Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

I want to write, but I'm feeling a little blah today. I've had many good days, today is a hard day.

This isn't meant to be a 'downer' blog, but one to encourage those who are hurting this time of year. GRIEF IS A PROCESS. Even Jesus healed others through process. Sometimes He healed and it was instant, most often there was a process to it...there were steps to be accomplished before the next step, and the next step....leading to the healing!

I think for me personally, it is several things weighing on my heart, and not one thing I can put my finger completely on. The main event; different forms of grief.

Honestly, I'm very much liking where we live. The city is so great...lots of places to go...people are very nice here. God is doing some amazing things!!! I will share those soon! We are beginning to make a few new friends. God is opening up doors of opportunity. Our family is pulling in together and enjoying each other. Husband LOVES his new job! He is really happy in his new job! The kids and I are liking it here very much. I'm having more joyful and happy days, than sad/hard days. Thank you Lord!

There is this part of me that is rejoicing very much! Overall, very GRATEFUL beyond words!

Then, there is this sad part....a blah part I'm dealing with from time to time. It sort of crops up unexpectedly.

Husband and I were talking early this morning...why is this time of years so difficult for the grieving?

We are grieving over different things right now. Not only loss of loved ones, but loss of sharing time with family and friends in western and eastern NC, FL...the recent moves (4 moves in 4 a LOT...don't care who ya are!), dealing with each of our personal issues and working through them, starting over again. New job for David. Finding a new church (which we still haven't decided on). We do have a few stressors.

Starting over again can be good in many ways, but stressful, even sorrowful in some ways too.

There are many positives. Also losses that cannot be ignored. Must move through the process, even though it is not always comfortable.

I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents, father, uncles and aunts on both sides of our family, father-in-law, dear friends and family we have lost...those who have died. Missing them.

There will be hard days once in awhile with missing them. Especially during the holiday season; certain dates, remembering events; things, dates, smells, situations, or people...all things that asssociate or remind us of them. It happens out from nowhere sometimes.

Since my husband deals with death on a daily basis as a Hospice Chaplain, he is a great encouragement to our family. We learn together and from him. Our family doesn't always get it right, but it helps to share together, and learn from the word of God, and from each other too. To continually walk the healing journey with God, and with family and friends. We all need each other.

My husband has served with GriefShare classes, and I went to their website today. These were some comforting words/ideas to acknowledge and honor loved ones we have lost.

Holidays and Other Special Times
Ideas for Dealing with the Holidays and Other Special Days

Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special days can be extremely difficult and are often dreaded by those in grief. Here are some practical suggestions from GriefShare* group leaders and participants on how to make it through these emotionally challenging days.

*Ask yourself questions to help you identify and face the specific feelings and concerns you have about the coming holiday. Questions could include “Which traditions will be different this year?” “Which traditions are important to maintain?” “What plans do I have on that day?” “What do I dread the most about the coming holiday?” “What will I miss the most about not having my loved one here on that day?” “Whom can I ask to pray for me and be my spiritual support on that day?” “How do I plan to take care of myself on that day?”

*Consider having an “escape plan” in place. If you plan to attend a family or group gathering, you could make arrangements with the host/hostess ahead of time to be excused if needed. This plan involves an acknowledgment of the grief process, while also avoiding potentially awkward situations with others.

*Volunteer to help others in need on that special day. For instance, working in a soup kitchen or at the Salvation Army. Your church pastor may have suggestions of other places to volunteer.

*Have a candle-lighting ceremony with your family or close friends to remember lost loved ones. As each person lights a candle, he or she may share something meaningful about the loved one. People could also share a picture, song, poem or a tangible item that was special to the loved one. End with a time of prayer.

*Plan a night of remembrance not only in honor of your lost loved one, but including other friends who have lost a loved one. Provide ornaments or have people bring a special ornament to hang on the tree in remembrance of their lost loved one. Invite people to share a special Christmas memory about their loved one. Include food, music, Scripture and prayer.

*Read a book such as The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions by Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries.

* We encourage you to attend a GriefShare grief recovery support group at a church near you. You will have the opportunity to spend time with others who know the deep pain of grief and who can better understand what you are going through this holiday season. You will also learn how to take steps forward and grieve in a way that is healthy. Make a commitment to visit a group for at least three sessions.

© MMVI by Church Initiative. All rights reserve

Here is the GriefShare link. Click Here for GreifShare
You can go on that site and they will let you know where the next class will be in your area.

Another great article by the Hospice Foundation. I found this encouraging....and found it here: Click Here

Coping with Grief During the Holidays
Hospice Foundation of America's New Campaign Offers Advice

Washington, DC - A question commonly asked by bereaved people at this time of year is, "How can I get through the holidays?" There is really no single answer of what one should or shouldn't do. Hospice Foundation of America stresses one guiding principle: do what is comfortable.

"When we are already experiencing the great stress of bereavement, the additional strains of the holidays can create unbearable pressure," commented Jack Gordon, President of HFA. "The key to coping with grief during the holidays is to find the way that is right for you."

Some people find it helpful to be with family and friends, emphasizing the familiar. Others may wish to avoid old sights and sounds, perhaps even taking a trip. Others will find new ways to acknowledge the season.

Here are some key points from HFA's Holiday Grief Campaign:

Plan for the approaching holidays. Be aware that this might be a difficult time for you. The additional stress may affect you emotionally, cognitively, and physically; this is a normal reaction. It is important to be prepared for these feelings.

Recognize that holidays won't be the same. If you try to keep everything as it was, you'll be disappointed. Doing things a bit differently can acknowledge the change while preserving continuity with the past.

Be careful not to isolate yourself. It's alright to take time for yourself but don't cut yourself off from the support of family and friends.

The holidays may affect other family members. Talk over your plans. Respect their choices and needs, and compromise if necessary.

Avoid additional stress. Decide what you really want to do, and what can be avoided.

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