I awoke this morning with a heavy heart. Ten days ago, my mother was buried. She had lived almost 91 years and died peacefully in her sleep. There was so much love shared by all of those who knew her: her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, extended family members and friends. We had a true celebration of her life and her funeral services were filled with laughter and tears, sadness and hope.
Nonetheless, I had a heavy heart this morning. The reality of her not being here is settling in more each day. What that means is that I am allowing myself to be still and comfortable with my feelings. As someone who counsels others through times of grief and sadness, I need to follow my own advice.
So! First, I reached out to my siblings through a text message. I got a loving response from my brother who encouraged me in my grieving process. I talked to God about my sadness and surrendered my sense of helplessness to Him. As I prayed, I was then led to sing hymns of praise. This was helpful to me. Then I decided to write.
As a clinician and Biblical Life Coach, it is important to me that I “walk my talk”. I do not want to be bound by social mores that prohibit honest acknowledgment of one’s sadness. There are often cultural views that shun the displaying of our true feelings to each other out of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of isolation. Fear of ridicule. “It’s time you move on from that.” “Where is your faith?” “You are being morbid. Move on!”
Here is what I recommend that one can do during a time of grief and loss: Admit to yourself that you are sad. Do not try to camouflage it with busy-ness, and care-taking of others but not yourself. Access your spiritual beliefs. As a Christian, I believe in the promise of a new earth and a new heaven where there will be no more death, nor suffering nor pain. I act from those beliefs. Finally, do not hesitate to talk with someone, a spiritual counselor, a mental health professional and most ideally, with family. The loss of a loved one can sometimes be the “elephant in the room” that family members tip-toe around as if nothing has changed. Be honest, caring, and courageous with each other.
As a Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) clinician, I approach my clients with the notion of a preferred future and a hope. This approach also fits my understanding of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (NKJV) With this thought in mind, I find relief from my sadness and can look forward to that future with my mother in it.