By Dianne E. Butts:
Grief from Reminders of Deceased Loved Ones: Lesson 5 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.
It’s a main thoroughfare through where my Mom has lived for more than thirty years and so I’ve had to drive it often. But for years after the drunk-driver-caused crash that killed my brother, I couldn’t drive past that spot without noticing the big chunk missing out of the curb where his motorcycle ended up.
Sudden reminders of someone we loved who died can hit us when we least expect it, and these sudden depressing reminders can bring suicidal thoughts to our minds. Do you have reminders of your loved one’s death that make you think about suicide?
Here’s the fifth thing I’ve learned about grief. (See our other lessons in the category: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.)
#5: Once you think you’re doing better and begin venturing out into the world again, your grief will hit you when you least expect it. Driving past a familiar scene, hearing a church bell ring, the smell of grapefruit in the produce department—something special to you can suddenly remind you of your loved one and the intensity of grief can overwhelm you.
When this happens, you need to know this is a “normal” part of the grieving process. You might well up with tears. Try not to be embarrassed. The truth is, those around you will most likely understand—probably more than you’ll know (because they’ve been through it themselves).
Sometimes, when suicidal thought keep trying to push their way into a person’s mind, that person can see these reminders of their loved ones as a “sign” calling out to them. But they are not calling to you to commit suicide or join your loved one in death. These are reminders of the love you felt between you and the person you lost.
Sometimes we can make things seem the way we want them to seem—whether consciously or unconsciously. That can happen even when we talk to God. I once wrote an article about praying specifically in order to see answers to our prayers, but I also included some “Pitfalls to Praying Specifically.” When we desperately want to hear from God, we can not only make ourselves believe we heard from Him, we can also make ourselves believe we got the answer we wanted. Some of the pitfalls to praying specifically are “Manipulating His Answers,” “Not Accepting His Answer,” or “Not Asking Because We Fear His Answer.” If we want to hear from God, we need to let Him answer and not “put words in His mouth” so to speak.
That article also includes some ideas to avoid prayer pitfalls, including keeping a prayer journal.
If you’re looking for a sign or want to hear from God, be careful that you’re really getting the message He wants to give you. And don’t let reminders of your loved one’s death make you think about suicide.
Video: Here is a wonderful song about Jesus’ death, breaking through darkness, and the fact that death and hell will never reign again. “Love was in the Room” by Booth Brothers.