Eventually, almost everyone experiences a kind of loss that initiates some level of trauma. The passing of a loved one, or loss of a job, home, possessions, or pets (for examples), can leave one with an accumulation of puzzling physical, emotional, and/or mental symptoms that can result in floundering, sadness, depression; and weight losses or gains. Even temporary symptoms such as visual or hearing impairments, heart involvement, unsure physical balance, and more.
After the loss, one's body and soul need time to adjust to the new situation. Therefore, take time to do the work of grieving. The below list is simple but significant and will help you toward personal, overall footing in the process.
1. Trust the Lord. God is sovereign; He is the giver and the taker of life. He has numbered each person's days, so when it is time to take a person into eternity, His timing is always perfect for them—and for each of their family and friends. So trust Him to benefit all involved.
2. Stay in the Word. If you are already reading Scripture, the Word of God, then keep on reading it. If you haven't been reading the Scriptures, this would be a good time to start. Through them, God gives comfort and encourages. Further, He shares His steadfast love, unchanging character, and reliable promises. Reading the Word of God gives you God's perspective, precipitates praying to Him, and prods our hearts to stay/be close in relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
3. Keep from comparing. Everyone will grieve differently in duration and experience, so don't hold your experience or another person's undergoing to a uniform pattern. The general grieving process takes between six months and three years. That being said, there are people who are ready to move on with life sooner and those who need more time. More, the manner in which one grieves is individual, so don't expect yourself or another to grieve a certain way because of what you've seen or heard others say.
4. Get fresh air. Breathing fresh air is good for you physically, emotionally, and psychologically; thus one is encouraged as well as refreshed with a more clear perspective.
5. Eat as well as you can. Avoid “pity party” junk food binges. During grieving, some people are not able to eat much; some eat easily and frequently. Either way, a person best functions when they put nutritious foods into their system.
6. Be thankful. Tell God “Thank You” for everything you can think of. Scripture does command us to be grateful in every circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Although it is hard to obey that command when emotions are raw from any loss, gratefulness is a sacrifice that expresses our humble, total dependence on God—even in the midst of the loss.
Grieving is complex, painful, and sometimes so difficult that one wonders if they will live through it. Yet, it is the necessary process by which the pain is turned into memories. Though every person's life and needs are distinct, grieving should eventually abate. Being diligent to heed the above six things in your grieving will help you through it.
However, if you experience anything that you feel you cannot handle or that you need to check out, please be sure to see a professional—whether clergy, a physician, a counselor or therapist. Attending a GriefShare group is also beneficial for many individuals. Additionally, Steven Ministries has helpful resources. (Website: www.stevenministries.org. Click on Journeying through Grief books.) Seek the help you need in order to not only survive, but thrive, through your loss.
May God be with you through this journey!