24 August 2014 by Rev Dr Steven Kau –
As Malaysians mourn the loss of those on MH 370 and particularly MH 17, I would like to share with those who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones, some things I had learned over the last few decades of my own personal journey of loss and grief and others that travel the same journey that I had been privileged to counsel and comfort.
I have learned much over the years and also made some mistakes along the way. Today, I jotted down 15 things I wish I had known about grief when I started my own journey. I pass this on to anyone who is grieving and I pray and hope these thoughts would strengthen and comfort you.
1. You will feel like the world has ended. I promise you, it hasn’t. Life will go on, slowly. A new normal will come, slowly.
2. No matter how bad a day feels, it is only a day. When you go to sleep crying, you will wake up to a new day.
3. Grief comes in waves. You might okay one hour, not okay the next. Okay one day, not okay the next, Okay one month, not okay the next. Learn to go with the flow of what your heart and mind are feeling. It is part and puzzle of the adjustment in life.
4. It is okay to cry. Do it often. But it is okay to laugh, too. Don’t feel guilty for feeling positive emotions, even when dealing with loss.
5. Take care of yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Eat healthily. Work out. Do the things you love. Remember that YOU are still living.
6. Don’t shut people out. Don’t cut yourself off from relationships. You will hurt yourself and others.
7. You need to accept the fact that no will respond perfectly to your grief. Even the people you love may let you down. Friends you thought would be there may not be there and people you hardly know may reach out to help and comfort you. Be prepared to give others grace. Be prepared to work through hurt and forgiveness at other’s reactions.
8. God will be there for you perfectly. He will never, ever let you down. He will let you scream, cry and question. Throw all your emotions at Him. It’s okay. He is near to the brokenhearted.
9. Take time to truly remember the person you lost. Write about him/her; go back to all your memories with them, truly soak in all the good times you had with that person. It will help.
10. Facing the grief is better than running away and pretending it is not true. Don’t hide from the pain. If you do, it will fester and grow and consume you.
11. You will ask “Why?” more times than you thought possible but you will never get an answer. Christians who suffer loss and pain often ask, “Why God didn’t stop it from happening?” The honest answer, “I don’t know.” What helps is asking, “How?” How can I live life more fully to honor my loved one? How can I love better, how can I embrace others; how can I change and grow because of this?
12. You will try to escape grief by getting busy, busy, busy. You will think that if you don’t think about it, it’ll just go away. You know that’s not really true. Time may or may not bring healing but God certainly does.
13. Liquor, sex, drugs, hobbies, work, relationships etc will not take away the pain. If you are using anything to try and numb the pain, it will make things worse in the long run. Seek help if you are dealing with the sorrow and pain in unhealthy ways.
14. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to need people. We all do when we hurt. It’s okay.
15. Grief can be beautiful and deep and profound. Don’t be afraid of it. Walk alongside it. You may be surprised at what grief can teach you. I pray that when the grief has run its course, you will emerge with the attitude of Job, “But He knows the way that I take, when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
If you derive some comfort and strength from reading this short article, that would be my greatest blessing. Having gone through this, I know someday, you will be a source of strength and comfort to others. We all need to be for a time such as this.
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