Grief is not simply a by-product of loss but an important part of growth and development – even a gift. It starts when we are children when we lose a toy or drop an ice cream cone. Grownups comfort and reassure us and we begin to learn the lessons of perspective that may help us when we break up with a boyfriend at age 15. It is of course outrageous to compare the loss of a spouse to a dropped ice cream cone. But if we believe in a wise and loving God, this comparison can help us to recognize that we can learn and grow from His words of comfort and reassurance. He will help and heal and bring us to a higher place.
The death of a spouse (as with the death of any loved one) is incredibly painful. It is often compared to an amputation. Part of you is severed and you must learn to walk or operate differently. This adjustment is called grief. Grief is the process we go through before we are able to accept the new life we find ourselves in. The saying that “time heals” is only partly true. Time heals if we do the work. Physical wounds will not heal unless we “do the work”. This may be anything from cleaning a cut to having hip replaced. The seriousness of the wound will determine how much work we must do or how long it will take. Learning about grief on websites or in books or through counseling can help us “do the work” for this great emotional wound.
Ann Kaiser Stearns wrote about three outcomes of people who suffer trauma. Some remain broken. Some return to a “normal life”. Others are what she calls “Triumphant Survivors”. These are the ones who use their experience to become better people, help others and find new purpose. This takes time!
“Above all, grief is a journey of the soul. It demands you to consider why people live, why people die and what gives life meaning These are the most spiritual questions we have language to form.”
I have, and will continue to post more about grief on the home page. Just click “grief” on the right to find more.