Consider this Your Permission Slip to Let Yourself Grieve Physically

This is the sky with heaven shining down through a storm. It was taken shortly after Mike lost his uncle Tom a few years back and we were driving home from his memorial service. It reminds me that through every storm, his light shines if we look for it.

Have you ever wondered why grief feels so physical? Have you actually realized that it’s physical? Many people don’t and wonder why they drag. I’m here to tell you today that it IS physical and we need to give ourselves permission to grieve just as much when it is physical instead of pushing through it. 

Apparently the 30th of this month (Sunday) is National Grief Awareness Day, so it just seemed like the opportune time to focus on the grief process, because it is so real to me. I believe we don’t talk about it enough in our society. There’s too much “get over it” and not enough of showing people every single aspect of the process to find inner strength. A lot of quick fixes and not a lot of guidance. Anyway,  I hope this blog post helps a few people in the process.

Yesterday was the day after the day my Dad died four years ago. On Friday afternoon, Mike and I drove 7 hours out to Des Moines where he grew up. We stayed at his parents house and Saturday was the 10 month mark for his Dad’s passing from ALS. So it was kinda heavy. It was really good time with family, but heavy.  With that, I just knew that drive home Sunday was going to be rough. It was. So yesterday….

I knew when I got home Sunday night, I’d wake up Monday morning feeling like a truck hit me, and I did.  My body was dragging. My brain was cloudy. I sat at my desk and tried to get a few things done, but my body and mind just weren’t there. So instead of beating myself, I gave myself permission to feel it and took a nap. Then, a little while later I took a walk. By the evening, I was feeling much better, simply because I listened to my body telling me to stop. 

Here’s the deal — grief is physical. It will DRAG you. It will DRAIN you. It will dig a hole for you of depression if you let it.

But there is one thing you can do to get you through it, and that is to get your strength from God. Why? Because as you go through it, you’ll feel like you can’t and you won’t have the mental or emotional strength or sheer will. But God does. He is the only one who can (and will) comfort you at the depths of your pain, but you have to let him into it. 

Losing a parent is the perfect example of how we can tap into God’s love. We know that we have no power over the loss, or the timing of it. We see it as tragedy, which it is – but God makes death – something we all have in common, an opportunity for us to draw nearer to Him. What a beautiful thing.

It doesn’t have to just be the death of someone. It can be sending your kids off to college or grieving a closed door. It can also be a workout injury. Man, I can’t tell you how close I got to God when I was recovering for a year from that shoulder surgery. There is nothing you can do in that space but surrender. But the beauty is he’s right there ready for you.

That’s why in Matthew 11:29-30 it says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The most crucial passage that is helping me in my journey of grief is this. I really like the New Living Translation (NLT) of it. It’s 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us un all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.”

He is the God of ALL comfort. He comforts us in ALL our troubles, and the coolest part – he uses us as vessels to comfort others just as he comforts us. What an amazing God. So give yourself permission to REST as you grieve, my friend.

Here are two great articles that helped me this week. Maybe they will be a resource for you. The first is an article about how we all grieve in different ways, We All Grieve in Different Ways on Different Days,” by Traci Evison.  The second is an article about how we react to the anniversary of a loved ones death, called, Anniversary Reactions. I needed it yesterday myself so maybe it will help you!! 


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