Take a Break from it!
During the days following the OKC bombing in 1995, a very helpful announcement was made by the Department of Mental Health. This request probably saved lives and prevented additional heartaches and conflicts. It was the same message for children and adults. What was this timely and valuable informaton?
"Turn off the TV news, spend time watching a comedy or cartoons. Take a break from the constant coverage of the painful events."
Waves of emotions
I love to walk along a beach early in the morning. There is something special about watching the sunrise over the water while searching for the beautiful shells that washed up overnight.
There is a description of grief that comes to mind when I think of the ocean. Picture this in your mind: Wade into the ocean until the water is a little more than waist deep; turn and face the beach; get your feet settled into the sand until you are stabilized; now close your eyes.
HUG a little longer on purpose
"A HUG can indicate support, comfort and consolation, particularly where words are insufficient. A HUG usually demonstrates affection and emotional warmth, sometimes arising from joy or happiness when reunited with someone or seeing someone absent after a long time." (Wikipedia)
You can HUG a neck, or you can HUG a body. Most HUGS are for a moment, then pulling away to talk.
From filing system to piling system
Grief can take us from a 'filing' system to a 'piling' system. Many change from being a very organized, punctual, and confident person to a very un-organized, always late, person who doubts everything. That is grief!
A loss can upset normal routines and lifestyles. It is common to lose interests and desires with things that were once very important. The focus on details in life can change to the point that entire days and events can be overlooked.
A friend has asked for suggestions to observe the death anniversary of a loved one. We have two choices. We can try to ignore it and get slammed with reality . . . or we can make plans to observe the occasion. Of course, it is healthier to take the initiative and make plans. Here are some suggestions, and of course, you are welcome to share what works best for you.
Grief is NOT One Size Fits All
I saw this recently; 8+1=9, so does 6+3=9, but so does 5+4=9. So, the way you do things is not always the only way to do them. The same result can be reached with different approaches. In a journey, there can be several paths that end at the same destination.
How can this apply to grief and loss?
A place to go
Walking through cemeteries has always been an interest of mine. It seems the inscriptions on gravestones speak of faith, family or country. Modern technology is allowing for beautiful inscriptions and artwork that honors the life of loved ones.
Recently I noticed a marker that included a bench. It was special to have a place to sit while remembering a loved one. It is always helpful to speak words of mourning at a gravesite.
Another friend has a park bench dedicated to the memory of her brother. I can only imagine the heartfelt emotions and memories that are expressed from that bench.
Life should be lived in pencil - it changes
Many of us are guilty of making plans and trying to "engrave" them into the future. Circumstances can change everything in a moment. Flexiblity is a personal trait that describes the extent to which a person can cope with changes. This is the type of person who does not panic when things do not go according to their plan.
Signs of a supportive relationship
We each have a circle of friends that provide times of fun and enjoyment. But those same friends may not feel comfortable being around grief. They may not know what to say or do to support you at a time of loss. During our grief journey we need supportive relationships. How do we recognize them?
Change of Scenery
I am aware that the stress and anxiety of grief can make it feel as though the walls are closing in around you. It may be a smothering feeling, even difficult to catch your breath.
These are signs that you need a break. Even a small change of scenery can help open up the lungs and mind. It is my belief that grievers must "come apart before they fall apart".
Where do you go to be refreshed? Do you have a favorite location that settles your heart and mind? This is a great opportunity to share what works for you. It very well could be your idea that helps others.
A "mini-vacation" does not need to cost anything, but it can provide valuable time to release the stress that steals peace. Where do you go? What activity do you enjoy that allows you to gather your thoughts and unload stress?
Some people must leave their home to find such a peaceful place of renewal. Others can spend time at home to replace the balance that gets shaken.
Your input is important. If you have discovered a way to lower stress along the grief journey, please share it with other readers. It can be another way for us to support each other.
Bob Willis, author
"A Guide for Grievers"
"JESUS: The CRUCIFIED CAREGIVER"