A Journey with Grief, It is a Part of Life

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depressed young people sitting in the tunnel

By Beth Pinyeard
For the Opelika
Observer

The goal of this article is not to make readers sad or gloomy, but from my desire to help them know and understand that grief is a normal process we go through in the loss of a love one.
There are other losses in our lives like the loss of health due to challenges, the loss of a long time job due to retirement, or the loss of familiarity, security, family, friends due to moving to a different part of the country because of job and family responsibilities, or “Empty Nest Syndrome” when our grown children move out. These and other losses can bring different levels of grieving into our lives.
Talking and expressing thoughts to others is a necessary part of healing. Talking to friends and family is essential as you take one day at a time in the grieving process.
Families and friends taking time to listen is so helpful for a person going through the grief tunnel. Time spent with the person grieving spells “Love.” I am very thankful in for the many different resources that we have in the Auburn-Opelika area to help us to come through our grief journey in a healthy and hopeful way.
Here are some things to remember for someone who may be going through a time of grieving themselves:
1) Each person grieves differently. We grieve in our own way and in our own time frame. Even within the same family, people grieve differently. You cannot put a time clock on how long it takes to grieve.
2) During grieving, a person may have a wave of different emotions. It is normal to feel sad when we lose a love one. We may also experience a deep feeling of loss when we lose a mother, father, spouse, child, sibling or grandparent because there is such a strong, fundamental human tie. When we lose a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling, that bond of connection is torn. It is not weak to experience a multitude of emotions during the time of grieving. God-given tears are a healthy display of love and care. People also may not cry during the grieving process. Being able to grieve and express yourself as the person you are, is what matters the most when you experience loss. In being a support person to a person who is grieving, lending time and a listening ear to that person who is mourning is providing that person a safe place to express themselves.
Other emotions that may surface in the loss of a love one are relief if your love one was truly suffering before they passed away or guilt if you wish you had spent more time with your loved one. You wish you could have encouraged them more by talking to them or you might wish you could even unsay things that may have been hurtful between you and your love one. Anger may slip in as well if you had unresolved issues with a love one who has passed away or if you had a strong loving relationship with your love one who has passed away too early or prematurely.
Understand your physical and emotional limits when you are grieving. Experiences of loss and the emotions which accompany the death of a love one may leave you fatigued, not able to think clearly, and slow us down. Keep in mind that this is a natural passage in the journey of grief. After checking in with my physicians, they explained to me that this would take time and to nurture myself. Denying grief only prolongs the process and confuses a person. After understanding that grief is natural it gave me peace to know that one must mourn in order to heal. But too, I must go on with the business of living and make the most of each and every God given day. It is so true that time helps us to heal.
When we go through the valley of the shadow of death we then want to help other people to walk this journey of grief.

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