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4c63cba276044235894f4fea34fd0135_2[1]An empty chocolate heart box. This is what my heart felt like when my husband died. Empty! What did I fill it back up with? Why do I grieve and feel such pain?

John 16:20 “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

We may feel like our grief will never turn to joy, but Jesus makes this promise to us.

There was a time in my early months of grief that I went into denial. Even though I was a Christian and had faith that God was with me, some of my behaviors were not showing that I trusted God with my grief. Two months into widowhood, I was on a trip with my 2 daughters in California. I told my friend Lynette that God was taking away the pain. I said this while I was having my 3rd or 4th margarita. (After the 2nd one, I lost count!) She told me the pain would come once I returned home. I didn’t believe her at the time. But after months of drinking and trying to numb the pain my way, there came a point where drinking no longer worked. The pain would always come back and not to even mention the consequences!

There comes a time where filling the void ourselves doesn’t work anymore.

What are some behaviors you’ve been known to do to fill your void in grief?

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boredomI always thought that grief was only for death. When I became a widow, I learned grief wasn’t only about losing a loved one but a result from any major life change. Besides death, there’s….divorce… job change… marriage… baby…. moving…. illness…. losing a pet… natural disasters and retirement! When we realize we’re in grief, it’s easier to understand and cope.

  •  Divorce has different circumstances, but also a huge loss. The spouse is gone and the children may be gone or have to be scheduled in for visitation. Holiday traditions are changed and family get-togethers will be different.
  • Job Change is difficult especially if it entails moving. When changing jobs, you’re leaving your previous coworkers, and that can be sad. It’s not always easy making new friends in a new job while learning new responsibilities.
  • Marriage can cause you grief. Even though it’s a happy occasion you still may grieve the single life…the life you had with full autonomy! But you can’t have both! Just know that grieving can be normal as a newlywed.
  • Babies cause multiple grief issues. The new responsibility of raising a child is the realization that it’s no longer all about YOU. It’s about a dependent baby and loss of sleep! Perhaps this is where post-partum blues come from!
  • Moving can have either a positive or negative reason, but either way there are multiple grief issues. You’re uprooted from a community of friends, schools, jobs, churches, etc. We can be pulled away from dear loved ones.
  • Illness brings on grief in varying degrees. During a temporary illness, we grieve over things we may not be able to do while we’re sick. If it’s a chronic or terminal illness, we’ll have to grieve the healthier life we once had.
  • Pets cause us grief when they die. For some people, pets take the place of their children. Even though we realize that pets have a much shorter life span, it doesn’t make it any easier when they pass.
  • Natural Disasters such as tornados, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes are usually sudden and unexpected. The severity will depend on how much grief you will experience. It could be minimal loss or it could be devastating loss.
  • Retirement brings grief. It’s a time for realizing that we’re getting older and life will never be the same. A lifetime job may be over, kids are grown and moved out, and health may not be good. We grieve for our younger years.

The list goes on, but I’ve touched on some of the major ones. My hope and purpose for writing this post is that people can recognize grief in their life and know that it’s normal. I think of the newly married bride that is feeling a little down and sad. She may be thinking, “Why am I so sad? This should be a happy change in my life!” She’s grieving for the single life she’ll no longer be a part of. And that’s OK!

If you’d like to contribute to an upcoming post on grief in YOUR life, please reply and send me an e-mail at: cindyspursuits@yahoo.com  I’d like to educate others on the various reasons we go through grief. It can be on death of a loved one or on one of the topics I mentioned above. I’ll have a few questions to ask you in an interview format. Thank you!

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This was published for the Grief ToolBox

http://thegrieftoolbox.com/article/top-10-lessons-i-learned-grief

#10  I didn’t care what anyone thought about how I grieved:
Grief made me go crazy for a while. I was selfish and self-centered. Thankfully, my family and friends supported me through and took care of my children until I came to my senses.

#9  I prayed:

I soon realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed God’s help. (Sounds like a 12 step program!)In my prayers, I not only talked to God, but I learned how to listen to Him and heed His advice.

#8 I had to rethink my priorities:

Grief taught me what was most important in my life. God became my number one priority. I then treasured my family and relationships that I still had here. My two daughters were my main concern.

#7 Time doesn’t heal all wounds:

It’s not about time. There are people who are still living in grief 17 yrs. later. Unless you do the grief work, with God’s help, you’ll continue to grieve. God is our healer who helps to heal our wounds.

#6  My loved one was only part of my life, not my whole life:

Traveling to visit family and friends brought me my first moments of joy. Many I knew before I even knew my loved one. I realized there was a lot more to my life than just my married life.

#5  Joy and pain coexist:

As I found myself feeling more joyful, a special day would bring back the pain. A birthday, a holiday, an anniversary day, my daughters’ dance recitals, my daughters’ graduations. It’s OK. The pain makes me remember the beautiful memories.

#4  God uses suffering for good to help us grow:

God has used me as a witness to bring others to Christ through my grief.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

#3  Life is temporary here:

Some day, I will lose another loved one. I will grieve again. But I have faith that my eternal home will be in Heaven. It will be a permanent place to reunite with my loved ones that have gone before.

#2  God is in control:

I’ve surrendered my life over. God’s in control of everything anyway. There’s no “What ifs…?” My life and everyone else’s life is in His hands. I trust He knows best. He’ll always have the last word!

And the #1 lesson I’ve learned from grief is:

# 1  It’s time to serve others and pass on the comfort that I received:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

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