Grief, a noun, meaning deep sorrow, especially regarding someone’s death. For as simple of a definition, the emotions surrounding grief are anything but. There are few things that are guaranteed in life, and one of those is that you will experience grief. I am learning that grief comes in so many forms, and can be caused by so many things. Contrary to many people’s thoughts, grief is not just an emotion caused by someone’s death.
I will be the first to tell you that no matter how much you pray, no matter how many bible verses or spiritual quotes you read, grief will still bring you to an earth shattering halt when you least expect it. I broke down in tears the other day while shopping in Home Depot; I have probably been in a Home Depot at least a hundred times since I lost my dad but for some specific reason on that day it just hit me that I couldn’t call my dad and share our next DIY project, thinking about that moment still brings me to tears.
I think the single hardest thing for me has not been the grief itself, but rather, what I am or am not going to do with my grief. At times it has been easy for my grief to swallow me whole and be less than impressed with my productivity, or the person that I know I can be, but other times my grief has helped me be the best version of myself. My grief is slowly making me a person who I am very proud of.
I will tell you that the moments immediately following my dad’s death, I worried about days like today or tomorrow. Days where I didn’t have my dad to call on my Target run, or to call when I was frustrated, or when I needed to share a story about the kids. It is in those mundane moments that the weight of grief is the heaviest, the silence is the loudest, and my heartache is beyond measurable.
As hard as grief is, there is tremendous growth among the pain, and as I said earlier, it has helped me to become someone I am very proud of. If you are grieving, know that you are not alone, I can guarantee that someone else is feeling that same heaviness and heartache. Here is what I know has helped me, talk about your loved one, or what you are grieving, like I said it definitely does not have to be the death of someone. Find people that you can open up and be vulnerable with, this is where your growth comes from. You’ll be surprised how much you end up helping each other when you share your stories. Additionally, find yourself a good counselor or therapist. Trust me, I’ve literally given everyone around me every reason for why I didn’t need to talk to a professional about my dad’s death or the series of events that unfolded in my life since we have left St. Paul, but at the end of the day, I only regret not going sooner. Also, my main excuse for not going to a professional was time and location. In nursing lingo we call these barriers, basically I made up my own barriers, when I was my main barrier. Well, let me tell you about counseling nowadays, barriers no more, they have telephonic, texting, emailing, or good old fashion face to face. Sooo coming from someone who thought she could manage her own grief, find someone to help you navigate those emotions. I have used FaithfulCounseling, if you are on a budget they will likely work with you to help lessen the financial burden. If you want to go through your insurance, look at your health plans; they will have options for you, just call the number on the back of your card. Last but not least, one of the main things that has helped me on a daily basis is consistency in my spiritual practices. Whatever that looks like for you, lean into it, after all, it is that faith that gives us hope that we will be with our loved ones again.
If I could leave you with one thought-provoking thing, it would be this; grief is not something you are meant to be ashamed of; it will look different minute to minute, day to day, month to month. As a human being we will all experience profound grief, it is what we do with this grief that truly makes a difference in this world.