The Truth About Grief

The Truth About Grief

There are many misunderstandings about grief.  What is the truth about grief?  Well, one of the big truths about grief is that it is important that you allow yourself to cry.  A lot of times we think that for our children’s sake or for the sake of somebody else we need to be stoic, and not show the full depth of our emotions.  Or, maybe we were taught that crying is a sign of weakness.  But you know, you really can’t cry too much, so don’t try not to cry.  Let that be part of the healing process.

If crying isn’t the way that you typically deal with sadness, just be sure that there is some other way that you are dealing with the grief.  Because maybe not crying is an indication that you’re not dealing with it.  So ask yourself, “Am I dealing with the emotions and feelings that normally would be expected with the kind of loss that I am experiencing?”

The grieving process is not going to end all of the pain.  Quite frankly, I think that is the most important truth.   It can be devastating whenever we lose someone who is really significant in our lives, or we go through a personal loss, that isn’t necessarily the loss of a person, but is a loss of the way we view ourselves, or the way people are going to view us.

When I went through a divorce there was a great deal of loss for me. In my grieving I had to address my insecurity and fear of the future. But more than anything, it was the loss of a safe and intact home for our 12 year old daughter that really hurt me.

That sadness doesn’t feel like it did then, but it’s still there.  And there are certain things that happen even now that bring back all of those feelings.  My daughter made it through with flying colors and I think a deep relationship with God. But the pain that she had to endure was horrible.  And I don’t believe that she’s entirely over that pain today, any more than I am.  So don’t think that if you’re still feeling some things years after you went through a major loss that you’re abnormal or that you’re in trouble.   There are certain things that trigger us and bring back some of the pain.  And no deep grieving process is going to fix everything or make it all go away.

The grief process helps us to live a life that isn’t dominated by the loss and helps us adjust to our new reality.  You’re not going to be the same, especially with the loss of a child. I don’t ever tell people that they’re going to get over it.  I do tell them that they are going to get through this, and I know that to be true.  But life, is never ever going to be quite the same.  You have to adjust in some way that allows you to function and get on with your life.   Somehow you have to adapt to the emptiness that is there when the other person you love isn’t.

I have watched my mother make adjustments and adaptations to the death of my father, who died of a heart attack at 68.  I have watched her as she has turned what could have made her very bitter and resentful into a life of love and giving to other people.  Still to this day, she so greatly misses my father.   But she’s not controlled by it and she’s not overwhelmed by that loss.  She has adapted to it and done an excellent job of adjusting to it.

As you go through the grieving process, you’ll begin to feel better because you adjust to it.  And all of the grieving and mourning is designed not so that you’ll be free of all sadness, but so that you can live in a healthy acceptance that in this world we’re going to have trials and sorrows.  Jesus tells us that.  (John 16:33)

If in the process you can come to accept a different way of life, you can still have a fulfilling and meaningful life.  Maybe all you ever do with your life is help comfort other people who have lost someone in the same way.  Well, that’s a pretty great thing.  Because when we’re in the midst of loss, we just want someone who understands what we’ve been through and knows what to say, which many times means saying nothing.  Sometimes just being there and being available is what is needed most.

If there was a grief graph, showing the flow of the healing process, it would go up and down.  So the best question for someone who is grieving isn’t are you still feeling sad or do you think you’re over this.  The best question is, “Is this a good day or a bad day?”  In the beginning, most days are bad days.  But it’s up and down, and quite literally a roller coaster emotional experience.  But whatever kind of day it is for them, get them to talk about that.  Come alongside them and be in whatever day that they are experiencing.

And remember, this is not the only loss that you’re ever going to have.  Every day has the potential for additional losses.  And when one loss piles upon another we call that catastrophic loss or catastrophic trauma.  When you are up against something like that, it’s important that you get professional help, and don’t try to handle it on your own. God tells us that He won’t give us anything that we can’t handle.  But He doesn’t tell us that everything He gives us can be handled alone.  And all through scripture we see Christ’s example of being with other people especially in His worst moment of grief and sorrow.

If there is any epidemic in the Christian community, it is an epidemic of ungrieved losses.  Let’s don’t be part of not allowing someone to grieve or discouraging them from going through the grieving process.  It can be so healing and the best way to adjust to the new reality of living without something or someone that was extremely important to us.

If you’d like to learn more about grieving CLICK HERE!

Key Points

  • 1The grieving process is not going to end all pain.
  • 2The grief process helps you to live a life not dominated by the loss.
  • 3The healing process is a bumpy ride, there are good days and bad days.

I don’t ever tell people that they’re going to get over it.  I do tell them that they are going to get through this, and I know that to be true.  But life, is never ever going to be quite the same.

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Steve Arterburn

Steve Arterburn is a nationally and internationally known speaker and has been featured in national media outlets such as Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN Live, The New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, GQ and Rolling Stone.Steve is a best-selling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle, Healing Is A Choice, and The 7-Minute Marriage Solution and recently co-authored Take Your Life Back with Dr. David Stoop, and The Mediterranean Love Plan, with wife Misty. Along with Dr. Dave Stoop, Steve edited and produced the #1 selling Life Recovery Bible. With over 8 million books in print he has been writing about God’s transformational truth since 1984, and has won three Gold Medallions for writing excellence.
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Steve Arterburn is a nationally and internationally known speaker and has been featured in national media outlets such as Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN Live, The New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, GQ and Rolling Stone. Steve is a best-selling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle, Healing Is A Choice, and The 7-Minute Marriage Solution and recently co-authored Take Your Life Back with Dr. David Stoop, and The Mediterranean Love Plan, with wife Misty. Along with Dr. Dave Stoop, Steve edited and produced the #1 selling Life Recovery Bible. With over 8 million books in print he has been writing about God’s transformational truth since 1984, and has won three Gold Medallions for writing excellence.

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