you to do whatever you need to do to regain your personal hope.

Hope can be renewed. It may take time, and maybe even a lot of tears, but it can happen. Life can be good again, too!

Faith and hope go hand-in-hand. When you are lacking in one, strengthen the other. Both can be built by choice.

Ask yourself, “How can I strengthen my hope or faith today?”

Diligently think of new ways to build your hope back up.

It may be hard at first…and it may take baby steps…but one step at a time, made each and every day, will eventually lead you to a new normal of experiencing HOPE.

Once one rebuilds their hope, they then have the incredible opportunity to start rebuilding their life.

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
❤️
Resources~

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

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)

A Personal Authentic Grief & Life

Grief (and loss) comes in many packages:

  • Some are normal unavoidable life events: loss of a loved one who lived a full life, loss of health/abilities as you age, etc.
  • Some are the result of natural/unpreventable occurrences: illness, disease, natural disasters such as tornadoes or mudslides, etc.
  • Some are the result of another person: death of a loved one by another person’s decision, various crimes, medical negligence, abandonment or rejection, adultery, conflict, divorce, war, etc.
  • Some are the result of our deceased loved one’s personal choices: suicide, unintentional drug overdose, fatal accident such as drunk driving, etc.
  • Some are the result of our own self: losing a relationship due to choosing to mistreat or cheat on someone, disability or illness due to personal negligence of health or well-being, foolish decisions, poor financial or business decisions, family/marital conflict due to our pride, etc.

There are also different timeframes of grief and loss:

  • Some are temporary: being laid off at work, short-term illness or injury, separation, etc.
  • Some are permanent: death of a loved one, permanent disability, divorce, etc.
  • Some can be ongoing: family/marital conflict, health issues, mental illness, a family member’s rebellion or substance abuse, a rude boss that makes you hate your job

Grief and loss ALL have one thing in common: no matter the situation, each circumstance breaks the heart, and attempts to break the spirit, of the one going through grief or loss.

Each person has to take an inventory of their own grief and do what they feel is best. I personally think that as long as someone isn’t hurting other people or themselves, their grief is healthy and appropriate.

If we fail to take an inventory of our grief, we (by default) plan to become stagnant and stunted in our grief. Being stunted destroys our growth…and being stagnant causes us to become detached.

What stunts us in times of grief? Caring what other people think. Not wanting to deal with it. Turning to substances or addictions. Making sure we stay overly busy. Becoming extreme people pleasers.

But. it. is. there. Grief doesn’t magically go away.

When we deny our right to feel what we need to feel or we choose to not go through grief the way we need to individually process it, we cheapen our grief…and worse, we stunt any growth we could experience from the situation.

And there is growth a griever can experience…and there are lessons one can learn through every situation they face in life…good and bad.

Grief and loss are too personal to allow someone to tell a griever how to process their loss. EVERYBODY…and EVERY SITUATION is different.

And grief isn’t something to be put away in a closet, high up on a shelf, neatly out of sight…or putting a permanent “game face” on just to make other people more comfortable.

If a griever is ever going to find genuine relief from their grief, it has to be addressed. And grievers need to address it because it can affect so many other aspects of life: marriage, relationships, work, health, etc.

It is far better to have 6 months (or however long) of genuine, real, messy grief that you truly work through than to go through the rest of life wounded or having to wear an artificial game face.

Authentic grief is going to look different for each griever. What works for one griever may not work for another griever.

There are 7 BILLION different ways to grieve…a unique style to each griever on earth.

Make a list. Ask yourself what your convictions are. Seek to see what you truly want out of life. Ask God to reveal His purpose for your life (we ALL have a life purpose). Find any silver lining you can out of grief (not always easy…but usually can be found with hard work. Not always but usually.)

What personally works for me during times of grief is:

  1. Drawing close to God
  2. Being true to my spouse, child(ren), family, and myself
  3. Grieving how I need to grieve
  4. Choosing to be kind to everyone
  5. Taking good care of my health & wellness (grief can cause lower immune system functioning)
  6. Choosing not to neglect remaining loved ones (this can be difficult while going through grief but I have seen many people lose or damage relationships with their spouse and children which later adds to their loss and heartache. I always try to keep this in check for myself.).
  7. Being honest with God and myself (can be messy at times but I grow through it)
  8. ASKING family & friends for what I need if I need something (this prevents MANY hurt feelings or the all-too-common feeling of “nobody cares” while going through grief)
  9. Choosing to be grateful (finding 5 people and 5 things to be grateful for every morning and evening)
  10. Enjoying life (many grievers think this a weird one…but “life” is still going to happen and I can’t buy back time. Life’s “clock” doesn’t stop ticking just because I am sad or I am going through a tough event. Grief takes away so much…it’s a personal conviction of mine that life is still a gift and I’m going to unwrap that gift every single day. Grief takes enough from me…it’s not going to get my “life” too.)

Find out what “authentic grief” means to you.

Nobody wants to be permanently stuck in the vortex of grief. Use times of grief to find out who you are…and who you truly want to be.

Allow your authentic grief to teach you life lessons and allow the incredible growth from life’s events to make you a better person.

Oftentimes, it is out of the positive and negative reels of life when we fully “process,”…becoming a better person…and “develop” an authentic life.