Good Grief: Is there such a thing?

Yes!  No!  How about perhaps.  Grief is a tough subject that we’d rather avoid. How about those Cubs!  For some of us holidays like Mother’s day, Father’s day and Christmas are especially hard.  All kinds of memories and emotions surface just by mentioning specific days of the year. If you are like most people you will experience grief.  If we were to conduct a word association test with 100 people it is my guess that a large majority of participants would bring up words like bereavement, mourning, sorrow, pain, loss and weeping.  That sounds pretty normal to me.  Well, just recently I had a chance to listen to a friend’s experience regarding the death of his father.  During our brief yet frank conversation I heard words and phrases which included, “I am at peace, the service was a celebration of life, healthy closure, no words were left unsaid between us, his passing was not a surprise, and he is in heaven.”  By all accounts it looks like he has accepted the fact and is ready to proceed with a different normal.  I did not hear phrases like, “now there is a gaping hole in my life, I’m stuck and I can’t face tomorrow”, etc..  Sure, in a month or 10 years from now my friend will be looking through some old photographs and a lot of emotions will resurface and some tears will be shed.  That too is considered normal.  We both agreed that having help from the Comforter is key.  Frankly, I don’t know how people get along in life without Him especially in these situations.

Many professionals would say that there are five stages of grief and without getting long winded with the definitions of everything I’ll just list them below.

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

To help people with the grieving process our Care Ministry team is utilizing Journeying through Grief published by Stephen Ministries. This four book series is sent to selected folks over an eleven month period.  Feedback has been very positive and some recipients are circulating the books to others who may also benefit.  The investment of $2.00 per book seems well worth it.

Let me encourage you to do some reading and research on your own to help.  Obviously there are numerous verses in the Bible that can provide comfort and healing.  I’ve listed a few “handles” below for reference.  Another source of help may come from a mentor or from selected members of a close group.  In some situations people need and should pursue professional help.  Grief support groups also fill an important niche.  I saw a poster today advertising a widow to widow group.  Just think about the possibilities.  There is a long list of sources for help if you brainstorm the subject long enough.  Just know that it’s going to be your journey and what helps you may not work so well with others.

To help people who may need to make important decisions about your passing and help facilitate their grief when you pass away strongly consider having a Living Will/Advance Directives. Every person over the age of 18 should have one.  Be an organ donor. Your organs and tissues may help over 50 people who are still alive.  Communicate your choices about your funeral.  This may provide a teachable moment about a lot of things. And, keep working on those relationships.

Here are some Bible verses that have helped me over the years.  I hope they can help you too. Good grief? Perhaps, especially when we have done some “homework”.

  • John 14:1-4
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Matthew 5:4
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • Psalm 119:50

 

Glenn Compton - Director of Pastoral Care