May 15, 2024

Advice for a New Griever

I received a message from a high school friend grieving the loss of his wife. He asked me how he would survive the grief. I did some soul searching to figure out what to tell him about how to move on after such devastating loss. Here are some things I have learned.

Lorna Hering

I promise that you are still in shock. Your mind and heart can’t take in a loss of this magnitude all at once.

I remember feeling so tired. Just exhausted. Evenings were the worst. Wanting Rhett to come home from school and knowing he wasn’t going to.

You lost the love of your life. Give yourself permission to grieve. Give yourself permission to rest. Give yourself permission to cry and hurt. It’s all part of the process of taking this pain to a bearable state that your heart and mind can live with.

And... give yourself permission to have both good and bad days. Both are acceptable!

I promise you it gets better. The loss and longing don’t go away... but the overwhelming sick feeling will begin to fade to a bearable level.

You will miss her the rest of your life... and you will cry tears for this loss the rest of your life....

But, you will not stay in the debilitating pain you are feeling now.  There will be a lifting of the heaviness. You will feel joy again. You will find reasons that make you want to live. You will eventually come face to face with the beautiful power of hope.

Lean on God. He can take it all... even your anger and accusatory questions. He will offer you a peace that will slowly start to coat your heart.

You will be disappointed from time to time in friends and family and how they act or respond or even forget your loss. I’ve learned that I can’t expect them to understand a loss like this. I have to forgive them.  Believe it or not, you will lose some relationships as you walk this out.... and you will gain some. Both are blessings and just part of the journey.

Let your heart remember the good times. Limit the amount of time you replay the final loss and suffering. I kept replaying the dreadful day of the accident and seeing Rhett in a casket, and it was eating me alive.

Purposefully avoiding those thoughts has helped me. And picturing Rhett having the time of his life in paradise with no pain or injuries is healing to my heart. Your wife is happy, healthy and whole! It’s a beautiful thought really. It’s just hard to stay in that thought.

The bottom line is.....

Yes! I promise it gets better.

There is hope!

God is real.

Joy will slowly return.

But this journey is HARD beyond words, I won’t lie.

Hang in there! I will be praying for you.