Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grieving

As the creator of OntheWingsofGratitude.com, @WingGratitude via Twitter, and the OTWG FB page, I want to say that I will never claim to know any answers. I sometimes type out the wrong inspirations. Many times I don't even know where the words come from which really is an indication to me that they are not my words, they are HIS words. 

Just like in life many of use tend to mess up HIS message. I am no different. 

Yesterday I posted this on FB/Twitter: 

Grieving is only a stepping stone. We don't have to KEEP grieving that person, illness, marriage or friendship. Grieve, but keep living. #WG

Our friend, Sandy is awesome because she quickly pointed out that she did not agree. She said:  

"I don't agree. Grieving is a process that continues for life. If it were drawn, one would use the infinity symbol. At times grief feels painful, overwhelming, or even non-existent. The path of grief never ends, it just becomes easier to walk on over time. We walk the path for the rest of our lives. Your last sentence is correct. We must keep living while we walk the path."

I happen to agree with her. What I really should have written was that we do not have to let the grieving DEFINE us. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in grieving that we forget who we are and what we have. 

Sandy is exactly right. 

Grieving is a process that never ends. I've said it before especially because I, myself, am living and still grieving. So, I made a point to comment to Sandy and let her know of my misspoken words. 

Grief is something that often consumes us and prevents us from truly moving forward. I think where most of us miss the mark is that we let the grief define our lives. 


Most of us know the steps of grief

I speak of this from experience. I have seen people who grieve an illness, a death, a friendship or a marriage and then pick themselves up and try to live and carry on. I have also watched as people close to me never stop grieving. I've watched it consume their emotions, relationships and, sadly, watched it prevent them from ever really experiencing life the way God intended it for them. It was the day that anger set in, stayed and invited bitterness that I saw someone, basically, lay down everything they had. 

I am far from an expert on grief, but I know that once we have to grieve something we are usually always grieving it to some extent everyday. I know that no one is above grief, but some think they are and end up in constant heartache and turmoil.

Paul said " One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on. . . ." ~Philippians 2:12

It is a strain to grieve and still be able to move forward. There have been days myself that you would have found me still in bed with the covers over my head and my face tear-stained. 
It's been 24 years and I am still grieving the loss of my brother, the loss of the family we once were, the loss of the possibilities that were once ahead of us, and what could have been. 

Two weeks before the day (which was actually this past Wednesday) I become overly emotional. I go into deep thought and prayer. I cry about things that, normally, do no phase me. I have learned over the 24 years of grieving that I have to let myself feel whatever emotion is present. Some years it is anger and some years it is acceptance. I am still learning how to get through it all, as many of you are today. 

Some people need permission to grieve. Most of us know that grieving is a given when we lose someone to death, but what about losing a friendship? Are we suppose to grieve when a long time friendship has ended? Is it ok to grieve an illness or a diagnosis? Is it necessary to grieve a marriage? 

The answer is YES!  We need to grieve anything that was once in our lives and anything that once brought us joy and happiness. We need to cry, and be angry. We cannot stop there, though. We have to get ourself to the acceptance phase of grief in order to be able to live each day more free than the day before. 

Do not let yourself fall into the depression, loneliness, or anger. As I have always said, make sure there are people you can talk to or can go to anytime. Surround yourself with positive words and presence. Better yet, make yourself available to someone else who is grieving. It is amazing how your experience can help others. Often we go through things not only to learn our strength but also to help others to learn theirs. 

Grieving takes more than a strong faith, although, it does help. Grieving takes strength and the ability to balance letting yourself feel the feelings, yet also reminding yourself to get back up and move just one step forward. 

Many days you will move one step forward only to find yourself 3 steps back the next day. Like Sandy said, it is a process. Do not forget to LIVE as you travel through the process. Do not forget to thank God each day you wake up. Do not forget that the process is your story (HIs story) and He is ahead of every single situation in your life.