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Coping with grief is hard

Losing a loved one is one of life’s hardest experiences. Shock, pain and grief deal a very painful blow. Emptiness and loneliness are overwhelming.

Relatives and friends help to get us through the days before and after the funeral.

However, what about the days and weeks to follow? I have seen family and friends go through this painful process. The coping skills I have seen in these precious survivors have increased my faith, and I want to share their courage. It helped me to cope when I lost my parents.

Keeping up the circle of friends becomes your support system more than ever. Friends help to keep your mind alert and help to keep your sense of humor.

Living only one day at a time is a great helper. Rehearsing trouble or perceiving what could have been cheats a brand new day that still holds good things. Allowing time to grieve will eventually help to go on living again, even amidst the pain. Plan little things at first. It won’t erase the pain, but it will divert and give relief.

Find something good in each day. No matter how adverse the circumstances, there is always something to be thankful for.

Be thankful for the time the loved one had to love and share. Be grateful for the children your love brought to each other. Be happy another day has dawned and the sun is still shining, birds are still singing, flowers are still blooming and people still care.

Focus on God’s promises. Meditate and quote them to yourself, especially when insomnia comes. Psalm 116:15 is a great comforter: “The death of one that belongs to the LORD is precious in his sight.” (NCV)

Anchor yourself in God’s love. If God watches over the sparrow — and he does — he is not going to abandon you. Know that at best, this life is only temporary. Knowing that gives peace while looking forward to an eternity of joy where there will never be a separation from a loved one.

I heard a story about a father who took his two girls to the beach. They went swimming, and before the daddy knew it, they had gone too far in the water. The father told the older child to stay in that spot and he would be back to get her. He took the younger child to the beach with much effort. Then he went back to the vicinity where he thought he left the older child, but he couldn’t find her anywhere. Being tired and weary from taking the younger child, he knew he had to swim back to the shore to get help.

He found a man with a boat, and they motored out to where the father thought he had left his older child. They looked and looked. They had almost given up when they saw her.

When the owner of the boat lifted her up to safety, he said, “Honey, how did you ever stay that long in water without giving up?”

The older child answered, “My Daddy told me he would be back to get me and take me home, and I knew he would!”

Our Heavenly Father has told us the same thing.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the place where I am going” (John 14:1-4 NIV).