From January 2011 to March 2014, three people who were very near and dear to my heart have passed away – my dad, my grandma and my grandpa. As I am preparing to preach at my grandpa’s funeral, I find myself in this place where I’m not sure how I’m processing loss – if I’m doing it in a healthy or a destructive way. So, the only logical thing to do is to blog about it.
I’ve been told and have often told others that I pray that they “grieve well.” So, here are 5 signs you’re not grieving well:
- You aren’t allowing yourself to be mad. This is the biggest mistake that I see people making. They feel like they shouldn’t be mad. Especially as Christians. We often think that if we aren’t joyful, then we don’t have faith or we don’t trust Jesus enough. But the reality is that someone we loved just died. The trouble with anger only comes when we stay there too long. So, feel mad, it’s ok. But only stay there a few days and then move on…
- You aren’t allowing others inside. When we’re hurting, it seems easier to just be alone and to not talk about what we’re feeling. I’m guilty of this one for sure. My tears only come when others aren’t around. My conversations happen only with myself. But, we need others because there are some things that only they can do for us – hug us, pray for us, shoulder our burdens with us. And, when we talk about the things we’re feeling, it makes those feelings feel not so heavy.
- You aren’t taking time for you. We hurry back to work. We search for some level of normalcy. We go back to our daily duties and we turn our back on going through the grieving process. It’s important that we take the time to grieve or else we will end up taking out those bottled-up feelings on those that we love – our spouses, our children, our co-workers, etc.
- You aren’t letting this change you. I don’t “do life” perfectly. There are areas that I can always improve in. When we lose someone we love, there are often things that we learn by looking back at their life. Part of the grieving process should include telling those you’re closest to that you love them. Or, beginning a new habit or putting an end to a bad one. My grandpa has left a great legacy of Christ-followers in my family and I am using this time of mourning to re-focus my life on my legacy.
- You aren’t moving forward. This is the most painful one to write right now. With the loss I’m experiencing right now, I want to yell “How can you expect me to move on!!” We fool ourselves into thinking that if we move on, we are somehow dishonoring the person who has passed. But, if you’ve taken the time to grieve and you’ve avoided the first four things above, then moving on is what that person would want you to do too. It’s not about forgetting. It’s not that you don’t think about this person often. What I’m saying here is that there has to be a point where we’re done grieving and we are able to live our lives without the shadow of that grief.
I’m sure there are many more. And, I’m writing this more for me than you, probably. But, what would you add? Have you been guilty of any of these? Do you “grieve well”?