Home » Grief » Six Months a Griever

Six Months a Griever

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I read a blog the other day. . .

This woman wrote that her husband had died six months ago and now that she has completely recovered from her grief she is ready to take what she’s learned and teach others how to get back up on their feet.

Six months?

What could she have experienced in just six short months that would make her believe it was over?

I read on.

Her blog gave no examples of her own experience, but was filled with shallow observations about why people struggle. In essence she accused the griever of weakness, being inconsiderate, and demonstrating a lack of faith. It was almost as if grieving people were nothing more than a disappointment to the rest of the congregation and detrimental to the evangelical mission of the church.

She wrote that grievers needed to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get about the business of demonstrating the joy of the Lord. They were to be examples of faith—not brokenness. From my personal experience—which spans over two decades—I was much better off honestly admitting I was a mess before God than pretending to be a joyful saint.

Instead of trying to force a grief stricken person back up on their feet, wouldn’t it make sense to first sit there in the dirt with them for a while, listen to them, and help them cry?

This woman wrote that she refuses to dwell in the past or allow herself to return to the pain of her loss. What I hear her saying is that pain remains within her. She thinks she can avoid it by refusing to acknowledge it. I’m left wondering: If she refuses to acknowledge her own suffering, how does she expect to help someone else out of theirs?

Everyone grieves differently. There is no sure fire ten step process to deliver a hurting person from their brokenness. However, dealing honestly with it is essential. Leaning into my pain was the only way for me to come out of it.

What I have discovered over the years since my son was killed is that my reaching out to others has been extremely healing for me. Their raw emotion keeps me compassionate, and mindful of what that brokenness felt like early on. That compassion causes me to spend more time listening than passing out advice or chiding a griever who doesn’t appear to be moving along fast enough.

When I make time to listen—I continue learn—even twenty-three years later.

Photo credit: mariateresa toledo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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15 thoughts on “Six Months a Griever

  1. Oh my gosh, that is shocking. Oh how I wish people would keep their little mouths quiet rather than speaking out words of folly.

    You are 100% right Gene. I agree with everything you say. And this is coming from a gal who has never, ever been bereaved in her 48 years of breathing. Yet I know that people can greave for a lifetime. Christians can be strong and have amazing faith yet still be feeling the indescribable pain that was caused when someone was wrenched from their life.

    6 months?!! 6 years is too soon, never mind a few months. This lady needs to go back to the word and read James a million times. Proverbs too. God tells us to be silent and to watch our words far more than he ever indicates to snap out of it and get on with life.

    Its the same with depression. There are countless Christians who love the Lord, obey his word, serve him wholeheartedly and believe his promises but battle a daily attack of foreboding and deep inner sadness.

    I hope that this lady learns wisdom and quickly. I am so sorry for her insensitive babbel and thank you for speaking up on behalf of the very weighted majority.

    I haven’t a clue how I will feel and react when I eventually suffer a bereavement but one thing’s for certain – I hope to God that people like her are as far away from me as the east is from the west.

    Thanks for another great article.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sharon, this lady’s insensitive babble, is the result of her not knowing how to process her own grief. A person cannot be sensitive to what they refuse to unravel in their own situation. Maybe even pressure from others for her to be some kind of strong example has caused her to write what she does. I feel both bad for her and irritated by what she writes, but I believe that somewhere down the road, she’ll realize six months is far too short of a time span to experience all the ups and downs of any life experience, much less grief.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. You are so very correct in all you say, Gene. It is healthy and loving to let yourself feel your own pain as well as that of others. No one can put a time limit on how long one should grieve. I have also heard that grieving for ones’ own child never goes away, especially when the circumstances were traumatic. I had a neighbor who said she never grieved at all for her husband when he passed, but she was not happy in the marriage. Perhaps, the degree of love in the relationship also makes a difference too. Either way, she is so mistaken in all she said. Scripture backs up what you have shared about grieving. God bless you in your courageous process, and God bless you for reaching out to others in their own pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right Debbie, some people do not grieve. Some relationships leave nothing to grieve.
      I don’t know if the death of a child is worse than other deaths, the level of the relationship may have more to do with the extent of grief experienced.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, as I reflect on that more, I believe you are correct. Training also has something to do with it too, I think. I think it starts as a child when he or she isn’t “allowed” to cry or talk things through. It’s very sad and personally I think it cripples people emotionally. And as you said, it hinders ones relationships a great deal too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such truth spoken here, Gene. I have a friend who’s husband died suddenly over two years ago, and she is still sideswiped by grief. Rather than trying to deliver people from brokenness, and deny them the chance of genuine healing, it seems like it would be better to walk with one who grieves through their brokenness. We should try to be a safe place for them to be real in the midst of all the shades of grief.

    Beautiful, wisdom-filled post, Gene.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gene, I thank God for people like you who know how to ‘mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice’, or I would never have received so much comfort in my valleys. When I suffer I need to know I’m not alone, and that I’ll eventually come out the other side. I’ve yet to hear of a genuine shortcut to grief. It was the 8th anniversary of my niece’s death, recently, and I was still caught off guard by a flow of tears.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Wendy. One of the most touching tributes a bereaved parent will experience is to have someone like yourself brought to tears by the memory of their loss child. As you said, its good for them to know they are not alone.

      Liked by 2 people

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