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Grief

Introduction

Loss of anything can be difficult but some things like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or severe physical or mental illness can lead to a grief which if not understood and worked through can shatter us to the core of our beings. 

The following content all comes from a very personal place, shared and written by Heather and Guy Miller. The aim of sharing this is to give you somewhere to start, whether you are personally grieving, or helping someone who is. 

This downloadable pdf takes everything a little deeper and goes into a bit more detail. 

How do loss and grief overlap? 

The loss of something or someone precious is one of the hardest things that besets us as human beings. The more precious the thing we have lost, the more grief we will experience if it is taken away.

I (Heather) remember the day a few months before I was due to get married.  Guy and I were excitedly decorating the home we would soon share when there was a knock on the door and my father came in to tell me that my Mum had just suddenly died. Only a few hours previously I had had lunch with her, never dreaming my life was to dramatically change forever just a short time later.

What follows are some of the questions I found myself asking. I hope that some of my conclusions and reflections will be helpful to you.

What do I do with the feelings?

No two people grieve the same way but there has to come a time when you face up to the awful reality and ‘feel your feelings’. 

The Bible does not shy away from suffering, grief or death. There is a whole book dedicated to calling out to God in times of grief, called Lamentations. It’s important that you do not add to your burden by thinking you have to hide or ignore your feelings.

 

How can I feel better? 

“If we aren’t offering our pain to God, we have an enemy who would love to turn it toxic and use it for his purposes…. Don’t swallow pain, spit it out… Lament in God’s direction” (SG Brown)

Jesus understands our suffering and promises to be with us in it. He can cope with our questions, tears, sadness and loss. This is not the time to fake it, but honestly come before him. The book of Psalms, in the Bible, are a brilliant example for us as they beautifully help us to express our sorrow. Through reading and praying the Psalms, we discover that many have walked this path of sorrow before us and their honesty allows us the same freedom.

As well as sharing your feelings with God, it’s often worth sharing your grief with someone who cares for you. I have found that the best kind of person is someone who is quietly there for you, not pushing in, or demanding but supportive and practical.

They will be someone who can help you express your grief, will not be embarrassed if you have a cry and will pray for you or just sit with you no matter what.

Also I’d suggest two more things:

  • Your memories are precious, when you feel able to it is good to look back and be thankful.
  • Be kind to yourself – Rest, healthy food, self-care and enjoying the small things are good for you.

How long will it take? 

Grief cannot be rushed, everyone processes it differently. To some the shock means a temporary paralysis, others are shaken by overwhelming weeping, a close relative of mine who lost her spouse said she felt cold all the time, couldn’t sleep and felt numb. 

“Grief is like standing on the edge of the ocean. Some days the water laps around your feet; you know it’s there, it’s manageable. Other days from nowhere, it blasts in like a tsunami and knocks you right over. They say it takes years to even feel normal again” (Cathy Hopkins in the novel ‘The kicking the bucket list’)

My experience is that the deeper the loss, the longer time it takes and yes in a way there is healing but there is also a lifelong scar which will always feel tender when pressed. Turning these thoughts to gratitude for what you had also takes time.

Psalm 40:1 says “I waited patiently for the Lord” God will bring healing and restoration in His time.

Where does hope come from? 

What is the hope for those who suffer in this present world, but trust in God for a better future? What does the Bible say about this? Much in every way, but we want to focus on just one Bible passage in Revelation 21 and state four major truths:

  1. Heaven and earth come together in glorious newness (21:1) Earth is joined with heaven and there is no longer any separation between man and God, and all that is uncertain and evil (sea) passes away.
  2. Mankind lives on the earth with physically perfect bodies in the presence of God eternally. (21:3)
  3. Every piece of suffering and death will find its full and final satisfaction in God and he will lovingly wipe every tear from our eyes. (21:4)
  4. God promises that in the new heavens and the new earth there will be no more pain, suffering or death. (21:4)

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