What to do if you find yourself alone behind enemy lines.
How to stay alive and get out.
That is much how I feel about grief.
It is survival, especially at the first heartbreaking blow.
You do feel all alone, no matter how many others are around you.
And the only way out, or to healing, is to press through.
Recently, I once again shared with a grieving family my survival tips.
I don't think I have shared them on here before so here they are:
- B-R-E-A-T-H-E I found that it hurt to breathe at times or that I would almost forget to breathe deeply at times. For the children's sake, I knew I had to keep breathing. There were times that I felt I had so much to do and it overwhelmed me. I would tell myself, "All I got to do is breathe."
- Run and cling to JESUS. This wasn't always easy, the pain was so great. But just like a parent responds to a newborn's cry, our loving Lord responds to our deep groanings. Many times I cried out for the LORD to just hold me up. He did. I would curl up in a chair and ask the Great Comforter to hold me all night. He has been faithful.
- People told me to take it one day at a time. Are you kidding me?! A day is full of minutes, 1440 minutes to be exact, and each minute can be agonizing. So I made my own saying, "One moment at a time, one breath at a time, one prayer at a time." And I told myself this often.
- I asked the LORD to give me, from scripture an answer I could give the children when they asked why. Again He was faithful.
- The LORD also showed me how helpful it was to the children to have journals to draw in. It really helped me to understand what was going on inside them.
- He also showed me that it was comforting to them and to me, to have me read books to them. So we read tons of books.
- I clung to promises from the LORD and shared many with the boys. For over half a year, I read the Psalms. And I was given promise after promise to help me, comfort me, give me hope, and help me feel understood.
- I made us go to church. I will admit. It was a battle some days. But once we got there, I felt strengthened. Even when we had bad days and I was in the nursery more than I was in the church services, we kept going.
- I journaled. To me, writing helps me sort out the tangled twine of emotions and thoughts. God knows me and He knows I needed to cry and write, write and cry. These two things were essential to my personal healing. When I didn't journal or cry for awhile, when I stuffed it all down inside, it would make me easily angered or upset or almost paralyze my thinking. Writing would unbury those feelings.
- We filled the house with music. We played it all night and left music playing while we were gone. It filled the emptiness with something soothing.
These three basic survival tips helped me through those first hours and days and even weeks after my husband died. Then as a grieving parent with children who were grieving, I learned more survival tips: