Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No Timetable For Grief

Rick Warren, author of the book, The Purpose Driven Life, and his wife, Kay, pastor Saddleback Church in California.  They tragically lost their son to suicide in April 2013, and they have struggled with grief since then.  Many have asked them, as people tend to do because they're human, when Rick and Kay will be back to normal, but the truth is that there is no such thing.  Their experience, as is the case with just about anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, is their new normal.  You just don't "get over" something like this.

I have personal experience with this.  As I've mentioned here on this blog numerous times, I lost my wife suddenly to a heart attack in April 2004.  I kept thinking that I had to "get over" her death, but all that did was cause me to fall deeper and deeper into depression.  It wasn't until after I had received a letter from a young lady who I knew from my days as a youth counselor, who had lost her husband in a tragic car accident about a year and a half before my wife's death, that I began the slow road to recovery.  She told me in the letter that I needed to embrace my wife's death as a part of who I am now.  As tragic as it was to no longer have her in my life, and knowing that she was in a far better place with God, this was something I needed to accept as a part of who I am, a part of my life experience.  This wasn't something I would eventually "get over".  She was correct.  It was shortly after I realized this was a part of me and that there was no timetable to recovery that I began to experience healing.  While this doesn't define who I am, it is certainly a part of who I am.

A friend posted a link to the following blog post from Christa Black Gifford, an author, speaker, songwriter, and musician, who shared Kay Warren's story of struggling with her son's death, and how hard it was to hear from others who expected her to "get over" it.  She explains how hard this was to hear, and how much she struggled as a result.  Here is the LINK.  It's a good read.

I continue to struggle now and then, and it has now been over ten years since my wife's death.  There are some who grief for a short time.  For others, it may take much longer.  The truth is that there is no timetable.  If you're trying to comfort someone who has lost a loved one, please remember that they will not "get over" it.  This is their new normal, and all they want to hear from you is that you're there for them.  Don't ask them how they feel, or when are they going to feel better.  They may not reply very well, and they may even resent you for asking.  Just provide them with the love and support they need, as a brother or sister in Christ, and pray for them.  They will appreciate it.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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