Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Losing a Loved One: Sunday Sisterhood Week 4

I’ve never lost someone really close to me, other than 3 babies I miscarried early in pregnancy and my Grandad, who suffered a severe stroke years before he passed away, so in a way I had already “lost” him. Those losses were absolutely heartbreaking, but I’ve never experienced that gut-wrenching realization that I’ll never talk to or see the face of someone I love again in this life. Because of that, I have a hard time knowing what to say when someone loses a loved one.

Last week’s #SundaySisterhood chat on loss and grief opened my eyes in a big way. I’m inclined to give someone “her space” and not bring up her loved one to spare her feelings. But so many women commented that the best thing people did was spend time together talking about her loved one, sharing memories, and asking questions. And I was in awe of the experiences women shared in grieving and coping with loss—what they’ve learned, how they’ve changed, even mistakes they made. Read the rest of the comments below to see what else these incredible women had to say.

By the way, we’re talking this week about losing a child, which I felt was a different kind of loss, and you can follow along and join in here. I hope you’ll join us this Sunday March 26 too, for our last chat on cancer. Click here to read summaries of our chats on divorce, infertility, and depression. And if you’d like to help host our next chat, please message me on Instagram.

UPDATE 4/3/17: Now that our series is complete, find the links to recaps on all 6 chats here

What are some things I can say (or that I shouldn't say) to show support for someone grieving the loss of a loved one?

(Host) peachesandpotatoes I've actually never lost someone really close to me, so it's hard for me to even imagine the pain and shock someone feels when a person she loves dies. I'm so interested to hear from you who have. I did a little research on what I've heard called "the grief circle." I like this simple idea: that you focus comfort and love towards someone who's grieving and the people closest to her, and whatever emotions you're going through stay outside this circle. Love, sympathy, and listening are most comforting. Giving her advice or telling her about the hard things you've been through are not as helpful. Also, being in the center of the "circle," she gets to say whatever she needs to say! I think that's when that listening ear really comes in handy.

theshaulisfamily Even "I don't understand but I love and am praying for you" goes a long way.

heartofdeborah I'm not sure the words but I'm a big fan of loving actions. When my family went through tough times a warm cooked meal was so thoughtful and helpful.

lenae_hamman Yes I agree with @theshaulisfamily I always try to reassure them that even though I might not know exactly how it feels, I'm there for anything they need!

bitsofsweetness Oh this is such a beautiful idea! People all grieve so differently. I remember when my dear friend lost her Dad unexpectedly, I had no idea what to say, so I chose to just be there and physically offer my love, hugs, and Kleenex.

aharmonmoore I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Also agree with @heartofdeborah that dropping off dinner is such a kind gesture that goes a long way.

tanacastleberry My husband lost his brother. And what helped him was spending time with family and reminiscing on memories and laughing. Also, just talking about his brother with anyone. Hugs when he would get emotional. People reaching out and calling. Nothing deep, just I'm sorry for your loss was all that needed to be said. Baked goods. Anything that showed that they cared and a listening ear. Having a knowledge of life after death becomes so much more clear. The realization that the spirit world is not that far away. Our testimony of that has strengthened after losing a loved one. And a strong feeling of being watched over by loved ones to protect us here on earth.

sundayswithstacie I have to agree with some of the other answers. When I lost my dad in a car accident, having people there to just listen while I talk and cry but also just dropping off something. It could be as small as a Starbucks coffee, just knowing they were thinking and praying for me meant so much.

elainavos Spending time together talking about him, sharing stories of his life, hearing stories I'd never heard. Having friends just check in on me with a quick text. Just being present and allowing me to emote. The hugs. Even as an introvert, the hugs help. They still do. Those helped the most.

katiecampbell The hardest thing for me when I was in the thick of grief was people telling me Christian cliché answers... and it didn't help or soothe my pain... it made it worse! I wrestled with hard questions and doubts after my Aunt passed and the friends that let me express them without trying to fix me meant the most to me. I felt loved by them when they allowed me to be raw in my grief and met me right where I was at.

picklemama0616 Never say it will get better, or time heals all wounds. Though the grief is not visible constantly after some time has passed, it is always there. When something comes through the curtain which thinly seems to hide the pain, the sorrow is still there. Now I truly believe God is my comfort and my all, but He knows our sorrow too.

alifewithalittle My husband lost a boss who had mentored him and been like a father to him just last year. It was really the first time he lost someone he was that close to. I encouraged him to find closure through attending the service, which I think helped. And I simply sat back and let him talk and actually listened and responded as he shared memories of his boss that were important to him. I made sure his loss felt validated by not pressing or pushing but tying to simply be there as a sounding board. His feelings were valid, and as a man, I know he struggles to share sometimes. I think just being open to his cues really helped.

klein_kmf For me, all my grieving processes have been different over the last few years. The first big loss I remember is my college mentor - we knew she was sick but to get the call was gut wrenching. I really just needed someone to listen and support me. With my paternal grandparents (2015 and 2016), I was still hurt but we had a better sense of when the end was coming. I cried some and then spent lots of time talking with various family members remembering them. This past February, I actually finally attended a funeral for my last grandparent (maternal grandmother). It helped so much to be surrounded by family and say goodbye. But honestly, the most help has come from my husband and friends who listen and ask questions about my grandparents (what did they like, favorite memories) to help me remember them and their love for me.

thesimplemama Sadly, I've lost many people (especially friends who were young). I always worry that the Lord has allowed me to go through that to prepare me for greater loss in the future (which I know may sound silly, but it’s just where I am with that). I've heard of the grief circle and couldn't agree more. I also think understanding that grief continues to come even in the most unexpected moments.

thecozyhomechronicles I recently lost my grandfather and what I appreciated most was the physical presence of friends and family especially those who offered me the comfort of sitting in silence. There were far too many people trying to "cheer up" by telling funny stories about him or talking as if he's already in heaven or just talking nonstop and I just found it so frustrating. It was like for their own comfort they were trying to sweep death under the rug and distract themselves through idle chatter. Sometimes you don't need to say anything but be in such a way as to give a person space to cry (because it's normal and therapeutic) and reflect (because it makes us better people when we pause to think about how short life is).

thenewb3c The grief circle is great. Also, (and I'm saying this as a pastor's wife and not from a non-faith perspective), it is never helpful to say, "Everything happens for a reason." or "It's all part of God's plan." Basically if it's a cliché, don't say it. There are a couple of reasons for this: probably the first and foremost being that a statement that supposedly is intended to comfort really brings more shame to the person for not being okay. In the moment, it really translates, "Just suck it up. You shouldn't feel sad. Shame on you for not being stronger." The second reason is that they are just not helpful in directing the thought processes in the appropriate way. "Everything happens for a reason" can get twisted in the mourning mind to "what did I do wrong to deserve this/ cause this to happen." And it may be true that God has a plan and this works into it, but the mourning mind may not be able to see it in the death-brings-life perspective but become fixated on being angry at God for "planning" it. Basically if it might evoke guilt, shame, regret, or resentment, don't say it. Don't try to be "smart". Remember the loved one. Don't be afraid to talk about them. It's just as hard to feel like the world is trying to make it as though the object of your affection never existed. I know my mother in law has trouble with feeling like people have "forgotten" my father in law. Be available. If you say you're praying for someone, be willing to actually pray with them in the present moment that you tell them that. Be willing to help bring food, watch kids, clean house etc., but don't force your presence. Just caring is the best.

tristansstainedglass Very nice :)

peachesandpotatoes@theshaulisfamily I agree! It's the best thing to say when you don't know what to say and it really does help people feel loved!

peachesandpotatoes@heartofdeborah that's so true, anything to show you're thinking of them!

peachesandpotatoes@lenae_hamman "I'm here for you" actually means the most at a time like this! Nobody has the answers. Love is the only real answer.

peachesandpotatoes@bitsofsweetness I love that! Being there physically and not just saying you're there for her...that's real love!

peachesandpotatoes@aharmonmoore thank you so much! I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I feel like everyone is taking a meal...should I? But all the meals coming in are evidence of how many people love them and are thinking of them. I don't think you can have too much of that!

peachesandpotatoes@tanacastleberry so beautiful. I'm so sorry for your and Paul's loss. I know your family was hit hard by that, and I also love how you made it a beautiful experience too by celebrating Brandon for the person he was. Hugs and remembering together are such simple and wonderful ideas! Thank you my friend.

peachesandpotatoes@sundayswithstacie oh my goodness, I'm so sorry for your loss. And for your accident you just shared the other day! You've been through a lot! I love how you said it's those simple things--coffee and kindness--that meant the most.

peachesandpotatoes@elainavos a beautiful summary! I love it. Hugs, spending time together, talking about him, texts, listening...so simple and so powerful.

peachesandpotatoes@katiecampbell that's so powerful!! I felt the same way after my miscarriages. The typical answers made it worse. You can believe in God's promises and still be feeling mad or sad! I'm so glad you had friends who were there to listen and let you grieve.

peachesandpotatoes@picklemama0616 thank you! Yes, it never really goes away. God truly does understand our pain and hurts with us when we hurt!

peachesandpotatoes@alifewithalittle I love that! Being open to their cues. Not having expectations for someone else's grief. So important! Thank you! I'm so sorry for your husband's loss.

peachesandpotatoes@klein_kmf I'm so so sorry for your losses my friend. Thank you for sharing. It's got to be so hard. I love what you said about asking questions!! That's one that hasn't been mentioned but I think it's so powerful. It shows a real interest and love and lets someone who's grieving talk about it in the way she needs to.

peachesandpotatoes@thesimplemama yes that's so true! It isn't just at the funeral or on the anniversary but could be at any moment. I'm so sorry for your losses my friend, that is heart breaking. And so beautiful to believe that God has a plan to use you as His instrument through these losses.

peachesandpotatoes@thecozyhomechronicles I'm so sorry for your loss; thank you so much for sharing. You're a lovely one to follow, by the way--not just your images but your message. I often crave quiet too. Silence can truly be the best therapy! Don't be afraid of not knowing what to say. Saying nothing might be the best thing after all!

peachesandpotatoes@thenewb3c I couldn't have put it better! I completely agree about cliches not being helpful, and the simple act of remembering (rather than trying to negate a loss) shows so much love. Thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry for your losses.

thecozyhomechronicles@peachesandpotatoes thank you for your kind words. This sisterhood chat is such a wonderful thing that you host! The few times I have participated have really helped me a lot.

peachesandpotatoes@thecozyhomechronicles thank you, that seriously means SO much to me, and I'm so thankful it has meant something to you. Much love my friend!

What's helped you cope with your grief since the loss of your loved one?
(Host) theshaulisfamily
I was around 9 years old when my grandpa fell over suddenly at our Christmas Dinner. I didn't completely understand what was going on, but I knew it was serious. I remember him falling to the floor, my Dad starting CPR and trying to stay calm, the ambulance coming [though it seemed to take forever], and my parents telling us to go sit in the back room.
He didn't make it. I remember my grandma crying that night, then apologizing to us grandkids because she needed to be strong. But even though I was only 8 or 9, something sticks out in my memory. It's my Dad telling my grandma Betty that it's ok to cry. In fact it's good. Because death is hard, and she loved him, and if anything she was being a good example to us. Because it's good to grieve. What are some ways that you have grieved since the loss of your loved one?

heartofdeborah Wow I'm sorry for your loss! I'm sure as a child that was difficult and scary. I agree with your Dad, it's good to cry. I tell my daughter it's okay to be sad sometimes!

lenae_hamman This gives me goosebumps. I am so so so sorry. When we lost Kreed's twin, I prayed a lot. I asked God a lot of questions and got all of the answers I needed. Everything happens for a reason.

aharmonmoore Prayer and the word of God. I have found so much comfort just in believing that I will see my niece again in heaven. I also read "heaven is for real" about a little boy who actually died and went to heaven and met his siblings (miscarriages that he didn't know about). It gave me so much peace and reassurance that we will be reunited in God’s presence. Seriously that book is amazing and I really recommend it!

theshaulisfamily@heartofdeborah all I can hear is the Daniel Tiger song...it's ok to be sad sometimes....😉

theshaulisfamily@lenae_hamman sorry for your loss. I know that must have been so hard. :( it's hard when you don't know if the person was a believer. But so thankful that the Bible says babies go to heaven. You will see your little one again and finally hold it in your arms.

theshaulisfamily@aharmonmoore I love how David, after he lost his infant son, said that he knew he would see him again. It's such a blessing to be able to read the Bible and see promises like that. Sorry for your loss. :(

aharmonmoore@theshaulisfamily thank you. It is such an amazing promise!

sundayswithstacieI lost my dad in a car accident less than three years ago and I was absolutely devastated. One thing that helped me especially in the first year was not only knowing I would be with him again one day but, also talking to God and asking him to pass on messages to my dad. I felt in a way I was still talking to him.

peachesandpotatoes I'm so sorry for your loss @theshaulisfamily. That's amazing how your family took a traumatic situation and turned it into a reminder of God's promises. I always tell my son when he gets upset, "It's okay to be sad, but it's not okay to act ugly." When I lost my pregnancies early on, some people thought it wasn't a big deal and that I didn't need to take it so hard. I wanted to get mad and scream when people said things like that. Being mad about losing my babies or about what other people said didn't help me. What helped was letting myself grieve and cry and remember them in my own way and my own time. I talked to my husband about them and thought about what it would be like to see them one day.

theshaulisfamily@sundayswithstacie that's an interesting concept. I never thought of that before. So sorry for your loss. So thankful you have the hope of seeing your Dad again.

theshaulisfamily@peachesandpotatoes so sorry about your sweet babies. 😕 I have lost one but it was so early I wasn't really attached yet. I know that isn't the case for some mamas though. We all grieve differently. It is neat to think about how old they would be. Some day in heaven we will see our sweet ones.

elainavos My dad was unexpectedly taken last year and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was a Christian and had gone to heaven. There was a sense of peace that came over me the minute he passed. God's grace was with us and family as we found joy and laughter remembering him just days after he'd gone. Our church family checking on us and the book my dad's pastor sent all have helped.

theshaulisfamily@elainavos I think having a good support through your church is crucial. Glad you have a good one. So sorry for your loss. But I know the feeling. When my other grandpa died, we knew he was saved. We were sad but we knew he wouldn't want to come back to earth after seeing heaven even if he could. His funeral had tears, but also lots of laughter remembering him and his antics. :) are you doing ok? I hear sometimes it takes even a year for reality to set in...

elainavos We have good days and bad days. We're approaching 1 year and family is coming together to celebrate, so that helps.

horizonboutique This is helpful, I have yet to lose someone in my close family but I never know what to say to others, this helps.

adventures.of.tenten Thank you for having the strength and courage to share your story. I know a memory and loss like that is not easy. Your dad is so right to say that! I honestly wish more parents said that to their kids. Some ways I have grieved is through prayer and knowing that they are in His kingdom now and to celebrate them as they still continue life with the Lord!

katiecampbell Grief has been heavy and messy as I have grieved these last 3 years over my aunt, who was like a mom to me. Letting my emotions be raw and sitting in the heaviness of the grief is the way forward for me. Writing has been therapeutic and I wrote a lot the months after she passed. Grief is different for everyone and it's hard when people offer a blanket solution to the complexity of grief but when those rare treasured friends give me the space to be honest with my emotions I find freedom and peace in the grief.

theshaulisfamily@elainavos hope you have a good time remembering.

theshaulisfamily@horizonboutique it helps me too. Glad I can learn from people who have walked through different experiences.

lenae_hamman@aharmonmoore The book and the movie are both phenomenal!!!! So glad you brought this up!!

theshaulisfamily@adventures.of.tenten thanks. It was scary, but we loved about a days drove away so it honestly didn't affect me as much as if I loved right next door. It is such an encouragement when you know the person who died had a personal relationship with Christ. So much easier!!

sparkleflycandles About 5 years ago my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. I grieved and grieve every day for her, for my children missing out on what an amazing grandmother she was and for me because I just want to go to Home Goods one more time with her. As we were worrying about my mother, my father was diagnosed with cancer and passed on within 3 months of his diagnosis. I had never felt pain like that. I grieved, I felt lost, it was hard to face some days. The only way through suffering like this is through faith. My faith in God gives me strength. I learned that every day is truly a gift. Every smile, every sunrise, every giggle, all of it.

theshaulisfamily@sparkleflycandles awww... that's so hard. :( My husband’s grandpa had Alzheimer's. He said he thinks the reason it's so hard is that you lose the person before they are gone. His grandkids were doing the same coloring books he was. So hard! And then cancer too. Sounds like you have had a crazy time. Thankful you have faith in God. I don't know how people who don't can get through these tough times.

alifewithalittle My grandfather died of lung cancer in 2012. I was there with him, my grandmother, parents and one aunt when he passed. It was so hard for me because I'm really very bad with serious illness and death. I struggle with discomfort and the desire to escape the situation. I think what helped me the most was when the rest of our family slowly arrived and we took turns sitting around his bedside and talking about our memories of him. It was hard to look at his withered body, but it was wonderful to be reminded of him in the vital roles he played and to know he wasn't gone but was at home with Jesus where he longed to be.

theshaulisfamily@alifewithalittle I'm so sorry. :( I hate cancer [I had it a few years ago]. It's so hard to watch people suffer. Glad you had some time with your family. I think you hit on something....thinking back and dwelling on the good things instead of the bad. Being thankful. And being thankful that Jesus made a way for him to go to heaven.

klein_kmf Grieving is so personal. For my mentor, I try so hard to take time and do the things she encouraged to do (my Latin and Greek readings, my crochet work). Every time I do a crochet project, I think of Sally Mac and it helps. For my paternal grandparents, I mostly grieve on my own or talk to my father about them. For my maternal grandmother, attending her service was the best thing for me. I was with family, sharing memories of her and mourning with them helped me. For all the others I was too far away to mourn with anyone else which made it more difficult I think.

thesimplemama Thank you for sharing your story with us. My best friend died in a car accident when we were 16. I was driving in front of her and saw the whole thing in my rear view mirror. That was almost 25 years ago. It's something that I will never forget. I just put it on a shelf (if that makes sense). I remember writing her letters all throughout high school. For some reason that was therapeutic to me.

thecozyhomechronicles When I was 16 my uncle passed away from colon cancer and not a day goes by that I don't think about him. Crying has always helped me but at the time I remember that reading a eulogy at his funeral service really allowed me to express myself and how much he meant to me. I was so shy and almost backed out of reading it but I'm so glad I did.

thenewb3c I'm still not sure have gotten my grief out... not because I'm trying to withhold the process, just because you can't help what you can't help. I just let myself cry when I need to. With my kids, something we did not too long after my father in law passed was to have a big pancake breakfast in his honor. Poppa always made the pancakes when we would visit, and that is one of their fondest memories with him.

bekahpn I lost my mom to cancer 8 days after I got married. And then I lost my best friend due to a bus accident 3 months later. I was so tired of grieving! God had to bring me back to the wonder of my salvation and realize the God that loves me and chose to die for me loved them also and more than I ever could. He chose to heal my mom by bringing her home to heaven. And I had to remember this world is not our home and they both have the privilege of being home with their Savior! I still miss them and have days of sadness, but I have hope, and I know I will see them again!

theshaulisfamily@klein_kmf you are right. Everyone grieves differently. Thanks for sharing what has helped you! Sorry for your loss.

theshaulisfamily@thesimplemama that would be so hard. And traumatic. :( I can see how writing letters would help. Thanks for sharing that idea.

theshaulisfamily@thecozyhomechronicles wow. I don't know if I could do that. But writing has always helped me process things so that makes sense. Sorry for your loss.

theshaulisfamily@thenewb3c that does sound like a special memory. What a neat way to honor his memory with your kids. Sorry for your loss.

theshaulisfamily@bekahpn that is so true. Going back to the joy of your salvation and remembering and being thankful. Great reminder. I love the song "Before the Morning". To me it seems to really speak truth about hard times. Really it just quotes scripture to music.

thecountrymama Within a period of one year, my dad had his second (tricky) heart surgery, a young close family member was molested, my mom passed away, and we miscarried our first....in almost 4-5 years I'm now starting to heal from it all and I've been taking comfort in God's Word. I had been drinking, smoking, and harming myself but it only made the pain worse. Having encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ along with reading and meditating on His Word this last month has been the most healing. I'm so ashamed of how I sought comfort in negative things rather than God. Only He heals the broken hearted.

theshaulisfamily@thecountrymama that is such a good testimony! So sorry for your loss. How neat that you have learned from your mistakes and are seeking comfort from God. Praying for you! I'm sure God will use your story to help encourage others.

What's advice or encouragement would you give to someone grieving the loss of a loved one for the first time? What was especially meaningful to you?

(Host) bitsofsweetness I lost my Great Grandma when I was 18. It was so painful. She left such a legacy in my life of love for others with a song always being hummed or sing, and so many sweet things done with her hands for others. From the quilts she made, to the delicious meals she prepared, to the baskets she wove, she fills so many wonderful corners of my memory. I have a quilt she made on our bed as we speak. Using the things she left behind really helped me heal.

theshaulisfamilyI'm following along to see all the answers.

lenae_hamman So sorry for your loss! It's nice to have the things she made as a constant reminder of her presence!

aharmonmoore I love that about treasuring what they left behind. I think that is so important. Also remembering their best qualities and trying to honor that person in the way you live your life!

sundayswithstacie When I lost my dad in a car accident less then three years ago,one thing that meant a lot to me was having someone tell me to talk about him to them and to go ahead and cry. Not telling me it was going to be ok (because at that time you feel like it's not ever going to be ok again) just letting me cry and talk and be there for me.

peachesandpotatoes I'm sorry @bitsofsweetness. What beautiful reminders of her! I love that idea. I would definitely encourage someone who's grieving to take the time she needs to be sad, to remember her loved one in her own way, and not worry about what people might think or say. Those are the things that helped me most.

bitsofsweetness@sundayswithstacie what an incredible gift to tell you that!! I know people intend well with many words but wow- to verbalize it being OK to do things that might make others uncomfortable and offering a safe spot for that with them- that sounds very very touching.

elainavos I was told to I would always have the memories of our time together after my dad passed in April 12 of last year. It's true those memories are like a picture book that I can share with our children, family, and many many friends. They are something I will always have. A piece of him with me forever.

bitsofsweetness@elainavos Wow. What treasures those are!

adventures.of.tenten Aw having precious momentums like that are such a blessing! It is a reminder that we all put our handprints in this world and on each other's hearts. That is why fellowship is so important!

katiecampbell Don't be afraid to feel the weight of grief. It feels so heavy and unnatural that it's easier to run from it and hide from the pain. But sitting in the heaviness of grief, for me, has been a way through grief. Find those friends who will let you tell stories of your loved one and cry for hours, and let you sit in doubt and questions. I think grief surfaces doubts and it's OK to have them. Lastly, everyone grieves differently, so don't compare the way your grief with others, everyone experiences it and deals with it in their unique way.

alifewithalittle My great-granny died when I was a child. I was afraid to go up to the casket because I didn't want to see her body. My dad took me by the hand and walked up with me. He supported me the entire time we were walking, and when we got there, he told me something about her looking like she was determined to get to heaven. She was a stubborn, ornery, lovable, Christ-following woman, and that description really helped me deal with her passing. I would advise anyone dealing with their first big loss to give yourself time to grieve and to also find your own way to get closure. If that means going to the casket with someone else next to you for support, do it. Grief is raw, but joy does come in the morning if we let it.

klein_kmf Grief is unique and only you can decide what form your grief will take. Reach out to others - grieving alone is very hard (or at least it is for me). Cherish the memories you have of them. And take time to fully feel your grief, do not hide or bury it.

thesimplemama We lost my mother-in-law unexpectedly almost 3 years ago. The best advice we received was to be prepared for grief to hit at the most unexpected times (and in the little ways). It was nice to be prepared for that and give ourselves grace when we still have hard days where we miss her worrying about us...or her silly gifts from the dollar store to our children...or the way she always had our backs.
thecozyhomechronicles It's okay to feel sad and express your sadness through crying. We live in a death-averse culture that puts so much pressure on people to always be functioning and productive. We aren't robots, we are humans and if you feel like doing nothing while you grapple with your emotions then that's okay.

thenewb3c Do try to force a timetable of when things should be a certain way.

bitsofsweetness@thecozyhomechronicles isn't it funny how our culture is? It's like not making others uncomfortable is of utmost importance. I don't know why people get so annoyed at having to feel emotions with someone else. It makes for much more authentic relationships! I love those who are brave

After losing a loved one, it can feel impossible to function for a while--what helped you get through each day?

(Host) heartofdeborah
I have to be honest with you I haven't dealt with this a lot in my life, but I know through friends and family it is a very difficult thing to handle. I look forward to hearing your experiences and gaining wisdom through this chat.

theshaulisfamily I have lost loved ones but they loved far away so it seemed surreal. Like I was just home....I feel more grief when I go visit my grandma and my grandpa isn't there.

lenae_hamman I told myself it was ok to cry, ok to feel the pain. (As silly as that may sound! 😝) Sometimes letting the emotions out helps shorten the grieving process!

aharmonmoore@lenae_hamman I agree! Give yourself time to grieve too. Some days you might just want to cry, and other days you'll feel like yourself. Don't feel guilty for feeling joy again, and don't feel discouraged on the harder days. Understand that grief looks different on everyone, so don't get mad at others who might not seem like they're grieving.

bitsofsweetness Sometimes it's surprising when grief hits. My beloved Grandma (dad's mom) is in her mid 90s. She has been one of my truest closest soul friends. I struggle deeply with the pain of when she will be gone. Likely not many years. Sometimes it makes it hard to just enjoy the time we have with her, but I need to. (She doesn't have a health diagnosis or anything, but she's not 74 like she always will be in my mind!) No matter what I've been through & choices I've made, she's shown the most love, compassion, and gentle wisdom. I know it's going to be very very hard once she's gone. I think sometimes just letting there be room for the moments that hit, whenever they do, help a lot. Letting yourself process it however you need, especially in the beginning.

tara_dickson My husband went to Heaven one year ago after a 14 month battle with brain cancer. The Lord holds me up every day, bottom line. Literally what that looked like was allowing myself to feel all the things and intentionally refocusing my gaze on Him and His promises for us.

tara_dickson Oops...to continue...Remembering that we were created for eternity. A friend who listened and reminded me I wasn't alone. Not huge expectations for myself just taking it a day and a time. Rest, rest, rest! It's exhausting! Talking with my children daily meeting each other in the moment and taking turns being the encourager. Talking about Alan's gifts to us and how this unexpected thing was no surprise to God. That Alan had accomplished the good works God had planned for him. Acknowledging we missed him desperately and also were so happy for him that He had received his reward!

sundayswithstacie After losing my dad in a car accident less then three years ago,the grief was overwhelming. What helped me was just asking God to help me get through that day.Sometimes it would be, help me get through the next hour so I could be there for my kids and especially my mom and be an encouragement to her.

peachesandpotatoes@tara_dickson this is beautiful. I'm so so sorry for your loss.

heartofdeborah@lenae_hamman doesn't sound silly to me! Thanks for sharing 😊

heartofdeborah@bitsofsweetness thanks for sharing!

heartofdeborah@tara_dickson I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your testimony. I'm sure it will encourage so many! What an awesome perspective you have.

peachesandpotatoes I agree, it helps realizing some days will be easier than others and not getting down on yourself when you're having a hard time. Grief is hard, it just is! It doesn't mean God isn't there, it means He knows how hard it is and wants to help and comfort us.

elainavos Knowing my dad was made whole. No longer in pain. The cancer was gone. His dependence on a machine was no longer needed. He was made new. Having a tiny little gave me something to focus on. Even as my dad's life here had ended, my daughters had just begun.

adventures.of.tenten Prayer and the love that outputs from my small group always keep me going! It is so important to stay connected with the Lord through all stages of your life, even I admit sometimes it's the hardest when your life feels it's in the darkest times.

katiecampbell Some days I thought I wouldn't make it, but when I focused on the good memories and the truth about seeing her again one day, it would give me hope to make it to the next day. Each year that passes I don't say I'm 3 years without you, I say, I'm 3 years closer to seeing you. That perspective fuels my hope.

lenae_hamman@aharmonmoore Ohhhh yes yes yes. Never feel guilty over finding joy again!! That was my hardest part after the loss of Kreed's twin! I knew I needed to be strong and happy that we had him but also felt guilty that perhaps I wasn't 'sad enough long enough' for our other baby. So glad you made that point as I find it SO IMPORTANT!!!!!!

lenae_hamman@tara_dickson You are so strong and inspiring! I am so sorry for your loss.

alifewithalittleI haven't dealt with this too much myself, but I watched my grandmother try to cope after losing my grandfather. For about a year, my family members took turns visiting her and spending time with her every week or every other week. It was scary because she lost my grandfather, a brother, a sister, a brother-in-law, and a sister-in-law all within the space of a year. She stopped eating, and we would try to help her by bringing food over and spending time with her. I think the big thing for her was having family step up to help and going onto medication for a time for the depression. And there is nothing wrong with that. Grief can do such a number on us, and there is no shame in needing help.

tara_dickson@lenae_hamman It's a beautiful thing that God promised us He would be strong when we are weak!

tara_dickson@heartofdeborah What a good thread for you guys to start to encourage one another!

klein_kmf I knew my loved ones were better off; no longer sick or in agony. I try to focus on ways to bring their memory into my days to help remember them and hopefully get back to functioning more normally. If something happens that they would have enjoyed, I take time to mourn them but then take joy in remembering them. For example, I was cooking using my grandfather's recipe when my 3 year old asked to help. I was sad to think that my two Joes (I named my son after my grandfather) would not get to do this together but then I enjoyed it because at least I can share this memory of Grandpa Joe to his namesake.

thesimplemama This may sound so silly, but we had precious friends bring us meals for a month after my MIL passed away. It was so completely helpful and gave us the sustenance and energy we needed to take care of the other things that a death of a close loved ones brings.

thesimplemama@tara_dickson Oh my. That is such a hard loss. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story and beautiful perspective with us.

thesimplemama@lenae_hamman I didn't realize your story. I am so sorry you went through that. Thank you for sharing with us...the good, the bad, and everything in between.

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