Thankfulness in the Light of Grief
by Dan Langerock
You miss your spouse, relative or friend so much. The loss hurts so much that it occupies most of your thinking. Maybe you are not sleeping at night also. What are you going to do?
Think about what that person meant to you.
The good times you had together. The life you shared and all that entails. Special places that meant a lot to both of you. The long talks and anything else that was special. What interests you shared, movies you watched, and the special personality quirks they had that made them unique.
Manage your grief
If your grief hangs on for a long time or you see you need help in this area, there is hospice to help you. Other resources you can use are your local clergy, hospital chaplains in your area, a friend who has a gift for listening, grief support groups, etc. The point is, you don't have to go through this loss by yourself, there are resources out there for you if you will access them. However, the norm is to disregard these things and try to go through it on your own. The instinct is to withdraw instead of asking for help, but this can only hurt you sometimes. Learn to manage what you are going through so that it doesn't hurt you,and manage your life for you.
Your Spiritual Side
This is the side of ourselves that we tend to ignore. Our mind is saying "No, I don't want any help or intervention" while our spiritual side is saying "Get close to God during this hard time of your life". Which one wins is matter of our choice. God loves you deeply and wants to comfort you but you must choose to accept that from Him, He will not force you.
Make new friends
As was said before, the normal inclination is to withdraw because you feel so miserable, but now is when you may need extra support from good friends etc. Reach out to a few people who are understanding and are good listeners. Find people you are comfortable being around, whether it is in private or at a coffee or donut shop somewhere. The Bible says, "If you want to have friends you must be friendly".
Start a hobby
Men especially have a hard time with this one sometimes. They are so work-oriented that they have a hard time adjusting to retirement or times when they are alone. Men tend to have many of their acquaintances at work and don't cultivate others around home as much. It takes a special effort, and having a hobby you can share with others is one way you can do this. For instance, woodworking comes to mind because there are clubs where you can learn new skills and exhibit what you are working on. Coin collecting, stamps, golf, and a great many more can help you in this area also.
You may be wondering, "How can I be thankful when I have just lost someone so precious to me?" Naturally, you are not thankful they are gone from your life, but you can be thankful for the time you had with them, and the resulting memories you have now.
If you have relatives and friends who knew the person also, you can talk to them about their memories of the person, and share the ones you have. This will add a new dimension to the memories you already possess and start a bank account of what you remember. You could even write a little book or album of memorabilia to add to as time goes on and help you keep remembering the good things that happened in that relationship.
To lose someone is hard, hard thing to go through, there is no doubt about that. There is a time to be in sorrow and then later on there is a time to put that loss in perspective so you can go on with life because there is a reason you are still here. Perhaps it is to help comfort someone else who has gone through what you have. You can wallow the rest of your life because you lost that person or you can look at it in a new perspective of thankfulness for the time that person was with you. If you choose to wallow in your grief, your life will only get worse instead of better. That is when you need to look for help in whatever way, some of which are listed above.
You are not the only one who has ever lost someone special, there are many out there who could use your help if you are willing to give it. Above all, listen and then share from your own experience, and in the process you both will be helped. Remember that God loves you and is willing to help you and guide you in what you are going through. He desires to help you through this difficult time but you must be willing to choose that option. Yes, it is hard to lose someone so wonderful but life is waiting out there for you also when you are ready. God bless you!
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