“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted… Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”
“At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”
— C.S. Lewis, opening paragraphs of A Grief Observed
Winter is often a time when we grieve. If you have lost a loved one recently, the grief is acute. But all of us carry grief with us and the long, gray days of winter can bring it out. As I meet with people, I hear how much loss we each bear. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom that help me in my own “dark times” of grief, that might help you.
- Pray, pray, pray. God understands and heals the broken heart. His own heart has been broken and in love, he comes to us in our pain. Bring your grief to the Lord.
- The loss takes time to process. It runs its course. Grief comes in waves and sometimes all you can do is ride the wave, but it does diminish.
- It is OK to be happy, even if you are grieving. Laughter and joy are more fundamental that sadness and sorrow.
- Cherish the real gifts rather than the loss of what might have been. Our minds can pull us into the world of imagination and trick us into dwelling on what might have been.. This can prevent us from being grateful for the real gifts we have received.
- Turn to others for support when you need it. Spending time with others and making new memories can help us out of the darkness and loss. If you find yourself unable to cope, seek others to walk with you. Sometimes professional therapy is necessary or joining a support group (St. Rose and St. Mary’s offers a support group periodically throughout the year).
- Grief is a part of love. The risk of love will lead us into grief, but our faith tells us that love is eternal and all tears will be wiped away when we are united with one another in heaven.
As a community of disciples of Jesus, we are called to reach out to one another. If you know someone is hurting, reach out to them with a kind word and an offer of assistance. If you are hurting, turn to the Lord and to one another.
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood