Tuesday, November 26, 2019

People Are Scared of Your Grief

It's strange, I used to think it was a blessing if someone can be open and honest enough to talk about their struggles to a friend or loved one, but I'm finding that some people can't handle certain things. And that's ok! For example, if you're grieving like I am, and you talk about your lost loved one and still having a hard time coping from time to time, people tend to get scared of the intensity of your grief. It's totally understandable too. I remember when my mother was still alive, and a friend of mine had lost her mom. It was like my mind couldn't absorb the impact of what my friend was going through. I didn't know how to approach her, or how to even comfort her. I thought that maybe she needed some time alone to deal with her incredible loss. I mean, what could I have possibly done in order to help someone with the worst grief imaginable? Part of me was scared---scared of losing my own mother, and scared of facing the reality of what can happen at any day, at any hour. Sometimes death can bring out the fear of our own mortality. So now that I've lost my own beautiful mother, I'm ok writing about it, but to have it interfere with my social life, like going through a depressive phase, (because let's face it --- grief comes in waves,) or having a little bit of a mental health crisis --- that can have people fleeing the scene of your "scary grief." I'm generally a happy person who loves life, but there are times, especially these days when I'm adjusting to a new home and a new life, where I find myself disoriented from it all. I'm glad that my grief comes in waves, where it lets in the happiness of my true authentic self. Most of the time, I love joking around with everyone and laughing. I'm not a very "intense & heavy" person to be around. I love light-hearted and uncomplicated interactions. I love to enjoy my friends and have some laughs. Life's too short. But on those days when I'm sad, I have to pull away, because I don't want it to infect others who are going through a 'happy wave.' I think it's safe to say that we all have our good and bad days. We just need to know how to navigate it in the beginning, especially when the waves come more frequently than not.

A couple of weeks ago, I was praying for God to remove the intensity of my grief. I was asking Him to take this anxiety and sadness away.

And when I opened up the Bible, I turned to this passage:

"Don't be afraid, for you are deeply loved by God. Be at peace; take heart and be strong!" --Daniel 10:19

It's ok to be afraid of someone else's grief. That's our own natural defense mechanism of how some of us cope. There's no wrong or right way to cope either. But if you are going through some sort of grief, like a loss of a parent, sibling or child, then expect your friends and loved ones to be a little distant. It's not that they don't want to be around you, it's because they may be afraid to feel what you're feeling, especially if they love you...especially if they're scared of losing their own loved ones. It's like watching a movie where someone is dying of cancer, and in the end, we're all sitting around the sofa passing the Kleenex. Life can be brutal sometimes, so when you feel like you're all alone in your grief, give it time, talk to God and know that this too, shall pass. And when the fog of grief seems to lessen, then the presence of your friends and loved ones will be more visible. Don't take offense to it---it's just how life works.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

For the Brokenhearted & Crushed in Spirit

Is everything ok? And of course, the answer is, "I'm fine." All of us walk around with so much emotional baggage, no matter who you are and what you've been through. If I said to you right now---think of something that breaks your heart. You're either already thinking about it, or have the mental archived file pretty handy. We've all been hurt, we've all lost someone, either through death or by breakup, and if you dig deep enough, you can still feel that initial pain. There's definitely healing with time, but time does not take away the heartbreak. God heals all wounds, but it's in our weaknesses that He is strong for us. Like being afraid to do something---it's not trying to get rid of the fear in order to do something that you're afraid of, it's having the courage to do it in fear. That's what being strong is all about.  Courage is to face something that absolutely terrifies you. God doesn't take the fear away, he gives you the strength and courage to face what you're dealing with. That mountain becomes smaller and smaller, but it's still there nonetheless. It never goes away, it just becomes smaller.

Grief 

Grief can be a scary thing to go through, especially if you're in it alone. And what I mean by that is, either you are alone physically, or you have people around you who truly do not understand what grief is like because they either haven't lost anyone of importance as of yet, or they simply just tucked away their emotions for a later date---and there will be a later date. It eventually comes out in some form or another. Holidays can become sketchy for some. Many develop new traditions, while others still go on with same traditions, mourning the loss while staring at the empty chair that was once filled.

Self-Medicating

We all try to soothe our souls by delving into something to distract us, whether it's good or bad for us. Some will find solace in a bottle, while others will find their comfort in food. Some turn to drugs, while others turn to exercise and healthy eating, to avoid whatever their loved one suffered with. Many turn to prayer and meditation for their peace of mind, while others start pushing away God, because they no longer believe that God would make them suffer this way. Some have meaningless affairs, ruining their own family unit, while others start reconciling with their family, holding onto family traditions and even making new ones. Some become bitter, developing negative thought patterns, while others become more positive, seeing the blessings in what was and what's to be. They see the bigger picture as having to be blessed by their past experiences. And while there seems to be "bad" and "good" ways to cope, none are to be judged. We're all human and handle things differently.

Unsolicited Advice 

Give people a break when they say something that's not in the handbook of "how to handle a person going through grief." There are so many people who have developed this intolerance of how other people respond to their tragic experience. "Oh, there's a reason for everything," or "He/she is in a better place now," and "Time heals all wounds." The person mourning will either blast them with their distaste or badmouth them at a later time about their 'crappy cliched advice.' But the thing is---they are truly trying to comfort you. Maybe it's a huge cliche----but they're doing their best and they mean well. Give people a break when they try to reach out to you. Their advice may not be the best advice, but they're reaching out trying to make you feel better. You gotta give them credit for that. And hey---it just may be their belief that they're in a better place and that everything happens for a reason. So what! Ever since social media has taken on 'real life'---everyone has rules now. Even if you say "thoughts and prayers" ---that has now become the big faux pas of condolences. It's redundant and overused. So what! They're simply telling you that you are IN their thoughts and IN their prayers. Who cares! Take it for what it is and be grateful.

The Essentials Needed For a Broken Heart

This is my own personal advice. For myself, I tend to think outside the box. I don't send flowers, because let's face it, those flowers will remind you of your lost loved one. When I had to take flowers and plants from people who were at my parents' funeral, it was appreciated, but every single time I looked over at the beautiful flowers and plants, my heart hurt. So what I do for other people is cook a pan of their favorite meal. If they're up to it, maybe even stay with them, and sit with them in silence if need be. If they feel like talking, I just listen. They can cry, scream, vent, or grab a hug from me. Sometimes no words need to be spoken. Run some errands for them, cook for them, make them coffee and tea---just nurture that person. Let them know without words how important their broken heart is by just being present. Flowers die. Food provides comfort and nourishment. Giving them your time and energy lets them know that there is still love in this world. It gives them hope. I'm grateful for my sister-in-law who stayed with us when my mom died. She brightened up our home with her humor, made some amazing dishes for us, and just comforted us by her mere presence. I'll take that over flowers any given day. (Thank you, Bernadette.)

It's hard not to lose hope while suffering such a huge loss in your life. But keep in mind, that God created your loved one, God has always been inside of them---inside of His creation, so all is not lost. The best comfort is going to God with all of your emotional needs. Talk to Him as if He was in the room with you listening, because He is...He is in your heart listening. Every single thought is known, every single word has been captured before it was even said.

Jesus said, "There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly."---John 14:2

"God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted." --Matthew 5:4

"He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds." ---Psalm 147:3

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."---Psalm 34:18

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

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