I remember the first time I moved away from home. It was my freshman year in college when I made the trek from Arizona to Kentucky to attend Asbury University. I was excited about starting college, but was going to miss my family who would be 1,800 miles away. Even though exciting things were happening, I was temporarily losing something — constant contact with my family and the familiarity of how my life used to be at home.
Grief comes with loss and change.
Whenever we think of grief, we think of the sadness that accompanies the death of a loved one. In reality, grief occurs whenever we lose something important to us. While the death of a family member certainly fits the bill, it could be the loss of a relationship through a breakup or divorce, or the loss of a job. Grief also encompasses the change that comes as a result of the loss. Things are no longer as comfortable and we are forced to adjust. Even good things like marriage and the arrival of children means the end of a former way of life that was familiar.
How do we get over it?
There are healthy ways to grieve but also things we do that may get in the way of healthy grieving. Here are some things to keep in mind:
How to Grieve
The only way to get over grief is to grieve. Grief is the most complex series of emotions humans are capable of experiencing. There is no time table for grief. The only way to get through it is to feel it, experience it, and eventually accept it. Some ways to process grief:
Grief is beautiful.
During my first semester in college, I finally did feel better about living so far from home. What was harder was the fact that two people in my family died during my second month there—my great-grandmother and my cousin who was like a sister to me. It was hard to grieve so far from my family, but comfort came through several phone calls, some talks with my pastor, and the support of those around me.
As I look back, I still feel sad whenever I think about my cousin, Nichole. I realize she's in a better place, but there is still a sadness that remains. And that's okay. It's more like a beautiful sorrow. Feeling loss means you had something that gave you joy to begin with. Grief is difficult but it doesn't negate joy. It makes you human, and makes you feel alive.
Every deep cut leaves a scar. You will feel much better eventually—but there may always remain a remnant of sadness. Such experiences nurture a compassion for others going through the same thing—which is exactly what they'll need in the midst of their own loss. You can be the very presence of God to them during a time when you wish you had the same.
Subscribe to My Newsletter