She was withdrawn, had lost her appetite, was losing weight fast and would only sit and mourn. No it was not a person I am referring to. It was my grandfather’s faithful best friend, after my grandfather passed away at age 87 years. His best friend had been just over six human years with him, and had retrieved his daily newspaper from the vendor and, and his bedroom slippers for him every morning on rising. The best friend had watched her master pass away and it seemed it knew when they carried him away for the last time from his bedroom. Then it ran with its tail between its hind legs and moved under her master’s bed till itself passed away six weeks later, never leaving her post under her late master’s bed except to ease herself.
If a dog could grieve how much more a man or woman who has lost a beloved by death or divorce after many years of shared dreams, hopes, disappointments and achievements; so too, for the loss of a child in whom much love, time, care have been spent with high hopes for tomorrow and for others, and for others the loss of the ability to live independently everyday because of aging, illness or accident . Anger against God, bitterness, withdrawal and even madness could be the result of grief so difficult to bear.
Are you grieving? Is there someone you know who is grieving? The Lord “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4. Yes for those who are His children, that is His promise and until then, let us do our part to help brothers and sisters in the Lord get over their temporary grief in the love of the Lord; also for those who do not know our Blessed Saviour and Comforter, let us help point the way to Him.
What are common symptoms of grief and grieving?
A wide range of feelings and symptoms are common during grieving. While you are feeling shock, numbness, sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, or fear, you may also find moments of relief, peace, or happiness. And although grieving is not simply sadness, “the blues,” or depression, you may become depressed or overly anxious during the grieving process.
The stress of grief and grieving can take a physical toll on your body. Sleeplessness is common, as is a weakened immune system over time. If you have a chronic illness, grieving can make your condition worse.
How is grieving treated?
Social support, good self-care, and the passage of time are usually the best medicine for grieving. But if you find that your grief is making it difficult to function for more than a week or two, contact a grief counselor or bereavement support group for help.
Grief and Grieving – Treatment Overview
Grief itself is a natural response that doesn’t require medical treatment. But sometimes people need help getting through the grieving process.
- Medicine. During the initial days of grief, anxiety or sleeplessness can make it difficult to function. If you suffer more than a few days of severe agitation, talk to your doctor about whether a short-term prescription sedative medicine can help you. (Doctors disagree about the usefulness of medicines for people who are grieving. Some doctors believe that giving medicines for anxiety or sleep may interfere with the ability to grieve.)
- Counseling. If you find that obstacles to grieving are making it difficult to function after a loss, talk to a grief counselor, attend a bereavement support group, or both. Counseling and support groups can also help you work through unresolved grief from a past loss.
- If you or someone you know exhibits suicidal behavior, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
How does a Christian brother or sister help a grieving person? I found this very practical advice on the internet :
10 Ways to Help a Grieving Person
by Dr Tom Ludowici
1. Contact the person Make a short visit, write or phone your support. This is not the time for long visits or a Bible study.
2. Encourage the person in his/her own expression of grief Avoid negative responses such as, “You should not feel that way!” or “Christians don’t carry on like this!”
3. Listen without judging Talk less and listen more. This allows the person to express feelings, no matter how jumbled the thoughts may be.
4. Beware of trying to explain the reason for the loss Only God knows everything. Our explanations will not engender comfort.
5. Acknowledge the person’s own grief journey Each individual experiences emotional, physical, mental and spiritual reactions which vary from person to person and time to time – even in the same family. Do not try to force a person into a mould.
6. Speak of God’s comfort Grief is a time when one may feel totally alone – not even God seems to be present! Gently share the promise that God will “never leave nor abandon” the grieving. Pray briefly, then leave.
7. Choose literature carefully Do not give the bereaved anything to read in the first few weeks – it may only inoculate the person against the helpful value of material at a later date.
8. Provide practical support Do not say, “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” Think of actions and do them: clean the car, prepare food, wash and iron, do the shopping, mow the lawn, polish shoes for the funeral.
9. Do not insist on the person coming to worship if they are not ready God knows the heart, and the person may commune with their Lord alone for sometime, before being ready to fellowship with others again.
10. Maintain contact It’s easy to forget to keep in touch. Your visits or phone calls in subsequent months may be a very significant support to the person. Normal grief may last a few months or several yeas. By simply walking beside the person, listening and supporting, you will minister in the name of Jesus.
by Jodi Wheeler
- There are many ways a Christian can help a person in grief. Some people only see grief as a death of a loved one. However, grief can also include a loss of a dream, a physical or emotional disability, or some other type of loss. When people experience a loss, they need to have caring individuals who will be there for them. Christians can reach out to those in grief with care and concern to help them through the difficult time of grief.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22, KJV).
Be there for them
One of the most powerful ways to help those who are grieving is to simply be open and available to them. Listening to their cries and pain is a very powerful recovery tool. Some people may say, “But I don’t know what to say.” Interestingly, people really don’t need you to talk. They need you to be there for them with a shoulder to cry on.
Send out some love
You can also be there for someone grieving by sending a card or making a phone call. Make sure the card has an encouraging note in it to make it personal. The grieving person may be having a particularly hard day, and a card or a phone call may be just what he or she needs to carry them through.
Other types of assistance would be greatly appreciated. Taking up an offering in church for financial assistance is helpful. Other ways include meeting the person’s physical needs, such as cleaning the house, cooking them food, watching the children to give the parents a break, or many other ways.
Allow them to express their emotions
A grieving person has a variety of emotions. Allow the person the freedom to express their tears. This is very healing during the process. During the grieving, the person may also have anger and questions. Anger can be very intimidating and scary. However, if the person has a safe place with someone else to express the anger, he or she will move further along in the grieving process. The person may have questions which need to be vocalized, even about God.
A grieving person needs acceptance. They need to be accepted where they are at on their journey. If they are hurried along in the process, they may stuff the feelings which would have drastic effects on them, such as depression, problems with physical health, etc. Feelings need to be dealt with and not stuffed. Feelings buried alive never die.
Prayer is an important tool to help the people look to God for strength. This cannot be flippant, such as, “Oh, I’ll pray for you,” and never do anything behind your words. After you have gone to visit the person, you can close in prayer before you leave.
In times of grief, people are in need of others being there for them. There are many little ways to help them go through the process.
Christians need to be the hands and feet of Christ.
Scriptures that Bring Comfort During Grieving
Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. New Living Translation
Psalms 31:9 – O’ Lord have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my health is broken from sorrow.
Psalms 147:3 – He heals the broken heartened, binding up their wounds.
Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
John 14:27 – I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give is not fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:18 – No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm-I will come to you.
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
Psalms 30:5b – Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
John 16:33 – I have told you these things so that you will have peace of heart and mind, Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but cheer up, for I have overcome the world,
Proverbs 3:6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 – Brothers we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep: or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.
2Thessalonians 2:16, 17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and hope which we don’t deserve, comfort your hearts with all comfort, and help you in every good thing you say and do.
Isaiah 49:13b – For the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.
Jeremiah 31:13 – I will turn their mourning into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
2 Corinthians1:3-4 – What a wonderful God we have-He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
Ecclesiastes3:1-4 – To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance
Psalm 25:16-18 – Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my afflictions and my trouble, and forgive my sins.
Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil .for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. in My Father’s house are many mansions
Exodus3:7 – Then the Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying and am concerned about their sufferings.
1Samuel 1:15-17 – Hannah had a sorrowful spirit and poured out her soul unto the Lord……and God answered her petition.
2 Samuel 18:32-33 and 2 Samuel 19 – King David mourned over the death of his son Absalom and cried out to God. Psalms 22:24 – For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one, He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
John 11:33-35 – When Jesus saw her weeping ….He groaned in spirit and was troubled. “Where have you lain him?” Jesus asked .They said unto Him, “Come and see.” Jesus wept.
If you are grieving today, let His Word be your comfort and ask the Holy Spirit the Comforter to speak to you. If you know someone who is grieving the Lord wants you to help that person as His representative and most importantly of all, if it is the Lord’s will and He so directs, lead that person to a personal relationship with the Lord.
If you are grieving or someone else is, listen to these presentations “No Not One” and “One Day at a Time”
Response: Lord, let me be an instrument of Your comfort and peace today. Please give me the wisdom and discernment to know what helps to relieve the pain of grief. Amen.