Abundant Life After Loss
God's timing is always perfect. It is no accident that I am writing on loss the same day a study of the book of Job came to an end. It is natural to compare one person's loss to another's. But what comes natural is typically not the right thing to do. Can you imagine the result if we were to compare our loss to Job's? We would heap the guilt of considering our relatively small loss worthy of causing us grief and pain on top of proper grief and pain. Here are a few things well meaning advisers might say that lead us to compare one loss to another.
Cheer up. It could be worse.
Look on the bright side.
You still have. . .
You think that's bad?
Miss Fortune lost. . .
Yeah, I went through the exact same situation. You will be fine.
All these do is downplay your need to grieve your loss. When loss strikes it doesn't matter if it could be worse, what's on the bright side, what Miss Fortune lost, or what the result of some one else's exact same situation was. And does anyone ever go through the exact same situation? Only if they are experiencing it with you; and even then it will impact each person differently.
So, if comparing our loss to a greater loss isn't helpful; then what is?
For the one who has suffered the loss: 1) Express your loss to someone you trust - if they go down comparison road find someone else. Do not minimize or deny the loss and keep it bottled up inside. 2) Keep living - don't make the loss greater by letting it negatively impact your future. 3) Stay in contact with positive people who will allow you to work through the grief.
After the first of several job losses I attempted to jump over the grief and go straight to the better life on the other side. What a huge mistake! My attempt to instantly make life better resulted in disaster. In addition to that, I only delayed the grieving process. Ten years later I acknowledged and grieved the loss and only then could I move on from it. After being bottled up for ten years it was one ugly mess to deal with; far worse than if I'd dealt with it immediately.
For those in support roles: 1) Listen more, talk less. 2) Be prepared to be inconvenienced - the dam of emotions may break in the middle of the night. That's when they will need you most. Give them permission to - No - make them promise to contact you anytime day or night when their flood of grief rushes in. 3) Follow up and be there for the long haul. No one gets through loss overnight.
Easy as 1, 2, 3? Not at all! Every situation has it's own nuances which must be taken into consideration. Some people may need a friendly kick in the behind. Others may require hospitalization, medication, and counseling. I needed both and more.
What everyone needs is genuine love, compassion, and care. The ultimate source of this is Jesus. It is our duty and privilege to share with others the love, compassion, and care He has lavished on us.