Facing Grief FAQ
1. What is normal grief?
Normal grief can feel like a roller coaster having many ups and downs. While grieving you might experience disturbances with your sleeping either more than usual or insomnia. Your eating habits might change. They might be more than usual and cause you to gain weight or you might lose your appetite. The important part to remember is you are unique and so was your relationship. No two people will grieve exactly the same. You should allow yourself the freedom to feel what you feel. You need to be kind to yourself and not push yourself through this process. It takes as long as it takes. Refer to Bill of Rights of Grief, Stages of Grief slope and Kubler Ross Grief Cycle
2. What is the difference between grieving and depression?
Grief and depression look similar and share symptoms. Losing someone dear can be a cause for depression. However, depression can have no identifiable cause. Grief has ups and downs. You will experience good days and bad days. Depression feels like the lights have been turned off and you can’t turn them on. It is typically stagnant. Depression affects your ability function your daily tasks. Of course if you think you might be depressed talk to your physician. Refer to Beck Depression Checklist, or Burns Depression Inventory
3. What is complicated grief?
Complicated grief is more complex in nature. Painful emotions of loss don’t improve with time and create barriers to returning to your previous schedule. Complicated grief can turn into depression. Complicated might not improve without counseling support. Please see Resources.
4. Why do I feel so alone?
Grief can be very isolating. There is a human need to connect to others and fit in. When you are grieving it changes you and your perception. The truth is you may never be the same again. That is okay, it doesn’t mean you will always hurt or feel alone. It means you will be changed by your experience. In a lot of ways, you will be better for it. However, the transition process can be isolating, the people around us may not understand our pain. Even those who share a loss with you will not react the same or feel the same things. No two people grieve the same. Each person is unique and each relationship is as well. You will learn who can listen to your pain and be supportive and who doesn’t know how to. People can love us and not be able to help. They might unknowingly hurt us. Our pain makes others uncomfortable, because they do not know what to say, what comes out might be awkward coming out and painful to hear. Give those relationships you care about grace and time. Be honest with yourself and those you can trust. Tell them what you need from them. They will thank you.
5. Why does death have to happen?
When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve,death was a consequence. We do not live forever. 100% of all people will die. Intellectually, we understand, however, when death enters our world it can be destructive to the life we lived and that we can’t wrap our minds around. We want everything to make sense and often things do not. I can only tell you, what I know, and that may not give you the answers you probably see. Most likely, you want to know why your precious loved one died, and I don’t know that. I do know that I believe in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “There is a time for everything , and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.” Our days are numbered and it is not for us to understand why some live longer than others. Death is a way of life and unfortunately people die at every age. What helps me is to realize is my son was never supposed to grown up. He lived his days, instead of feeling cheated, I can feel grateful to have known him and be his mother.
6. What is the purpose in suffering?
We tend to naively believe that life would be better without suffering. No one wants to suffer or would chose to suffer yet, it is a part of the human experience. What is difficult for us to accept, there is value in suffering. Jesus Christ suffered. He suffered to overcome sin and death. Suffering brings us near to God. We are not being punished in suffering we have the opportunity to become more like Christ in trusting God in suffering. In suffering we learn what we really believe, we learn who we really are and what our fears are. We can pretend we have it all together till crisis rocks our world and the fears that were hidden deep rise to the surface. God uses times of suffering to reveal what He can do and be in our life if we put our trust in Him. Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
7. Why does God care how I feel?
God loves you. God cares so deeply about all things in your life. He cares about the big crisis and the little annoyances of life. Just because He cares doesn’t mean the moment we call His name that He will scoop in and save you. He will instead walk along your side giving you the help you need a little at a time. He strengthens us and teaches us.
8. What if I am mad at God?
Beloved, it’s okay. Any relationship that is worth having will go through every emotion including anger. Have you ever been mad at your spouse? Bestfriend? Of course you have. Its apart of a lasting relationship. Having a personal relationship with God is no different. We can be disappointed or angry at God. Ephesians 4:26, “In anger, do not sin.” Anger, itself, is just an emotion. Anger is not a sin. What we do when we are angry can lead to sin. The key, to working through the anger towards God, is to share it with Him. He can handle it and is the only one who can bring you through it. It is normal to be angry.
9. What if I think its my fault?
Guilt is a normal emotion following a significant loss. We give ourselves too much power. We can feel guilty that we somehow caused the death or could have prevented it. The truth is unless you purposely murdered them you are not responsible. Too often we torture ourselves carrying a burden that is not ours to carry. I did. I blamed myself for 10 years. If we had that power our loved ones would never have anything bad happen to them. It is out of our hands. Psalms 31: 15,”My times are in your hands. They are not in yours.
10. Could I forget my love one when I quit grieving?
I get it! This is a natural fear. You will not. A day will come that you can talk about your loved one, smile and not bring tears to your eyes. That is healing. You will not forget.
11. Why do I feel like I’m losing my mind?
Grieving is such an unfamiliar process that we often can feel like we are going crazy. Some of the common experiences that can leave you unnerved would be; seeing your loved one, hearing their voice and crying a the drop of a hat. It is not uncommon to hear stories of grieving people being triggered in unexpected places like the grocery store and uncontrollable crying to come on them. There are a couple of reasons for this, one is your guard is down, in this routine, and emotions creep up unexpectedly. Secondly, since it is routine we can reach for something for our loved one and realize again they are gone. Do not be hard on yourself. Grieving is hard.
12. Why does my spouse not feel the way I do?
People are different. Our relationships are unique and we approach grief uniquely as well.Try to not get caught up on your differences. Make a pact to respect each other and continue to have open dialog about how each one is managing. Make rules of no criticism or advice. Just listen and love each other through it.
13. My grief is interfering with my relationship?
You will change through the grieving. It is a significant life event that will transform you. That is not a bad thing. It can be beautiful. I am so thankful for who I am today after my loss. I would never chose it yet, since I can’t change it, I accept it. You change, that may change your relationships. People come into our lives for a reason, or a season.
14. Why can’t I move on?
Grief takes as long as it takes. Each person is different. It is important to understand where you are on the way to where you are going. Deal with what is in front of you and accept that your life is different now. The goal is not to get back to normal but create a new normal.
15. Where do I go for help?
You have a couple of options. You can find a support group in your area. A lot of churches have “Grief Share” programs that are wonderful. Hospices have resources if you can’t find what you need. In addition, you can find a counselor. I have been to counseling a few times in my life for various life events. It was always helpful. I went until I felt equipped to manage on my own. Also, there are some support groups on Facebook.
16. Do all children go to heaven? Will I see them again?
It is my belief that heaven is entered upon belief in Jesus Christ. Saying that, I believe some are unable to make the decision for themselves and are not held accountable for their non belief. For example, a baby, a child or someone who is mentally challenged. I have no doubt that my son is in heaven and that He will greet me when I arrive. I do believe we see our loved ones again.
John 23:43, “Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise.” 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be
present with the Lord.”
17. What if I am relieved when my loved one dies?
Relief is a very normal emotion, especially after a lengthy illness. We tire from watching the one we love suffer and struggle. There comes a point when we are ready for the suffering to end and we want them to go home and be free.