March 16, 2022 - Grief Perspectives

In a recent conversation with a close friend who called to check in with me, we talked about grief.

That conversation got me thinking about what I’m calling “Grief Perspectives.” I would like to share my thoughts with you and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts. My list consists of five that I see thus far on my journey, but please feel free to share additional ones that you see or have experienced.

Before I share my Grief Perspectives, allow me to share a few things that I have come to understand about grief. One of the most important things to realize is that there are many causes of grief. Too often we only express grief in the terms of the death of a loved one; grief also comes about as a result of relational discord, loss of work, health issues, financial difficulties, the loss of friendship, and so many other causes. I would speculate that 100% of human beings have experienced grief, and if per chance you haven’t, you’re still living and at some point in time you will experience grief.

I also think that we do not have conversational tools to discuss grief. Our tendency is to believe it is negative, or at least a negative experience. But with each passing day, on my personal grief journey, I realize that grief is a gift from God that will eventually bring about healing in a broken heart. We need to find a way to be open and willing, not only to embrace our grief, but to share our grief with others, there is healing in the process.

Another very important thing to remember is that we cannot, nor should we ever attempt to compare one person’s grief with another. Each person’s grief is as unique as they are; just as each love is as individual as the one who holds it in their heart. We’ve all heard that there are no two people alike, that there are no two snowflakes alike, and no two griefs are alike.

Finally, each one of us grieve in our own special way, it’s our grief, it’s our journey, it was our love, and no one else can tell another how they should grieve. The most important thing is that we grieve and give God the opportunity to bring healing to our hearts. If my friend or loved one is experiencing grief, as a true friend I do all I can to support them and stand with them in their grief without criticizing or minimizing the pain they are experiencing.

Briefly, here is what I see as five grief perspectives; please share your thoughts in the comments below. As you share, please know that there will be no judgment or ridicule because again, this is your journey and no one else can tell you how to walk it.

  • The first grief perspective that I list, in no numerical order of importance, the perspective of heartache and loss. The loss of love, loss of future plans, the loss of dreams and goals, the loss of companionship. This first perspective simply deals with loss, you state your loss.
  • My second grief perspective is a perspective of resentment, anger, questioning. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but part of the process of grief involves anger and can lead to resentment. For most of us questioning is a part of our grief journey, even if we know we will not get the answers in this life. This perspective is not wrong, but we cannot afford to live here.
  • The next perspective is what I call the perspective of self-pity. For me this is when I feel like I wallow in my grief. The times that I feel that I have been short changed, or that my struggle is worse than anyone else’s. Again, I think it’s a normal part of the grief journey, however as I was told many years ago, as followers of Jesus Christ we don’t have the luxury of wallowing in our self-pity. We will find ourselves in this perspective but again we have to keep moving, moving forward and processing through our negative feelings and perspectives.
  • The fourth grief perspective is of regret. The regret of things not said, the regret of things not done, and for some the pain of unresolved conflict and hurt. None of us will have a flawless life, each of us say things, or at least think things that we shouldn’t, for each of us there are things we felt we should do or should have done but never got around to doing; we cannot live under this weight of loss and regret.
  • A new perspective I’m beginning to realize and experience is of a growing peace and contentment with fresh hope for the future, even though it looks different than what I had envisioned. I’m still exploring this new phase and perspective of this journey, so I hope to share more about it at a later time. It provides a fresh hope for today and all of my tomorrows.

In the conversation with my friend and in follow up communication, one of the things that he said that really has stuck with me is that the emotions of grief are used by God to move us from our past to our present and help us transition into our future. If you find yourself reading today, regardless of your loss, please realize that God still has a future and a hope, a purpose and a plan for your life.

Many blessings and prayers for you as we make this journey together.

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