The Life You Always Wanted may not always go the way you wanted and the reason I decided to write this at this time is because of what just recently happened. At our New Years Summit meeting in Louisville, KY and Sandy Utah, I had multiple people come to talk to me about their recent losses. They were asking for advice on how to move forward with their life, how to help their friends and relatives, and what they should be doing to get better. It has been almost three years since my Jackie passed away, and I am just now beginning to be able to think about it clearly. I am not sure what book I was reading recently, but it was talking about this subject, and the author said,”I can only think about it in my strong moments.” Needless to say I have not had many of those, contrary to popular opinion. I for sure am no expert in this area and have probably done more incorrectly then I have done correctly but I promised those hurting hearts that I would post something to try to help.
The first and most important reason that I have not lost my mind going through this process is because of my faith. I have no doubt that there is a God and he made this world and everything in it. God did not create death. Just this thought alone has protected me from wanting to blame God or at least be mad and ask the question “Why did he do this to me?” He didn’t; He created life, and this fallen world has created death. I cannot imagine mentally trying to handle the situation without knowing that there is a reason why. That there is an ultimate answer and that she is in a better place. All that said, I still did ask that question many times but I knew my answer immediately.
I’m not sure how all of this next part will come out because they are just random bullet point memories but I will give it a shot. I will also list the books that I read that gave me some of these insights and some comfort.
- It is ok to be sad and to grieve. Most people try to avoid the pain and suppress the emotion. If you have gone through this, you may be thinking I have never cried this much in my life or felt this terrible. I understand; there were times that I cried so long and intensely, in my closet to avoid the kids, that I would literally wake up there later on. The thought that they are in a better place is actually ridiculous, if you have lost someone. (Sorry to the people who told me that. The best place from our view is here with us. The books I read say to embrace the grief and lean into it. I did not do that even though I felt completely exhausted and miserable all the time. If you do not embrace the grief, it will show up in your life later on and more than likely as something negative. The human natural feeling is to want to stop feeling sad. It is amazing how exhausting it is to feel sad 24 hours a day. When that hits most people turn to something else to stop the pain. I know first hand because I did as well. Please watch your loved ones carefully, they are in a mental spot that you can’t understand, but they still need your help to make sure no bad habits are created.
- Find sources of support. I did not want to take my kids to any of these places because my mind was just trying to avoid the pain. Luckily I had great family and friends that pushed me to take kids to Ele’s place. This a fantastic group and not only did they help my kids, they helped me. There is something comforting about hearing other peoples grief and pain. It actually gives you comfort because you know they are the only ones that understand what you are going through. If someone has never been through this, they can’t possibly understand anything that you are mentally dealing with. I know because someone in my team lost their spouse and I said the same things about him that others then said about me. I am forever sorry that I actually thought those things about him, but I now completely understand. This is why it’s so important to find someone that has endured your pain. With that said my friends and family are probably the reason I am alive. I had so much support and love that it helped me to fight everyday to try and make it back from my depths. Have them watch over anything and everything. Let them help with finances, housing, a shoulder to cry on, someone to hang out with and for sure let them help with any major decisions. I now know without a shadow of a doubt that I was not okay even though it felt like it. I was just running away from the grief that I didn’t want to feel anymore.
- How do you move forward? This was the main question that I am asked. It is asked because your entire life was mentally planned out with the person you lost. All of your dreams, your friendships, your daily habits, the trust you built were tied together and its like losing a part of your body. Start or continue to attend a church as hard as it may be. I now realize that I ran away from church because every time I was there it reminded me of the grief that I was going through. I don’t know why I felt that, even though every message that I did hear was food for my soul. It also made me sad every time, but I know that’s okay now and want you to know that it’s ok. Ask your pastor to find a spot where you can cry in private. I believe you have to find a purpose to fill the void that is gone. That purpose could be your faith, family, friends, charity, anything that will give you a reason to continue on. Things will be different forever more. Friendships will change, family relationships may change, what you planned for the future may change, dreams and goals may change but always remember there are people that love you and need you.
The pain of an absent heart will never go away but your life will continue. It has taken me three years just to be able to write about this. I will never stop missing my Jack (my nickname), but you still have many things to do as new relationships form. Hopefully you will find another person that you can start sharing your life with. Overall just know that it is part of a greater plan, even though I know that’s the last thing you want to hear. I truly hope this helps someone out there. I understand your pain and you can get through it.
- Getting to the other side of grief – Zonnebelt ( must read )
- When your family has lost a loved one – Guthrie
- Sunsets – Deborah Howard
- Letters for healing – Von Kopfman
- Trusting God – Jerry Bridge