The Road to Healing Begins with Normalizing Grief

Sadly, one of the most common things I’ve been told as I’ve walked this grief journey is this: “No one wants to hear about my loss, or how I feel anymore. No one wants to talk about grief.” Every time I hear this my heart breaks. Unfortunately, I understand all too well as there have been many times I’ve been made to feel the same way. How are our hearts supposed to heal if we are made to feel there is something wrong with us because we are “still grieving?” I believe the road to healing begins with normalizing grief.

There is no shortcut you can take when you find yourself here, and our time on the grief journey varies with each one of us. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and more importantly, there is no way to avoid this journey either. Instead of being made to feel guilty for how we are feeling, we should feel a freedom to talk about our loved ones and our loss.

This week I met a lovely young woman who bought multiple copies of my book, Beautifully Broken Finding Hope During Loss. She told me two different friends had each lost a child. One a 14-year-old and another only 12 years old. My heart broke for those mamas. I know what they are going through and the road they are embarking on. Child loss is an out of order death. There is not timeframe for grief. Mamas who lose their babies will grieve them forever.

The sweetest part of my conversation with this beautiful young woman was when she asked me, “How can I best help support my friends? What should I say, or not say?” The simple fact that she asked and sincerely wanted to know touched my heart so very much. I shared with her a few suggestions which included:

• Don’t be afraid to say the child’s name.
• Just be there. Sometimes there are no words, but simply sitting with your friend in her grief so she doesn’t feel so alone makes all the difference.
• Share a story you remember about the child.
• Send a note or a card that simply let’s her know you are thinking of her, praying for her, loving her.
• Make a note on your calendar and reach out on those especially hard days – birthdays and angelversaries.

Our conversation then drew in another person, as we began talking about how we truly need to begin normalizing grief.  We should talk about grief and death, just as we talk about life. Why can’t we become comfortable talking about when a loved one dies?  Grief is normal. Each one of us will walk this journey one day.

Talking about grief and some of the myriad of emotions we experience can help us realize what we are going through is indeed, normal.

Did you know that grief is so much like fear and anxiety? Unfortunately, no one tells you that when your loved one dies. Everyone is so busy trying to get on with life and get back to normal. Your normal has forever changed and your normal now includes grief. So, today if you find yourself feeling fearful and full of anxiety, take comfort in knowing this is very common and normal when walking the grief journey.

Grief can be extremely isolating and lonely. No one tells you that either. Please seek professional help if this becomes something more than you can handle on your own. Talk to someone about it – a trusted friend or family member, a doctor, your pastor, a therapist. Just don’t keep it all bottled up inside of you.

Remember, grief is grief and loss is loss. We must stop judging based on how a person died.

Be there for the person who lost their child to death by overdose or suicide in the very same way you would support someone who lost their loved one to cancer, heart attack or an accident.

Let us begin to talk about grief and not in whispers. Today, help someone begin healing their broken heart. And for all of you who are walking the grief journey just like me, I SEE YOU!

Published by pat

Mom. Wife. Honey. Jesus-Girl. Love to travel, cook, make beautiful things grow and spend time with family & friends.

8 thoughts on “The Road to Healing Begins with Normalizing Grief

  1. One of my friends has started dating someone who lost his wife of 20+ years earlier this year. My friend has been very impatient for him to “move on” and devote all of his brain space to her. So I’ve shared a few select posts of yours, including this one. They have absolutely made her more aware of the grief journey and more compassionate with her new “friend”. So also on her behalf, thank you.

    1. Leslie, thank you for sharing with your friend. It’s a road most are unfamiliar with unless they find themselves on it. 💜

  2. Pat, I read this blog immediately after listening to Burst of Hope podcast. I enjoyed both so much😊. May God bless you in this ministry. I look forward to opportunities to spend more time with you.

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