Last night I attended my first GriefShare group. If you are unfamiliar with GriefShare it is a community of grief support groups around the world purposed with helping people heal and have hope through their grief journey. GriefShare specifically focuses on the grief of losing a loved one due to death and is based on principles from a Christian-centered worldview.
While at my first of 13 sessions, I discovered something vital to my recovery. What I discovered was that I have unresolved grief. Unresolved grief is grief that has not been dealt with or resolved. It causes you to become stuck in your grieving process emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally which can lead to various problems with your health. Like me, you may not even know that you have unresolved grief because it masks itself as if everything is alright. As a defense, you suppress your gravest thoughts, concerns, and emotions until one day it all explodes when you least expect it in a way that is not desirable to you or others, nor pleasing to God. But do not despair, there is hope for your unresolved grief. Below I have listed some steps that can help in dealing with unresolved grief. Please note, not an exhaustive list.
Steps to take in dealing with unresolved grief:
- Acknowledge your unresolved grief: You will come to the conclusion all by yourself that you have unresolved grief, but I could not even recognize it for myself until I attended my first GriefShare group. While at the group meeting, I had the opportunity to release the tears and share about my grief which I realized that I had packed away and had been carrying around for years. It was the part of my grief that I realized was too painful for me to deal with at the time so I slowly suppressed it to protect myself. At least that is what I thought. Last night my eyes were opened to the fact that I have not dealt with all aspects of my grief. The area that I have neglected and have conflict in has been my relationships with people that were close to me prior to the death of my mother. Now that I have acknowledged my unresolved grief, I am responsible for doing something to fix it.
- Devise a plan to address your unresolved grief: So since I just acknowledged my unresolved grief last night I am in the beginning phase of coming up with a plan to address it (check back periodically for updates). Now although it is my responsibility to make sure that I address my unresolved grief, I would encourage you to seek help from someone that you trust and feel can give you wise counsel. Being a part of the GriefShare support group, I will be able to gain some insight from other members of the group to help with my specific problem areas and plan. However, if you are not a part of a support system like GriefShare I would suggest you look into joining one, as the assistance from those that are also going through the grief journey is invaluable along with the video segment at each meeting. The first part of my plan will include going honestly to God in prayer and Scripture, seeking healing and guidance then giving myself time to process everything. I will also be going through my GriefShare workbook and using my journal to help me process some tough areas.
- Execute your plan to move forward in your grief journey: Naturally, after devising a plan the expectation is to follow the plan. Well, a plan such as this is difficult to execute because of the way it makes you feel when facing your gravest thoughts, concerns, and emotions. In order to move forward in your grief journey you will need to see others that have successfully done the same thing. Typically we have seen our parents and other adults when we were kids handle grief by just not dealing with it. We later imitate the same suppression of grief when we experience our own personal grief. I understand that everyone experiences and deals with grief differently, however, to never talk about our grief is not normal. We need to be OK with expressing our feelings of hurt knowing that it will help us move forward as well as help someone else.
I am excited and looking forward to continuing my grief journey through GriefShare. I am embracing this part of my life as with all other parts with hope in Christ. Because God is sovereign we recognize our grief, even our unresolved grief, as a part of His will for our lives that will glorify Him and draw us nearer to Him.