There is much written about grief. I am not writing about the normal pattern of grief. I am writing about what I have experienced about grieving a loss. First, I’ve been thinking about the purpose of grieving, why is it so important to work through significant losses you and I experience in life? I think to stay attached to the real world rather than one that only exists in my head, it is necessary to grieve to let go of something that is no longer part of reality. So, for example, I was the full time pastor for 12 years of Believers Church in Chesapeake, VA now I work full time for a natural gas utility and part time for Bay Life Church in Brandon, FL. That is my new reality and it is a massive change. Whenever their is a major transition that includes loss, grief will be part of the adjustment to a new reality.
Grief always takes the willingness to accept/face what is now my new reality and to feel the pain of the loss of the old reality. That pain may include a deep sense of loss, anger, depression, a longing for the old to still be real and other such emotional hurt. For me, I have to allow myself to feel that pain and express it in some way. I can’t stuff it, or bottle it up inside and pretend it didn’t happen.
Medicating that pain only will prolong the healing time. Talking about it, taking it to the Father through talking to Him about it, and allowing myself to celebrate the good parts while still hurting over the loss is all part of it.
Having others who can share in the pain of my loss through empathy, listening and validating the loss are all helpful. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to look back and be grateful for the good times, learn from the hard times and be able to accept fully the new reality in which I am living now.
How long does that take? It depends how deeply you were invested emotionally in the thing you lost. It could take years for some losses. I close with the purpose of grief, it is to let go of something that is no longer reality so you can live fully in the reality that now is.
Grief is complicated and often messy. It can’t be placed neatly in a formula. I hope this helps someone.