Posts Tagged ‘Relatives’

Talk Grief Away

Scripture: (Job 10:1 NKJV)  “My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

Observation: Bildad, the Shuhite, one of Job’s friends who came to be with him in his sorrow, attempted to “correct” Job and to show him where he was wrong.  Job responds from the depths of his pain.

Application: In talking about “The Inner World of Grief,” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross encourages those in bereavement to talk about their grief and to talk about their loss and their loved one who is no longer with them.  I will quote her words: THE STORY
When your loved one became sick, there were medical visits, case histories, and physical tests.  Then they found the lump and your world immediately began to change. (62)
Now you sit alone remembering the story of your loss.  You may find yourself retelling the story to friends and family.  Immediately following the loss, everyone wants to know how it happened.  You tell your tale through your sadness and tears.  You talk about it after the funeral.  When friends come to visit, you discuss the parts of the story you continue to grapple with, like “I didn’t see it coming,” or “They told us she was sick, but none of us realized just how sick she was.” (62)
As time passes, however, you may see others grow weary of hearing the story, although you are not yet tired of telling it.  You may not consciously notice this, but when you encounter people who haven’t heard it you are grateful to have their ear. (62)
Telling the story is part of the healing of a traumatic event, no different from the trauma of large-scale disaster. (62)
While you try to comprehend and make sense of something incomprehensible and your heart feels the pain of loss, your mind lags behind, trying to integrate something new into your psyche.  It is something that moved too fast for your mind to understand.  The pain is in your heart, while your mind lingers in the facts of the story, reenacting and recalling the scene of the crime against your heart.  Your heart and mind are joined in one state, pain remembering pain. (63)
Telling the story helps to dissipate the pain. Telling your story often and in detail is primal to the grieving process.  You must get it out.  Grief must be witnessed to be healed.  Grief shared is grief abated.  Support and bereavement groups are important, not only because they allow you to be with others who have experienced loss, but because they provide another forum for talking about the devastating events that befell your world.  Tell your tale, because it reinforces that your loss mattered. (63)
You will find the story changing over time; not necessarily what happened, but what part you focus on.  Telling the story may also offer the opportunity for important feedback or information, as the listener may have missing pieces of the puzzle or insight you previously lack. (63)
The stories we tell give meaning to the fact that our loved one died, which is why, in American Indian cultures, stories are given the highest priority.  In fact, the function of the elderly is to tell the stories of the lives and deaths of the ancestors, the stories that keep their history alive. (64)
Our stories contain an enormous amount of pain, sometimes too much for one person to handle.  In sharing our story, we dissipate the pain little by little, giving a small drop to those we meet to disperse it along the way. (65)
Sometimes a loss is so great, you need a larger platform.  Sometimes people create videos, write stories about books. (65)
Some speak about their losses to groups. (66)
When someone is telling you their story over and over, they are trying to figure something out.  There has to be a missing piece or they too would be bored.  Rather than rolling your eyes and saying “there she goes again,” ask questions about parts that don’t connect.  Be the witness and even the guide.  Look for what they want to know. (66)

When I worked or volunteered as a Hospice Chaplain, and later as a Grief and Bereavement Counselor, I reminded my families or clients what I once heard, that Pain Shared Is Pain Divided.  When we talk about our loss, our pain, our loved ones, we are sharing the load with others who are stronger  than we are at that point and who, hopefully, by listening can help us carry that heavy load until we are able to stand again on our own.
I have been asked often by people who want to help their friends or loved ones who are terminally ill or who have experienced a loss (a relative, their job, their house, etc.) what they should say to them.  They’re afraid to go visit their friend or loved one because, “I just don’t know what to say.”  What I always tell them is, “The best thing you can do for them is not what you say but that you are willing to just listen.”
Bildad, Job’s friend, got many things wrong, both about Job and about God.  But the one thing he did get right were his words: “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, And your lips with rejoicing”  (Job 8:21 NKJV).  There will be a time when your friends or loved ones are ready to listen to words of encouragement and hope, and they will appreciate you reminding them that death is not forever, that grief and pain are not forever, but that one day death, pain, and suffering will come to a permanent end.

Prayer: Father, thank You that while we experience pain in this life, it too will come to an end when Jesus comes.  May He return soon so we can enjoy the peace and the happiness You intended from the beginning.


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