Search Results for: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief

Overcoming Grief: Plan to Live!

One way to help overcome grief is to plan to live–one day at a time.

children walking down a road     In this series 10 Things I’ve Learned  About Grief” (from the book Dear AmericaI share my own story of loss and grief.  The tenth thing I learned (see the first eight here) about grief is this:
     #10: Plant bulbs: plan to live!
     Okay, maybe you don’t garden, but here’s what I mean: The Saturday after the Attack on America, I took my radio into the garden to stay abreast of the latest news as I planted fall bulbs for spring flowers.
     As talk shows discussed possibilities of future terrorist attacks, biological and chemical warfare, and other possible horrors, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I may not be here next spring to see the very tulips I was planting.
     After all, those people who boarded planes or who went to work at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and New York police and fire stations that Tuesday morning fully expected to be here that afternoon, let alone next spring. Will I still be here? I wondered. Will our society still be here? Will our nation still be here?
     Maybe I shouldn’t even bother planting, I thought. I paused for the briefest of moments.
     No, I determined, I am going to plant these bulbs. I am planting them in faith, expecting to be here next spring to see the flowers.
     I planted the bulbs.
     Whatever it is you love to do, make plans to do it-next month, next season, next year. With God’s help, determine to survive. Trust God to carry you through whatever this life dishes out. He won’t let you down.  (Excerpt from Dear America )
     “Lessons From Grief: Living Is About Dying” is an article by Sabrina Beasley who lost her husband suddenly in a car accident but found something to look forward to. She writes:
“As for me, brushing this closely with death has awakened me spiritually. I can see how short my time on this earth is. Like [the apostle] Paul, I praise God that it’s short. I can’t wait to know the Lord face to face, but for the sake of the dear lost souls who walk hopelessly around me, I have resolved to do everything I can to spread the Good News [of Salvation in Jesus Christ] for as long as I am alive.”
     When losing a loved one makes you want to die, do something you love. Create something to look forward to. Find for yourself a reason to live. Your loved-one would want you to live. And even if you think differently, many others in your life know you, love you, and want you to live. God has a purpose for you, and He wants you to live.
     Through this inspiring video,  “The Call” by Celtic Woman,hear God call you to something great for the rest of your life:
 

Lost a Loved One? A Grief Lesson on ‘Firsts’

This continues Dianne’s 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief. Here she discusses the first year of ‘firsts’, as that can tempt some to think about suicide.

By Dianne E. Butts:

 

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In 1850 Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his poem In Memoriam:27, wrote, “ ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” But if you’ve lost a loved one, it may not feel that way, but instead may tempt you to think about suicide.

The first year after the death of a loved one is filled with many “firsts.” In my list of “10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief” (excerpted from my first book, Dear America), the sixth thing I’ve learned about grief is this:

 #6: During the first year, you will experience a lot of “firsts”—your first anniversary, first birthday, first Christmas, and other first holidays without your loved one. Other firsts may include the first time you go to the movies without your loved one, plan a trip by yourself, or dine solo. And, of course, there will come the first anniversary of your loved one’s death.

It’s hard for anyone to get through all these for the first time. And getting through them the first time does not take away all the pain or depression. You may feel grief on those anniversaries for many years to come.

I learned some people experience “anniversary grief”: feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, or other emotions around the anniversary of the death. These may even be subconscious, as a feeling of sadness, anxiety, anger, or other emotion that you just can’t figure out why it is hovering over you.

For years I felt a vague sense of dread, like something bad was about to happen, around my birthday. I could not shake the feeling and did not understand it. I didn’t connect it with my brother’s death until a friend of mine explained “anniversary grief” to me. It was only two days after my 18th birthday that my brother was killed by a drunk driver. I’d had other traumatic events happen near my birthday when a younger teenager also, including when my parents announced their divorce and yet another year when my father was diagnosed with cancer and had major surgery.

While I hadn’t connected the dots, my subconscious had, and it left me with that feeling something dreadful was about to happen. You may experience a different feeling. These feelings can cause us to think about suicide.

When such an anniversary is approaching:

  • Try to anticipate times that will be difficult, like holidays.
  • Make plans to do something special.
  • Preferably do your special plans with friends, family, or other people around.
  • Holidays or personal anniversaries are no time to be alone.

Pastor Charles Stanley wrote a beautiful letter to grieving people on the tenth anniversary of September 11th:

We experience injustices at the hand of others who cause us overwhelming suffering. The pain gnaws at us and we wonder, Why God? Why did You allow these things to happen? Is there any hope left?

“Are you experiencing this kind of grief today? Has your world come crashing down due to another’s hurtful actions? Have you lost someone or something that is very precious to you? If so, I want to remind you that God is still on His throne…and He loves you unconditionally.”

You can read the rest of Pastor Charles Stanley’s letter here.

Seek out the comfort of friends and family. They love you and they need you, too. So don’t let the first year of firsts after the death of a loved one tempt you to think about suicide.

When you feel sad or are thinking about suicide, why not instead begin to think about things you are thankful for? God, also, has experienced pain and loss and He knows how it feels. Listen to this song with lots to thank God for: “I’ll Say Thanks” by God City:

Kill Myself? Grief and Forgiveness for Stupid Comments

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief from Stupid Comments: Lesson 4 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.

 

Words are powerful. Words can lift us up and encourage us or make us feel so low we don’t want to go on. It can enter our minds to think, The stupid things people say make me want to kill myself!

After we lose a loved one, we’re already deep in grief. When people—especially friends—say stupid things, it just kicks us lower. But you know what? It could be they didn’t mean to say something so stupid. It could be they had no idea how their words sounded to you.

I was a teenager when my brother, riding his Harley Davidson, was hit by a drunk driver and killed. I remember one friend telling me, “You just need to forget your brother and move on.”

Forget my brother?! I thought. I don’t ever want to forget my brother! Plus, at the time, he hadn’t been gone twenty-four hours!

I really don’t think my friend intended to say something mean to me. I really think she was trying to help. She just said something really dumb, probably without thinking through how it sounded.

So here’s the fourth lesson I’ve learned about grief. (See our other lessons in the category: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.)

#4 Forgiveness:  Some of your friends may say dumb things…but they mean well. Other people don’t say anything at all or disappear from your life. Any of these actions can be very hurtful.

(See also grief lessons: #1 Exhaustion, #2 Guilt, and #3 Anger)

When I was grieving the loss of my brother, I finally figured something out. I discovered I did much better when I gave people a break—when I chose to forgive them for hurtful words and to assume that their intentions were good.

Some people disappeared and didn’t want to hang around with me anymore. I finally learned it was because they didn’t know what to say to me. When I decided to let it go even though they weren’t the friends I needed them to be, I could move on and find stronger friends who could help me through my sad time.

There are no magic words. If you’re trying to comfort a grieving friend, realize you don’t have to say the perfect thing. Just your presence, a touch, or a tear communicates your love and concern.

You might think a lot of suicides are caused by mean things bullies say. According to the article “Bullying And Suicide: The Dangerous Mistake We Make” by Katherine Bindley, further investigation often reveals other factors were involved in the suicide.

Madelyn Gould, a professor at Columbia who studies youth suicide and prevention, said in the article “If someone is being bullied, they should not jump to the conclusion that one of [their] options is suicide. What they should jump to is, one of the options I have is to get help.”

If you’re thinking, stupid things people say make me want to kill myself, it’s time to find a stronger friend and ask for help.

Video: Please take a few minutes to listen to this beautiful song.  It talks about thinking and sinking so low and then says “lift me up to higher heights than I’d ever known before”! Take time to listen to: “Thank Him for the Miracle” by the Booth Brothers:

Grief and Anger: Thinking About Suicide

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief with Anger: Lesson 3 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.

 

Sometimes when we feel angry, we want to hurt other people by hurting ourselves. When grieving, some left behind after the loss of a loved one even think silently– and may feel like screaming at the top of their lungs– “I’m angry and thinking about suicide!

I’ve learned some lessons about grief: #1: Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts  and #2:  Grief and Guilt with Suicidal Thoughts? Ask for Help.  The third thing I’ve learned about grief is this:

#3: It’s okay to feel both grief and anger.  Some people may feel anger towards those who caused the death of their loved one—the drunk driver, the terrorists, etc. Others may feel anger towards the illness, like cancer.  Some even feel angry with their loved one for leaving them alone, for making them face the future without them, for dying. Still others are angry at themselves for that last argument or forgetting to say, “I love you.”

Some people become angry with God.

These feelings are natural and are not wrong. Anger is not sin (see Ephesians 4:26), but what we do with it can be wrong.  Revenge is never right, and harboring anger in our hearts will lead to emotional, spiritual, and even physical problems. Instead of remaining angry, why not find a wholesome way to “vent” or express your strong feelings?

Here are some ideas:

  • Expressing strong emotions through words is surprisingly helpful. Talk to a friend, a family member, or a counselor.
  • Join an organization, such as one that fights drunk driving.
  • Look for ways to help our nation in difficult times. Volunteer.
  • Raise money for cancer research.
  • Write your deceased loved one a letter telling him how you feel, how much you love him, or whatever you didn’t say.
  • Visit her room or grave site and talk to her out loud.
  • Talk to God. Be honest. Tell Him how angry you are at Him, but don’t stop there. Ask Him to help you work through all your feelings.

When we are sad, when things are not going well in our lives, or when we are angry, we can feel far away from God. In an article I wrote titled “When You Feel Far Away From God,” I wrote this:

“How many times have I felt so close to God one day, but so far from Him the next? I wondered… Why does God feel far away just when I need Him most—when I’m in difficult circumstances or when my situation looks hopelessly impossible?

“I never intend to move away from God, especially in tough times. Yet sometimes He feels so far away. What has happened?”

In that article you can read what I wrote about how our feelings can deceive us. Just because we feel God is far away doesn’t mean that He is far away.

He is close enough to feel your pain and know your thoughts, even when your heart is crying out “I’m angry and thinking about suicide!”

Video:  If you’re feeling both grief and anger, God knows and He cares. Listen to the wonderful words of this Country Western song “God In Heaven Knows” by The New Hinsons:

 

Grief and Guilt with Suicidal Thoughts? Ask for Help

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief, Guilt and Asking for Help: Lesson 2 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief. Includes Post-Abortion Grief.

 

As I write about lessons I’ve learned about grief, you may recall lesson #1: Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts where I talked about how being tired is just one symptom of grief.

Lesson #2 is to recognize additional symptoms and know when to ask for help:

Some people may temporarily experience sleeplessness, nightmares, lack of appetite or greater appetite, fear, increased anxiety, or various other difficulties. These are “normal” for people working through grief, but if they continue or become overwhelming, ask for help.

It’s hard to ask for help. I’ve also learned even when we reach out for help, the help we find isn’t always helpful. If that has been your experience, I challenge you to try again. You are too important to let a mismatched counselor stop you.

In the article, Choosing a Christian Counselor at  CBN.com,  David Martin states: “In order for a Christian to make a good decision about a Christian counseling professional, there are some important factors that need to be understood as well as the various options that are available to you.” (Click through to that article for more good information.)

For help, CBN.com recommends these organizations that you can call right now:

New Life Ministries: 1-800-NEW-LIFE (1-800-639-5433)

Rapha National Network: 1-800-383-HOPE (1-800-383-4673)

There are various reasons feelings of guilt may be associated with the loss of someone. For many women and men, that relates to  abortion.

Post-Abortion Grief and Guilt

In a guest post at Kathi Macias’ blog, I wrote about how it’s common for people with an abortion in their past to grieve and even think about suicide. (If this applies to you, click here to read more about that.) But women (and men) the world over need to know that God loves them, that He will forgive them, and that He is right there with them no matter what they have done or what they are facing right now.

At the Abortion Recovery Help webpage, the list of  Symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome  includes depression and thoughts of suicide. Whether you are a woman or a man, pro-life pregnancy centers offer free, confidential programs to help you through after-abortion struggles. Find one closest to you here: www.OptionLine.org.

Even if this common cause for grief does not apply to you, feelings about the loss of a loved one can be complicated, and counseling frequently very helpful. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do ask for help, from a friend, any of the counseling resources previously mentioned, or:

CBN’s 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center at 1-800-759-0700

This video,You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up), may help:

 

Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief Plus Exhaustion: Lesson 1 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.

 

I’m not a professional counselor. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. But I know grief. I’ve learned a bit about grief through my own experiences. I’ve learned grieving takes an extraordinary amount of energy and therefore grief can make you tired. And when you’re tired, a lot of thoughts can sneak into your mind. And so I know that after losing a loved one to death, feeling grief  plus exhaustion may increase suicidal thoughts.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I know all this. I was thirteen when my parents filed for divorce and shortly after that my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Living alone, due to the divorce, he endured major surgery all by himself, but I wouldn’t say he ever really recovered. He hung on for more than a year, but cancer slowly took him. I was fifteen when he died.

After I graduated from high school, my brother, who was in the Marines, came home just in time for my eighteenth birthday. We had a grand time on my birthday—going dancing and riding motorcycles all night long. The next day he was riding his Harley and was hit by a drunk driver. He died within minutes.

Around the same time I lost two grandparents.

Yeah, I know grief.

What I know of grief due to the death of a loved one I learned through personal experience. After sorting through all that, I made a short list of ten things I’ve learned about grief.

Through my first ten posts on this blog, I’m planning to share with you those ten things I’ve learned about grief in the hope that it will help you and encourage you and lift you up. You see, I know that when bad things in life get you down, often you get a few extra kicks. Then it’s easy to want to give up. That’s when suicidal thoughts can begin to edge their way into our thinking.

But life isn’t bad. Life is good. And if you know some of the tricks the bad things in life try to use to keep you down, then it’s easier to not let the bad win. You can battle back—and find the will to do so even if you don’t feel it now.

I will be sharing 10 Things About Grief with you at this blog, thinkingaboutsuicide.com. Here’s the first thing I’ve learned:

#1: Grief takes a surprising amount of physical energy. Dealing with intense emotions can drain our strength. You may need more than the usual amount of rest for a while.

To lift you up, InTouch Ministries provides a list of “God’s Promises” for those in Grief.

One way to battle back to the good side of life: get some rest. Remember everything looks darker when we’re tired. That’s why feeling grief plus exhaustion may increase suicidal thoughts.

Here’s a video on YouTube that may be a comfort to you:

Our Posts for the Depressed and Suicidal

by Hope4You (Editor):

In our efforts here at Thinking About Suicide to help save lives, we want our posts easy for you to find if you are feeling depressed and suicidal.

I’ll continue to index many of  our posts with links, as I have below, to help you see the variety of topics we cover and different author viewpoints. If you feel one article hasn’t adequately addressed your feelings or questions, we hope you will read other articles and viewpoints to round out your view of what we have to offer.

As the sunflower turns to the sun, turn your mind toward hope, help and life. Image by Irish_Eyes

As the sunflower turns to the sun, turn your mind toward hope, help and life. Image by Irish_Eyes

DEPRESSED? SUICIDAL? There is hope and help.

Helpful Tips for the Clinically Depressed: Author James Watkins struggles with being clinically depressed, and recently wrote a letter to a friend who also struggles.

PHYSICAL CAUSES

Treatment for Depression; Seasonal Affective Disorder and Nutritional Deficits (Wells): Treatment for depression should include addressing nutritional deficits. Also, Seasonal Affective Disorder causes depression in some.

Don’t Give Up and Commit Suicide: Check Your Physical Health (Wells): Thinking you should give up and commit suicide? Know that suicidal feelings may be caused by physical problems that can be corrected.

Bipolar Disorder Can Influence a Suicide Attempt (O’Connor)

EMOTIONAL CAUSES

You Can Survive Holiday Blues (Shepherd): Are you wondering if you can survive the holiday blues? Feeling a bit depressed post-holiday?

TEEN DEPRESSION

Teens Thinking About Suicide (Wells): Left untreated, depression can lead to teens thinking about suicide, and untreated depression is the number one cause of teen suicide.

STEPS TO HOPE

Is There Hope? Take Action (Decision 3) (Furman, Is There Hope? series): Decision 3 from the Traveler’s Gift, by Andy Andrews.

Depression and Suicide Links (Gordon) by a marriage and family therapist, excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors.

SUPPORT

When Suicide Seems Like the Only Option : When suicide seems like the only option, having someone walk with you through your struggles can give you hope for the future.

When Suicide Seems the Only Option (2): A friend of Peggy’s shares hope for those who think suicide seems the only option.

 SIGNIFICANCE

Long-term Depression and Thoughts of Suicide (Wells): Do you struggle with long-term depression and at times feel insignificant? God says you are significant AND valuable.

Helping Students Understand Suicidal Thoughts (Kosman):  When talking to teens at a high school, we discussed suicidal thoughts, but also how unique and special each of those teens are.

Why Not Commit Suicide When I Have Nothing To Offer? (Copen): on chronic pain and illness, and still being able to make a difference in others’ lives.

OVERCOMING SHAME

Japanese Students – Please do not Kill Yourself (Shepherd)

OVERCOMING GRIEF

Grief and Suicidal Thoughts: Loss of a Baby (Kosman) Sometimes grief and suicidal thoughts go hand-in-hand, and the loss of a baby may seem too great to bear. But God is there to comfort you.

Lost a Loved One? A Grief Lesson on ‘Firsts’ (Butts, 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief series): the first year of ‘firsts’ in missing a loved one can tempt some to think about suicide.

OVERCOMING PTSD (MILITARY)

Army Suicide Prevention: Faith and Counseling Help (Monetti): Military life presents unique marital challenges for the warrior and his or her family in an already stress-ridden society, but many army suicide casualties can be prevented.

FAITH & DEPRESSION

FAITH––the Suicide Vaccine (Suicide Prevention): A pharmacist suggests a different kind of ‘vaccine’ for suicide prevention. We also encourage you to visit our sister site, GodTest.com to learn more about Christian faith, and also visit our site FindingGodDaily.com which addresses applying faith to many tough issues in life.

We welcome your comments and suggestions about topics we may not yet have addressed. I will do a separate roundup page for articles meant for survivors, in particular for family members who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Not all of our posts on depression and suicide  are listed here yet (this is officially our 100th post!) so do use our tabs at the top of the page and our Search box to find more articles here while I also attempt to add to this particular list. Many of our writers have felt as you do, while others have lost family members to the tragedy of suicide.

All our posts are written by caring people who desperately want to encourage you to go on living.

I Want to Die, I Miss Him So Much

By Dianne E. Butts:

 If your grieving reaches a point where you consider taking your own life, you need help–do seek that.

Your pain will eventually ease, despite how terrible as it feels right now.

 

I am convinced that the grief and loss we feel when a loved one dies is in direct proportion to how much we loved that person and how big of a hole they left in our lives.

When we are grieving, it’s easy to feel like we will never feel any better, that we’ll be grieving for forever. As you miss that person, do you find yourself thinking, “I want to die?”

In the article series “10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief (from Dear America), we’ve been exploring what  I learned after losing my father, brother, two grandparents and a friend, all when I was a teen. I hope what I’ve learned will help you.

Here’s the eighth thing I’ve learned about grief:

Somewhere I read the average person grieves for a full two years after the death of a loved one, so give yourself plenty of time. However, if you or someone you love is struggling after that, consider asking for help.

I remember as a teenager how losing my Dad ripped the ground from under my feet. Most of my friends didn’t understand (although some did because they had lost a parent too).

A couple years later when my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, a friend told me I needed to “get over it” and “move on.” When she told me that, we hadn’t even had the funeral yet! It took me many years to realize that she meant well; she really was trying to help.

But the fact is we can’t rush grief any more than we can turn it off or on. Grief has a mind of its own and it will take the time it needs to work itself out.

If you try to rush through grief, you may enter into denial. But grief will come back to you sooner or later.

If you try to ignore grief, it might hide for a while, but it will be back to visit.

If you get frustrated with grief and think that it is taking too long, or if you go the other direction and hang on to your grief because it’s all you have left of the person you love, you may be headed for trouble. That kind of trouble can possibly lead to thinking about suicide.

Give yourself, of someone you know who is grieving, a proper amount of time. But if the grief hangs on, seek help.

Of course you need not wait. You can take advantage of organizations and services that can help.  To find them, check with the funeral home, a church, a counseling center, your doctor, the phone book, or the internet.  One reputable organization is New Life Ministries (1-800-NEW-LIFE) www.newlife.com.

If you’re thinking “missing him (or her) for so long makes me want to die,” check out the article 10 Tips for Healthy Grieving by Steve Arterburn, host of the radio show New Life Live.

Here is an encouraging thought for when discouraging times or dark shadows come: Video: “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” by Lynda Randle:

God Help Me Handle My Loved One’s Estate

By Dianne E. Butts:

 If as executor you must handle your loved one’s estate while you are grieving, you may cry out: “God help me!”

 

After the death of a loved one some people don’t want to think about business at all. Other people want to only think about business so they can get lost in it!

As much as you may not want to face it, you may be thinking “God help me! I don’t want to handle my loved one’s estate.”

I mention this because it might be helpful to know up front that this “business” may have to be tended to.

In my list of “10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief” (excerpted from my first book, Dear America), the seventh thing I’ve learned about grief is this:

Someone, maybe you, will need to take care of the deceased person’s estate, meaning their property, bills, and assets. It helps to know up front that this process takes a long time, often at least a year. Ask for help, especially with all that legal stuff.

In the year 2000, my father-in-law died in April and my mother-in-law followed in December. We then learned my husband, the oldest of three sons, had been made the executor of their estate. We were living in a small town at the time and my husband hired a small town attorney to help him execute their will. This attorney made things immensely easier and his fee was not all that much.

There were legal hoops to jump through, but having someone knowledgeable eased that stress. If you are the one who needs to take care of your loved one’s personal belongings or estate, you may find thoughts of suicide edge in to your thinking because you’d rather die than have to deal with this. Ask for help. Whether friends or family can help you, or hiring a perfect stranger is the way to go, there are people who can help you walk through this difficult task.

In my first book, Dear America, I told my story of losing my father then my brother when I was a teenager. Because my parents were divorced, tending to my father’s estate was a challenge.

During the same few years I also lost two grandparents and a friend at school. I wrote Dear America after September 11th, 2001, hoping that sharing my story would help someone get through grief. You can learn more about Dear America here.

If you’re thinking, “God help me! I don’t want to take care of my loved one’s estate,” then you’re asking the right Person! God is willing to help you!

Grieving in a Different World: I Want to Kill Myself

By Dianne E. Butts:

When grieving a loved one, it can be easy to hate your new circumstances and even think, My world is so different, I want to kill myself.  Here’s hope.

 

Image: Classical Sunrise by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Classical Sunrise by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In this series 10 Things I’ve Learned  About Grief” (from the book Dear AmericaI share my own story of loss and grief.  The ninth thing I learned (see the first eight here) about grief is this:

 #9: Your whole world is different, but that doesn’t mean you will be sad forever. 

We talked in Grief Lesson #8 about how grief can seem to go on forever. I mentioned that many people grieve for a full two years. I wish to clarify what I mean. I know a woman who lost her husband two and a half years ago. Recently I overheard her talking with a friend and she said that people tell her it will get better but she still misses him and she doesn’t expect it will ever get better.

I felt guilty thinking perhaps I was one of those people telling her it would get better.

The other woman said she had lost her husband over a decade ago, she still misses him terribly, and then she told my friend she was right: she will never get over it and it will never get better.

How sad!

When I say grief last for two years, I’m not saying at the end of two years you won’t grieve anymore or feel pain or miss your loved one! Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? Or done something else physically painful? With the kind of pain that takes your breath away? At least for a little while, you can’t speak. You can’t express anything but the pain. You can’t move, except to hold whatever hurts and hang on. We learn that if you hang in there, you’ll get your breath back. That’s what I’m talking about.

I’m not saying the pain goes away. I’m not suggesting you won’t miss him or her anymore. Your life has changed and it will never be the same again. But the pain will ease gradually, and after two years you should be able to breathe again. You should be functioning again. If you’re not, you need to seek out help.

Your grief will not last forever. After the death of her husband, I once heard a woman ask her friend, “Will I ever laugh again?”

Her friend wisely and immediately answered, “Yes. YES!

This article “Living Through Grief” on CBN.com has some helpful information about the steps of grief that we normally experience. It also lists three steps to recovery: Grieve, Believe, and Receive. The article offers “Scriptures that can bring hope, strength and peace” and tips for “Helping Others Through Grief.”

Don’t let thoughts linger in your mind that make you think terrible thoughts like I want to kill myself. Don’t give up. Hang in there. It does get easier.

Video: Listen to this beautiful, hope-filled song performed by Lynda Randle: “I’m Free.”

May you find freedom from your grief.

Read other articles on this site by Dianne E. Butts HERE.