how do you handle grief?

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notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
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#41
I find death often leads me to different kinds of grieving.

I found out my grandfather died at a dear aunt's funeral. (The aunt I got my middle name from, so she was very much a part of my life.) I think I did what most kids do -- somewhere between didn't want to get it and not knowing how to get it.

For Mom? That I was a new believer might have tipped the scales there. Or Mom making me repromise to raise my little brother up in the Catholic Church. But I remember doing everything I could to replace her, thinking that's what I was supposed to do. I became Mom as much as possible for my little brother, and became housewife for Dad. Can't say that worked well, considering two years later I had to face college.

Gram dying was my first adult grief. Gram was a bit like me -- she'd rather garden and do needlecrafts then silly stuff like cooking food. And yet, the oddest thing happened. I made sweetbreads! Lots of them! So many, I took some to work, handed some to neighbors and friends, and had all the fill we could manage. Something good came out of that. It was my first foray into dessert making, and I haven't stopped yet. (Making blueberry bread as I write this. lol) Now gardening, needlecrafts, (even the types she didn't do), and baking are sweet memories of her. I can almost hear her say to me, "Heavens, Lynn! What are you doing in the kitchen?" lol

But those are the things I prefer remembering about how "well" I took grief. I might even be able to fool you into believing I'm good at it. Then again, you remember seeing me in grief at the end of 2015 through half of 2016, so you already know... I don't take it well.

I don't think there is a take-it-well. I think it's like going through a swamp with an 80 pound backpack because you have to. Not because you want to. It's messy, it's annoying, it's frustrating, lots of tears, lots of "Why her/him, God?" lots of "why me, God," and sooner or later, you start noticing there is a tree up ahead. And you're in the forest before you even noticed you got out of the swamp. You get to keep the backpack, but somewhere along the way, you even get around to noticing that God lightened it for you.

And somewhere in that forest, you remember something of your mom that doesn't hurt. It's a good memory. You might even catch yourself laughing, and then feeling guilty for laughing. Don't. I'm guessing you got your sense of humor from her, so you carry something of her. And that's what's left in the backpack. Carried, fond memories of life before the swamp, and how "easy" that swamp was.

Strange thing about grief. I think it's a lot like giving birth. God has to be mighty kind to mothers in fading the memory of the pain of childbirth, or there is no way in the world anyone has more than one child. (Or even one child.) Eventually the pain fades. It becomes a part of you. Think about it. When you think back to those visits to the hospital, how many of your memories have to do with the actual pain? And, do you remember thinking during the birth of your second child that you have no memory of exactly how much it hurt?

It's like that. You will always remember the pain. There will always be a tender spot, but it just stops being as vivid as it is now. It's already started. Today you don't hurt quite as much as you did that day two weeks ago.

You're already to the point where you aren't quite as worried about bursting into tears at inopportune times. When someone tries to console you, it isn't a guarantee the crying starts. (It might, but two weeks ago, it was guaranteed.) It's like that.

:rolleyes: did you just tell me, 'time' ? because the crying at inopportune times is gettin' worse! lol

i've been through this before with all sorts of losses. idk, i'm looking for something that doesn't exist, probably. trying to keep busy, find the beauty in life, etc. i suppose it really all does come down to time, but i thought it might be a beneficial topic of conversation for us all, since pretty much nobody gets through life without facing grief.

i'm really glad people are sharing their stories. the people of God acknowledging sadness happens, "But God". :)
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
22,958
1,502
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Florida
#42
My youngest sister passed away June 19, 2009. She was 27, and it was sudden. I know the death of loved ones is never easy, but it seems like it is more of a punch to the gut if it is sudden and unexpected. The main thing that helped me after she passed away was knowing that SHE isn't dead. As a matter of fact, she is more alive than I am! For a long time, I talked to her (not praying, just talking to her). I know that we are separated for a time, but will be reunited. Eternity is longer than earthly life. Sometimes, I tell people that we did not lose her, because we know where she is. I can not imagine what it is like to mourn a person who is unsaved. That would be almost unbearable.

One of the things that helped me cope right after her death were hymns, and reading the stories behind hymns. Many were born out of grief. Another thing that helped my mother and me that first Christmas was Operation Christmas Child. We had zero desire to celebrate, but it was lots of fun buying things and packing shoe boxes.

I would say that one of the biggest things that gives me comfort is there were no hard feelings between us, the night before she died we were joking around. That means something to me, and I hate to hear about people who are estranged from family members, because I believe they will regret it if their family members die before things can be put right.
I fully agree. We should treat others, especially family members as if it's the last time we see them because one day it will be. That's very sad to lose your younger sister at such an early age.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
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#43
When my best friend passed, I had a few insensitive comments. I don't think they meant any harm but it annoyed me just the same.

I was really feeling her loss one day and someone said, "She's not God and He is your best friend." Well duh, I obviously KNOW that. Needless to say I NEVER mentioned her to THAT person again.

Ever talk to someone and walk away feeling worse?

A little understanding goes a long way.

oh, wow. :(

often people don't know what to say (because there really isn't much to say) but at least we have learned through what you shared what NOT to say. goodness!

forgiveness can be so hard, can't it? especially when people who haven't experienced a similar loss don't understand it. i'm so sorry you lost your friend. ♥
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
22,958
1,502
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Florida
#44
The last time that I saw my late wife was in the nursing home. She had spent most of her life in considerable pain and discomfort and her family would often say unkind words to her. I asked her why she was crying and she said that she couldn't take the pain and suffering anymore and now just wanted to be with Jesus. I comforted her the best that I could.

That was the last coherent conversation that I had with her. She was on many types of medications and was often groggy and not very responsive. Two weeks later she had a pulmonary embolism in the heart. I was with her the night she died in the hospital. Her eyes were open but she couldn't see me. The doctor said that it was possible that she may be able to hear me. A respirator was keeping her alive. I brushed the hair out of her eyes, gave her a kiss and told her that I would see her again one day but until that time I would do the best that I can during the time I had left. I then told the doctor to take the respirator off her so she could die would dignity. He directed the nurse to do this. She died a minute later.

I went immediately outside of the hospital. It was dark and misting and with gloomy fog. I cried my eyes out. Afterwards I was determined to move forward in my life without her. She was certainly now in a better place than I was. She was no longer in pain, now I was the one in pain but God was with me. Eventually, after a period of time that pain subsided. Such is life. I will survive.
 

CMarie

Junior Member
Jul 17, 2017
3
0
0
#45
Its been almost 2 years now since I lost my husband...growing closer to God has helped. Plus, i joined a griefshare.org group to help cope with the pain. I still miss him but having Jesus at my side, has helped quite a bit. Praying for you.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
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#46
So true that we all process grief differently. Sorry for your loss at such a young age. I have experienced the death of my dad over 30 years ago and then 2 years ago with my mom as well as many friends over the years. I processed the grief differently each time. For sure there is a peace when we know they are with the Lord. I would encourage you to try not to withdraw from socialization and confide in safe people who will allow you to grieve. Keep the memory alive in whatever manner helps you. Live for today and trust God for His plan. He is there for you in your deepest hour of need. The book of Job is good to read for perspective and for a great example on how to deal with loss.

welcome to CC, first of all. and thanks for calling me young! ;)

also, thank you for the reminder not to isolate, as i have been doing that. :eek:
 

HoneyDew

Senior Member
Apr 30, 2011
1,840
82
48
#47
oh, wow. :(

often people don't know what to say (because there really isn't much to say) but at least we have learned through what you shared what NOT to say. goodness!

forgiveness can be so hard, can't it? especially when people who haven't experienced a similar loss don't understand it. i'm so sorry you lost your friend. ♥
Thank you notmyown. I am so sorry for your loss as well. Peace be with you always.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
0
#48
Mrs Ellie, when I wrote my post, I did not realize your mother had passed away, I am very sorry to read your mother has passed away. The first holidays will be difficult, but I echo Temporary Circumstances idea about celebrating your mother's birthday. For a while, we did things to celebrate my sister's birthday and it did help. God bless you very much, you and your family are in my prayers.
you are such a dear! no worries at all, as i said, i thought this would be something people might like to talk about.

♥ ♥
 

Reborn

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2014
3,997
135
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40
#49
are there things that help you cope? the great obvious, the Bible, prayer, spend time at Christ's feet.

but take a walk? smile at children playing? what makes you feel a little better, and what (other than time) diminishes the grief?

please share your suggestions, if you will.

Sorry for your loss, Ellie.

You know me...l handle everything with laughter.
l close my eyes and think of a time when they were laughing with me.


...or maybe they were laughing at me?
Either, or...it works for me.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
0
#50
When my father passed away in 2011, a number of things got me through. The most important was knowing he knew Christ for the last 5 months. I knew he was with Jesus.

My sister came and helped me with the funeral, I busied myself not just planning but writing the funeral. I was taking pastoral ministries, but I also wrote the sermon, although I did not preach it. That is not a good thing to do when you are grieving. My sister did the power point, and I arranged everything else. (My church family also helped tremendously - the church, the ladies helping with the caterers, the comfort from the pastors!)

My husband lost his father in his teens, and he knew all about grieving. He was a real shoulder to cry on. My kids loved my father, and they all came to the funeral, except one who was somewhere playing hockey. Although he went out of his way on the way south, came to Edmonton and spent a few last days with my father, who was in the hospital dying in the fall. We had some great talks about my dad, and the memories the kids had.

My mom didn't want a funeral, but fortunately, my sister got it written into my father's will. It was supposed to be small, and it sort of was! She would only let the death announcement be in the paper for one day. But, various sports teams got a hold of it, the university where he was a professor sent out a notice. And the people that turned up were amazing. There was the junior high basketball team my dad coached to the provincial championship. Everyone alive on that team came, and they had a picture of the team for me. Of course, lots of his colleagues. The Grey Cup was that weekend, but he still had an honour guard of some younger players from his CFL team. There were many more! I guess grieving together was important for me.

It was touching to see the fond memories all these people had of my father. He wasn't just my father, but he had made a big impact in my community and touched lives. And in turn, I made sure the sermon touched hearts and lives, and reflected the changes in my father's life as he had turned to Christ.

It took a long time before I could really sob about the loss. I ran from it, busy with seminary, assignments, etc.

I'm not sure if any of this helps you. Just sharing what helped me in the death of the person I was close to.
it does help, thank you so much!

when my dad died 10 years ago, it was a great loss to us all. the executor of the will (a sister) was in a rush to have the memorial service, and since my parents had just moved most of their friends didn't know, or have a chance to attend the service. and dad had loads of friends.

so it was performed by someone who didn't know dad, and only family was there. if my then 19 yo son hadn't gotten up to say a few words about dad, it would have felt sorta pointless. all his cousins smiled at JD's memories of their granddad, and still tell him they're so glad he did it. none of dad's daughters could have; we were all crying too much to talk. But God! He provided personal context to the service in my goofy kid. (i'm a little fond of that boy. lol)
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
22,958
1,502
113
63
Florida
#51
Its been almost 2 years now since I lost my husband...growing closer to God has helped. Plus, i joined a griefshare.org group to help cope with the pain. I still miss him but having Jesus at my side, has helped quite a bit. Praying for you.
Wonderful testimony. Glad to have you join us. Welcome to CC.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
0
#52
The last time that I saw my late wife was in the nursing home. She had spent most of her life in considerable pain and discomfort and her family would often say unkind words to her. I asked her why she was crying and she said that she couldn't take the pain and suffering anymore and now just wanted to be with Jesus. I comforted her the best that I could.

That was the last coherent conversation that I had with her. She was on many types of medications and was often groggy and not very responsive. Two weeks later she had a pulmonary embolism in the heart. I was with her the night she died in the hospital. Her eyes were open but she couldn't see me. The doctor said that it was possible that she may be able to hear me. A respirator was keeping her alive. I brushed the hair out of her eyes, gave her a kiss and told her that I would see her again one day but until that time I would do the best that I can during the time I had left. I then told the doctor to take the respirator off her so she could die would dignity. He directed the nurse to do this. She died a minute later.

I went immediately outside of the hospital. It was dark and misting and with gloomy fog. I cried my eyes out. Afterwards I was determined to move forward in my life without her. She was certainly now in a better place than I was. She was no longer in pain, now I was the one in pain but God was with me. Eventually, after a period of time that pain subsided. Such is life. I will survive.
oh, Jerry! :(

i appreciate you making yourself vulnerable (again) in sharing this. i did cry both times i read it.

thank God you parted in love, and He has given you your darling Darlene. thank you for the hope, and reminding me we have a great hope in God.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
0
#53
Its been almost 2 years now since I lost my husband...growing closer to God has helped. Plus, i joined a griefshare.org group to help cope with the pain. I still miss him but having Jesus at my side, has helped quite a bit. Praying for you.
welcome! and thank you, really, so much for sharing this. the idea of this loss frightens me, i admit.

thank God for His comfort. here's a tissue for you, and my gratitude for telling us about your loss.
good to know about the website, too. :)
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
0
#54
Sorry for your loss, Ellie.

You know me...l handle everything with laughter.
l close my eyes and think of a time when they were laughing with me.


...or maybe they were laughing at me?
Either, or...it works for me.
i made a totally inappropriate joke to my sisters in Skype. :rolleyes: (shocking!)

the day mom died, which was the day before my sister found her, i got a belated birthday card from mom.
i had planned to call her to thank her the next day. when dad was in the hospital, he had an NG tube that made it hard to talk. i knew it was going to be removed and was going to call him, but he died that day.

i said to my sisters, it's like mom and dad knew i was about to call and said, you know what would be better than a call from ellie? :rolleyes: :D

my sisters said, mom would have LOVED that joke. apparently, we get our dark sense of humor from her. lol

thanks, bro. ♥
 
D

Depleted

Guest
#55
:rolleyes: did you just tell me, 'time' ? because the crying at inopportune times is gettin' worse! lol

i've been through this before with all sorts of losses. idk, i'm looking for something that doesn't exist, probably. trying to keep busy, find the beauty in life, etc. i suppose it really all does come down to time, but i thought it might be a beneficial topic of conversation for us all, since pretty much nobody gets through life without facing grief.

i'm really glad people are sharing their stories. the people of God acknowledging sadness happens, "But God". :)
Hm, how about that? The one thing I got consistently, (not always crying at inopportune times), is even different for you. Any chance it would help, if I let you know I picked times (opportune ones, of course :rolleyes:) to have a good cry? It wasn't like I never cried. I just try to avoid crying when I'm doing dishes, (wet hands can't wipe tears), dusting, (wiping tears when dusting isn't any good, because I'm allergic to dust), or when someone is saying something that's supposed to be consolatory, but they're not the kind of person I want to cry on their shoulder. (Bosses or neighbors.) So, I picked those moments when nothing had to get done in the next 30 minutes or so. (Which, btw, sometimes meant dinner was going to be late.)
 
D

Depleted

Guest
#56
The last time that I saw my late wife was in the nursing home. She had spent most of her life in considerable pain and discomfort and her family would often say unkind words to her. I asked her why she was crying and she said that she couldn't take the pain and suffering anymore and now just wanted to be with Jesus. I comforted her the best that I could.

That was the last coherent conversation that I had with her. She was on many types of medications and was often groggy and not very responsive. Two weeks later she had a pulmonary embolism in the heart. I was with her the night she died in the hospital. Her eyes were open but she couldn't see me. The doctor said that it was possible that she may be able to hear me. A respirator was keeping her alive. I brushed the hair out of her eyes, gave her a kiss and told her that I would see her again one day but until that time I would do the best that I can during the time I had left. I then told the doctor to take the respirator off her so she could die would dignity. He directed the nurse to do this. She died a minute later.

I went immediately outside of the hospital. It was dark and misting and with gloomy fog. I cried my eyes out. Afterwards I was determined to move forward in my life without her. She was certainly now in a better place than I was. She was no longer in pain, now I was the one in pain but God was with me. Eventually, after a period of time that pain subsided. Such is life. I will survive.
You know me. Always on the practical side. How did you get home that night? (The day John finally went to the ER and it would take a major miracle for him to survive that day -- which did happen -- I had brought him in the car, so had to take the car home. And, I came within an inch or two of smashing into a cement barrier on the way home. I was a mess, and realized I shouldn't be driving. So the next two weeks I kept taking cabs.)
 
D

Depleted

Guest
#57
i made a totally inappropriate joke to my sisters in Skype. :rolleyes: (shocking!)

the day mom died, which was the day before my sister found her, i got a belated birthday card from mom.
i had planned to call her to thank her the next day. when dad was in the hospital, he had an NG tube that made it hard to talk. i knew it was going to be removed and was going to call him, but he died that day.

i said to my sisters, it's like mom and dad knew i was about to call and said, you know what would be better than a call from ellie? :rolleyes: :D

my sisters said, mom would have LOVED that joke. apparently, we get our dark sense of humor from her. lol

thanks, bro. ♥
That's the kind of humor my uncles made while talking about their sister the night she died. If it weren't for that night, I would have thought humor had to go away during the mourning period. (Dad is that kind of guy.) Humor got me through the swamp. Now I just like it.
 

notmyown

Senior Member
May 26, 2016
3,430
255
0
#58
Hm, how about that? The one thing I got consistently, (not always crying at inopportune times), is even different for you. Any chance it would help, if I let you know I picked times (opportune ones, of course :rolleyes:) to have a good cry? It wasn't like I never cried. I just try to avoid crying when I'm doing dishes, (wet hands can't wipe tears), dusting, (wiping tears when dusting isn't any good, because I'm allergic to dust), or when someone is saying something that's supposed to be consolatory, but they're not the kind of person I want to cry on their shoulder. (Bosses or neighbors.) So, I picked those moments when nothing had to get done in the next 30 minutes or so. (Which, btw, sometimes meant dinner was going to be late.)
you can choose a crying time?? i mean, that's impressive! i don't know if i can, but a good suggestion; i'll try.

i can normally control it in public. (normally. ha! i got teary at the DMV last week. great for license pics :rolleyes:)
if the kids make any attempt to be kind, it's over. or it's on. or something. lol

no crying while dusting will be easy. i don't dust. :p
if i did, where would i get the dust and ashes for repentance? ;)
 

Katy-follower

Senior Member
Jun 25, 2011
2,703
131
63
#59
What helped my family, when my grandmother died, was planting a tree in her memory. It's also a great idea when there are younger children in the family, to get them involved in planting it and then saying a prayer afterwards as a family :)

My grandfather planted a vine at the home I grew up in. The vine is apparently still thriving to this day, 30 years later. When I visit family I'm stopping by to take pictures and maybe see about cutting some pieces off to frame them. The last memory I have of him was playing a game of dominoes with him. I was about 5. I have pieces of memories, but this one is the clearest and was shortly before he died. Whenever I would play that game I would think of him, so I felt like God let me have that memory :)

I remember visiting my grandparents, the smell of their house, even to this day. Funny what things we remember.

Will be back with another post. Need to get some sleep!
 

oldethennew

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2016
7,606
424
83
#60
Jesus has taught me very well, about what grief is and how to handle it -
it didn't come easy, because of what the world puts on you - it was slow coming,
but, He has taught me how to just let it flow: it's not about the why, where, or reason,
it's just trusting Him and letting yourself rest in His arms, not giving a care what anyone,
any where thinks about your tears, but just Him, because He always knows the why...
it's a very special freedom and also a very special trust in our Saviour...