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How to Deal with Grief for the Death of a Loved One

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Update: Listen as Dr, Shanna Crawford offers us much help with how to deal with grief for the death of a loved one. All of us will experience the pain of loss at some point during our lives. Perhaps you are dealing with that grief and pain today. We hope to offer some help for you as you deal with this struggle. As always, please reach out to your doctor, family, friend, or mental health counselor.

If you need to speak to someone now, please call 988.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish

Today we will be discussing the following to help you figure out how to deal with grief for the death of a loved one.

  1. How to deal with grief for the death of a loved one
  2. What is grief?
  3. Healing the grieving heart
  4. Finding the courage to grieve
  5. Dealing with Grief

What Is Grief?

  • Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis, or some other major loss in their life. 
  • The grieving person may find they carry a feeling of numbness, detachment and a sense of being removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties and obligations.
  • Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Healing the Grieving Heart

Grief is a wound that needs attention before healing can begin. To be able to work through and complete the process of grieving, a person must learn to face his/her feelings openly and honestly.  The ability to express or release those feelings fully, to tolerate and accept the hurt,  for the length of time it takes to allow healing, is the beginning of that needed process. See these 11 steps to grief recovery.

Grief recovery may be a misnomer. Many agree there is no complete recovery; that we learn acceptance and give ourselves permission to go forward. However, the grief must be dealt with properly in order to be able to return to living in a healthy manner. 

The goal is to learn to manage living with the loss without being in a state of perpetual grief. There is hope. Grief work is worth the effort. Abundant life is promised. 

Finding the Courage to Grieve

  • It takes courage to grieve.  It takes courage to allow oneself to feel the pain and to face the unfamiliarity of a life without that person. And the courage to deal with the confusion that often accompanies grief.  
  • It takes courage to grieve in a society that denies the reality of grief; a society that rather values restraint, and considers tears a form of weakness.  
  • Our current society, however, seems to be more accepting of shared feelings than that of 20 to 50 years ago. But the climate of “ok – weep and then let’s be done with it” is still prevalent.
  • Personal misconceptions about grief and the grief process keep us from developing the courage we need to face grief. We avoid getting in touch with deep feelings perhaps because it causes us to recognize our own vulnerability.
  • Having the courage to face grief leads to having the courage to return to living. Courage to risk making close relationships again without the fear of perhaps having to relive this terrible grief process. 
  • Recognizing that healthy grieving involves confronting the pain is the first step. That first step is the hardest: facing the reality of the loss.
  • The pain of losing a loved one is all encompassing. Not only is the loved one gone, but the lifestyle and the plans for the remainder of your life have been severely altered. There is pain in this loss, and we need help.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

Is. 41:10

Dealing with Grief

Grief work is extremely difficult. Deep fatigue may be the most evident presenting symptom. This; in itself, may cause delay in addressing the issue.

There have been many methods of approaching the grief recovery process and several helpful books have been written.  There are Grief Recovery groups offered by many churches and other non-profit organizations. There is probably one very near where you live. However, some may prefer seeing a private counselor to help navigate the turbulence of recovery. 

Grief counseling, rather than grief therapy, is usually the help needed, whether led by a friend who listens to your story over and over or by a counselor. The need to tell the story (life details) over and over is very strong. A good listener fills a very special position. Grief recovery goes beyond the tears and includes the re-evaluation and restructuring of one’s life.Grief recovery groups, or even one individual, can help the person begin to see a future, while accepting that this likely means a huge adjustment in one’s lifestyle and plans.

If, after several weeks, the person seems stuck in utter despair, is not sleeping, has no appetite, or seems to be making little progress, then professional Grief Therapy may be indicated. Guide the person to make the appointment. With a professional therapist.  Even the most self-sufficient person may feel completely overwhelmed and unable to make any decisions while dealing with the shock and loss.

A scripture that came to mind the day after my husband’s death was “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” II Cor. 4:8,9.  I shared this verse with my young adult children over and over as we pushed through the obligatory decisions that had to be made in the next days and weeks.

If you are trying to figure out how to deal grief for the death of a loved one, please seek out help from a local church or grief counselor. If you are depressed, please contact your medical or mental health doctor for help. If you are in trouble, please call 911 or the number below. You are not alone and there is hope for you!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

We invite you to watch the “Great News” video on this page and find out more about God’s love for you and how you can receive forgiveness and eternal life – today!

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The Prayer of Salvation

Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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