Saturday, January 9, 2016

How Are You Coping with Grief and Loss?

April 8, 2014

Are you bothered by Malaysia Airlines MH370 vanishing off radar screens on its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing? 239 people missing just like that? The nightmare of losing someone unexpectedly could happen to anyone, even you and me!

There are so many unanswered questions. Only one thing is for sure. The grief and loss of someone dear is difficult to bear. The heart wrenching videos from Beijing showed us pain without end.

"Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?" (Psalm 6:2-3)

My heart goes out to the victims, their families and friends. I wish they know God so loves the world that He sent His Son Jesus Christ who suffered and died for us.

"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5).

Everyone faces losses (e.g. relationships, jobs, dreams) sometimes. I still miss my mom who died suddenly in 1975, but I have learned there is hope and help and healing in Christ. Life is precious; accept and appreciate each other while you can. I am grateful for life. Just last week, our third grandchild was born. It's a boy.

"How Are You Coping with Grief and Loss?" May you find ideas that help yourself and others. Remember that Easter comes after Good Friday!!

Loss can come in many forms: the loss of a loved one, one's own health, a home, a job or a cherished dream. Grief is a natural response to any kind of loss. Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Grief experts have since added shock or disbelief, and we know now that a myriad of feelings can be experienced simultaneously in a great wave of emotion, especially with the loss of a loved one.

While it is natural to experience some or all of these emotions, there are ways to facilitate the process. Respond True or False to the following statements to discover how well you cope with grief and loss.

Set 1

1. I don't feel much interest in activities that I used to really enjoy.

2. I have trouble falling asleep and, when I do, my sleep is restless and I wake up feeling tired.

3. I cry often and am afraid I won't ever be able to stop.

4. I feel empty inside and am not sure anymore what point there is in going on.

5. I don't want to burden my friends and loved ones with my grief, so I put on a smile and hide what I'm really feeling.

6. I feel as if I have to be strong for others, so I focus on taking care of them instead of myself.

7. Although I am still deeply grieving, I worry that I should be over it by now, or that others think I should have moved on already.

Set 2

1. I know that trying to avoid my pain will only prolong my grieving; therefore, I make time to really face all my feelings.

2. Journaling and other creative outlets help me explore and express what I'm feeling.

3. In order to better handle my grief, I try to get enough sleep, eat well and avoid numbing my pain with alcohol or other substances and behaviors.

4. Although my feelings are all over the place and sometimes I feel as if I am "going crazy," I know that this is a normal response to great loss.

5. I have a counselor, along with the support of my friends and family, to help me work through my intense emotions and overcome obstacles to my grieving.

6. I draw comfort from meditation, prayer and spending time in nature. These activities help me take a more spiritual view of my situation.

If you answered True more often in Set 1 and False more often in Set 2, you may wish to learn some effective ways to better cope with grief and loss. Please call if you'd like support in exploring this further.
Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

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