Monday, April 21, 2014

Allow Grief to Be Felt

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As we face the difficulties of life, I think we tend to think we need to face them without emotion. We have led ourselves and each other to believe that if we are sad about something bad happening, it means we lack faith. We unwittingly pass this mentatlity on to each other as we say things like, "At least he is in a better place now" or "You know you will see her again" to each other. These comments are meant to console those grieving, but it carries the message that with the proper perspective, there is nothing to be sad about.

We need to allow ourselves and each other to grieve. 

I don't just mean for the extreme situations in life. Not just very hard illnesses or death. No. Any sort of grief we encounter in life should be dealt with--and I mean felt.

Grief hurts, but it can be the salve that helps us heal when it is allowed to do its work appropriately. The first step in handling grief is to recognize that the pain is a normal part of the process. It needs to be acknowledged, not avoided. Steven Eastmond

As I approach the anniversary of my baby Braxston's death, this is the message I wanted to share this year. 

Do you know what is very normal? To be upset when something bad or sad happens. It is normal to feel the emotions that come with it. I got thinking, the experiences we go through are what shape us into the people we become. If we suppress the feelings associated with these experiences, then we suppress the growth we can experience when we allow ourselves to go through the grieving process.

I decided to do some searching on this idea. I found some gems that say things better than I.

 I have learned that grief is the price we pay for loving someone—and that the price is worth it.   Steven Eastmond

At first, I felt that my grief meant I lacked faith. But with time, I understood that grief was a normal, healthy response to my son’s illness. In God’s plan for me, grief was a refining fire that transformed my love for others, my perspective on life’s challenges, and my faith in Heavenly Father. ASHLEY ISAACSON WOOLLEY

Elder Lance B. Wickman, an emeritus member of the Seventy, explained: “Grief is the natural by-product of love. One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at his suffering or eventual death. The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning

When I turned to the scriptures for comfort, I learned that grief is a godlike attribute that goes hand in hand with love. Jesus grieved alongside Mary and Martha at Lazarus’s death (see John 11:33–36). Isaiah said that the Savior would be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). God wept as He spoke to Enoch about the wickedness of the world and judgments to come on His beloved children ASHLEY ISAACSON WOOLLEY

 In my observation, grief can change our nature if we let it turn us to the Savior. ASHLEY ISAACSON WOOLLEY

And grieving over my old expectations for my son’s life allowed me to let go of them, freeing me to see my son as a beautiful child of God with an eternal destiny, regardless of the imperfections in his physical body. ASHLEY ISAACSON WOOLLEY

No matter your challenge in life, do not try to suffocate the grief you feel over it in fear that it shows a weakness in your faith. Allow that grief to be felt and you will be able to learn from the experience what you need to. As you grieve, continue to pray and to stay close to the Lord. But it is okay to feel sad and to feel whatever emotions you are feeling with grief.



6 comments:

Danielle said...

Thanks for this message. My brother passed away 3 weeks ago tomorrow, so I am definitely in those beginning stages of grief right now.

Shannah said...

This is exactly what I had to learn when I miscarried our first child. It is a difficult thing to have to go through but allowing myself to truly grieve allowed me to grow.

Valerie Plowman said...

I am so sorry to hear that :(

Valerie Plowman said...

So true!

DW said...

Thank you for this. Your post is so true and really hit home with me. My little sister passed away just one month ago and the grief is still overwhelming. She was only 38 and my best friend - so funny, caring, and loving. Everything reminds me of her, which in turn reminds me that I can't call her to share a funny story or ask her how her day went. It hurts so much. On top of my own grief, my children are deeply missing their favorite Auntie. They know it is ok to cry, but we try to focus on all the good memories to break through the tears. We take comfort knowing she is in Heaven, a perfect angel who is probably making everyone around her laugh and smile just as she did when she was here with us. I also miscarried our first baby 14 years ago and it was devastating. One day my husband took me down to the ocean bluffs near our home so we could reflect and drop flowers in the ocean as we prayed about finding strength during that difficult time. When we let go of our flowers, a beautiful white butterfly appeared out of nowhere. Our angel was letting us know she was in Heaven. In times of sadness and difficulty through the years, there is always a white butterfly flying by to remind me my little angel is watching over me. Our faith has kept us strong as a family, but the hurt I feel is something I will probably feel for the rest of my life. Sorry for the long comment. I felt the need to share my personal experience the way you did. God bless you and your family.

Valerie Plowman said...

I am so sorry for both of your losses DW! Thank you for sharing. I love the white butterfly. What a tender mercy from The Lord.

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