I’ve had the opportunity, no the privilege, to talk with a number of people lately (present company included – I talk to myself sometimes) who are walking through various valleys of grief and for a variety of reasons.   It has taught me a number of things about the types and “manners” of grief……

There is the most obvious and most difficult grief – grief over the loss of a loved one.   Whether that be a parent, child, family member, friend, it really really hurts.     It’s a valley that you walk through and you don’t come out of it the same as you were when you went into it. 

Then there’s the anticipated grief – the grief of knowing that your loved one is battling a disease and won’t win.   The outcome is clear but the road is clouded with fog.    The grief is happening already at that point.

There’s the grief of what could have been – when you realize that your dream is never going to be fulfilled.   That’s a grief that is of a different dimension, but it’s grief none the less.

Then there’s the grief of decisions.   The grief that comes from realizing that decisions that you made or decisions that others made are going to forever have an impact on the life (lives) of people you care about it.

So, what have I learned?

No two people grieve the same – and that’s okay.    Everyone needs to handle their grief in their own way and on their own timeline.

Rarely can someone reciting platitudes from the Bible make someone who is grieving feel better.    Most of those who are grieving know those promises – but that’s not the time to remind them of the promises – they will fall on deaf ears or they will make things worse.    What they need most is just to have you be there.

My son’s therapist taught us this one – “It’s okay to “be with” your feelings for a time.”    Don’t feel like you have to get “over it” in a certain time period.   Allow yourself time to grieve what or who was lost.

Hold on to the hand of the One and very often the only one who understands your grief.   Jesus understands it and can handle your grief, your anger, your frustration.   Bring it to Him.

And while you are holding the hand of the One who understands, when the worst of the grief has passed by, ask Him the question,  “What now?”

God, what would you have me do now?”

Praying for those who are feeling these levels of grief today, especially those who taught me these lessons about grief.

May God comfort the souls of all who grieve…….

Tom