I sit here today on my soft black leather coach pondering about life, business, kids, and the carpet. I find it so fascinating how things change and evolve from one way of being to another, what once seems so important suddenly has no meaning or value and the things that we find so important can over night no longer matter. My life has changed drastically over the last year after the passing of my dear husband Luke Osler. There were so many unknown expectations and no way to prepare for it a head of time. After the loss of my best friend I did what I had to survive and be the Mom I knew my kids needed me to be, but I couldn’t do it alone, and I couldn’t do it with who everyone thought I should. I had to get out, make new patterns, and habits! Make things different not because he was gone, but because we were in a new place, and everything is different because it is!
I love where my life is headed! My life is worth is living!
What does it feel like to grieve during the holidays?
My experience of holiday day grief …
It feels over whelming and painful, like it does when your head goes under a wave and the pressure coming down on you smashes your face into the sand and you loose all orientation of your surroundings and fail to take a relieving breath. It engulfs your entire being filling you with loneliness and despair that is indescribable, linguistics fail in every moment. There is no explanation or thought coherent enough to provide understanding. No comfort. No relief. No reprieve. Nothing liberates you from the difficult sensations permeating your very existence. You are left with nothing other than pain. This pain cuts to the depth of your soul that has been torn, shredded, and frayed beyond recognition.
Pretty awful huh! Yup, it hurts.
- What is a person to do?
- How do we move through this pain?
- Where is the relief?
- Who do we turn to?
- Why would you even want to?
In the coming days I will be addressing each of these questions from my personal perspective, and experience. This is a journey that I did not choose, it was forced upon me and now it is my responsibility to make a choice. How will I handle this? I am not asking for advice nor understanding, all I ask for is witness to my pain and healing as I grow and develop into who God would have me be.
The Cycle Of Grief
Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving.
As I said grief is a very personal thing and people express their grief in different ways; but there is a common pattern which most people go through, starting with shock and disbelief. This pattern has been called the “cycle of grief”
People’s first reaction is usually one of shock and complete disbelief. Shock affects people in different ways: everything can seem unreal; people can feel numb, withdrawn, detached; some people feel completely disorientated and don’t know what to do with themselves. For some it is a nightmare they cannot escape. Many people quickly experience complex and confused feelings – anger, guilt, despair, emptiness, helplessness and hopelessness.
When the shock begins to wear off, many people go through a stage of denial during which they cannot accept the reality of the loss. This often involves what is called searching behaviour, an attempt at some level to try to deny that the death has occurred. People often find themselves thinking they have seen or heard the dead person. Many people talk aloud to the person they have lost.
Anger And Guilt
It is common to experience anger, sometimes guilt and often both. Many people find themselves asking: “Why has this happened”? “Why me”? This is particularly so if the loss was sudden, unexpected or involved a tragic accident, it is common to wish to find blame, either in ourselves, in others, or even with the person who has died, and this can lead to powerful feelings of anger and guilt.
Despair And Depression
In the first few weeks the whole situation may seem unbearable and in the months that follow, many people feel there is little purpose in life and nothing of interest in the outside world. People sometimes begin to question their own sanity and think that you are going mad. It is said that this is a common experience.
Eventually people pass through the period of depression and begin to accept the loss. This usually happens with the passage of time and, as the pain eases, we are able to think about our loved one and recall the past without feelings of devastation. This can take up to a year or longer.
It may be when people start thinking of beginning their life again, maybe renewing old interests and taking up new pursuits. Many people take up a hobby as a therapy. Some people feel that this is disloyal to the person who has died, but the past is always a part of us and is not affected by enjoying the present, or planning for the future.
Finding Good Listeners
There is no automatic or quick answer to grief and it helps to express the feelings that well up inside us. Many people are afraid to talk to us when we experience a loss because they feel they will upset us. Most people do not realise that we want and need to talk about our loss. It is important to find good listeners.
Heavenly Father I come before feeling weighed down with sorrow. I lament in pain as I dwell upon the sufferings of your people, the sufferings of your children. My heart is burdened for the community of people who are deep in grief, we suffer great loss. I weep in despair feeling torment to the depth of my bones. Oh the agony! The whimpering babes, in the dead of the night, cut the air, piercing my soul. I cry out to you my God, my rock, my refuge! You who are near the broken hearted and save those crushed in spirit, fill us with your spirit bringing peace that surpasses all understanding. Your presence permeates the air we breathe, we turn to you and you are here, we come to you with a seeking heart, desiring freedom from this prison of suffering. Our hearts are plagued with fear, not knowing what tomorrow holds. Comfort us with your grace, and bring understanding to who you are. Make us bold for your name’s sake; strip us of the longings for this world. Move us to faith, with endurance and strength, restoring our hope!
Desperately in Christ Jesus I pray, Amen!