HomeOpinion & AnalysisExperiencing, overcoming bereavement

Experiencing, overcoming bereavement


Grief is the deep sorrow or emotional agony caused by the loss of a loved one.

The feelings that come after the loss can be devastating to some people. Fewer things can cause more emotional trauma than the loss of one dearly loved.

Experts who have studied agony caused by grief concur that death is the most notably permanent and extreme form of loss in the majority of individuals.

It is also generally agreed that each individual grieves in his or her own unique way. A small minority may experience grief so severe and prolonged that it leads to what has been termed “complicated” or “chronic” grief. For some people, the worst part may be over in a matter of months.

Others may need a year or two to pass before they may overcome their bereavement. Few others take much longer or sometimes forever to heal.

The intensity of grief should dwindle with time; although that does not necessarily mean that the loved one has been forgotten. Memories will always resurface
now and then for different causes.

Gradually the focus should shift from the loss and back to the life’s daily routines, thus returning to a point of emotional balance that can erase or reduce the agony.

Crying during mourning after the loss of a loved one is itself a healing process.

Tears can relieve some stress and the intense feelings associated with grief are normal.

Vivid memories and dreams about the deceased can bring emotions that can aggravate a yearning for the loved one.

Such challenges and emotions are common and should be expected initially. Most of us believe in life after death hence sometimes a bereaved person may imagine that the deceased person can hear us and see us all the time.

However, some of the thoughts can end up being erratic to such a point that the bereaved begins to think that the deceased can
actually be heard speaking, or to be seen or even felt close by, thereby coming to some ghostly conclusions.

The reality is that the pain following the loss of a loved one can be intense, but knowing this in advance may assist bereaved ones to cope during such times.
Grief affects everyone differently and can also embrace health issues. There can be a loss of appetite, weight and even sleep deprivation. The immune system
can also be affected by grieving. Existing health problems can be aggravated and new health symptoms can begin to show, leading to diseases like depression or
high blood pressure.

There are no set rules on how to deal with bereavement. Some advice or ideas on how to cope vary with the situation or individual. In a myriad of ideas, some
are more helpful than others. What can work for one person may not work for someone else. Every one of us has grieved at one point in our lives but at varying
degrees. There is a pool of guidelines that can assist individuals to cope in their own unique way. There is however one entity through which we can channel
all our sorrows i.e the Lord our God or as Christians through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Almighty created all life on earth and brought death to bring an
end to earthly life. Life and death are God’s creation. We should respect both. To give and to take life is God’s own doing. It is His prerogative.

Every one of us will die at some point. God has a set timeframe of life for each of us. Every birth and death is God’s will. Before we shed any tears of grief,
let us reflect on this and accept that God’s will has been done, even in death. Nobody knows when exactly someone will die. It is God’s secret. When someone we love dearly dies, it is because it is his/her time, i.e God’s time. Let us not grieve on what God has set. Worse still, don’t ever curse or blame God for your
loss. If you cannot prevent the shedding of tears, then commit your tears to Him who created the life. Psalm 56:8 reads, “Put thou my tears in thy bottle!”.

For those who believe in the resurrection, comfort yourself by knowing that there will be a time when you will meet again with the loved one. In his time of
grief Job commented (Job 14:1-2); “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and withers; he flees like a
shadow and continues not (dies).” In Acts 5:15, Paul spoke (in part); “Having a hope in God which they (Christians) themselves accept, that there will be a
resurrection of both the just and the unjust.”

However, religion alone may not assist us to overcome our grief. We may need the assistance of others to overcome our sorrows. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reads: “Two
are better than one … For if one of them falls, the other can help his partner up.” Accept support from family and friends. At times you may want to be alone
and may even feel irritated by those trying to assist you through your grief. While this is normal, do not push those close to you away as you will always need
them. Find a balance between time with other people and time alone.

Sleep is a major casualty during times of bereavement. It is common to be deprived of sleep and this can add to fatigue. Be cautious not to fall back on
alcohol or drinks laced with caffeine as this will add to compromise on your sleep pattern. Rest eases the mind.

Since everyone grieves differently, find what works for you. While some people may feel that crying helps them deal with their grief, others prefer not to express their grief. However, try as much as possible to return to your normal routines as soon as you can. Keeping yourself busy with activities that take
your focus off your grief helps to regain a sense of normalcy. Positive activities can assist to push away the agony of loss. Ecclesiastes 5:20 reads: “He will hardly notice the passing days of his life, because the true God keeps him preoccupied with the rejoicing of his heart”.

Nothing will, as a matter of fact, completely wipe off the pain you feel. Don’t confine yourself to your room or house. Go out there to socialise or find some
recreational activities to keep you busy and focused on other things. You may find it emotionally beneficial to get yourself some temporary relief by forming
or strengthening friendships, learning some new skills, if not employed. Fit in as many things into your normal routines to enhance longer breaks from
grieving. As the breaks become longer and more frequent then the natural healing process should set in. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 reads: “There is an appointed time
for everything, … a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to dance.”

Prosper Tingini is the president of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: ptingini@gmail.com

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