Grief: How To Respond

Greetings. Welcome to my post. My hope and desire is that you will find these posts to be informative and helpful for you. Life is a journey filled with mountains and valleys in our relational life and in our personal life. Sometimes we can predict and make something happen. But sometimes we can never predict an event or relationship difficulty and we need to adjust and cope with these curve balls. At times life can be great but as you know, life can also be difficult and challenging.

There is no doubt about it that medical or physical pain is a challenge. Especially if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that is going to take some effort to overcome or manage. We all want to hear from our doctor you have this or that and take two pills and call me in the morning. But the reality is when a disease or chronic medical problem affects your body, you know that you are facing something that two pills are not going to fix or solve.

So it is very natural to respond to a difficult situation with grief. Grief is that feeling of sadness or pain as a result of loss and stress. For example, your spouse unexpectedly or unpredictably dies, or your mother enters into the hospital for some treatment thinking it will be ‘just a few days’ and a few days turn into a few weeks and she dies, or as a parent you are looking forward to the birth of your new child and then when it is delivered, your child needs to be in an intensive care unit due to a bad heart.

So, how do you respond to grief? I believe grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with here on this earth. We enter into it with resistance and reluctantly, not really ready or wanting to face it. But we enter into grief knowing that a life circumstance cannot be avoided, and we have to face the reality. We don’t like grief but at the same time we cannot deny it.

The challenge is not to get stuck or stay in grief for a long time. For grief needs to be a journey we all must enter into, knowing that we have to figure out how to get out of it. No one escapes this world without the pain of life hitting us, and we all need to have a plan at the start of grief in order to get through it. The loss of a spouse due to a death is something we cannot fix in terms of bringing that person back alive. Death is final.

But grief does not have to be final. It is something we enter into and something we leave and get out of. But the process of grief, if it is healthy and worked on, can be resolved and is something that can come to an end. The challenge for all of us is how do we respond? Do we enter the path of grief with a roadmap to get through it or do we deny it, avoid it, or try with time to just resolve it on your own. My experience, as a chaplain and grief counselor, who has helped many, is that the path of denial does not work. You really have to enter the grief process with others and with a plan. Flying solo usually does not work. So be brave, give yourself permission to enter grief and not avoid it.

In my next post, I will share some thoughts on how to enter and understand the process of grief. Because, once you do enter, you will see healing in the process versus the strategy of denial where the pain will not get healed, and you will experience various difficulties in your life due to this denial. So choose to enter the grieving process and not denial, and I can promise you, life will get better.