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  • Writer's pictureGrace Rice

I'm not Stuck!

I recently joined a grief therapy program. It's sponsored by a church and it's a ministry to help people like me who have lost a loved one along their journey from mourning to joy. It's taken me almost 2 years to realize that just maybe my grief journey can lead to something more positive in my future if I opened myself to being around people who have an understanding of how I feel, and will accept me for where I'm at in my grief and offer me encouragement and support in the days to come.

I will admit, I've been struggling and walking a shaky line between depression and normalcy. The crying and feeling of sorrow has lessened but still after 2 years it still consumes a lot of my thoughts and behavior. I felt like all I really needed to do was to stay in God's word, pray for peace and healing, and talk to the few friends I feel safe sharing my innermost thoughts, pain and emotions with. So, I was standoffish to the idea of going to therapy because I felt strongly that my grief journey was very private and personal and I wasn't sure that the folks in the group could really relate to how deeply hurt I felt and how strong the feeling of loneliness and sorrow is that still lingers on inside of me.

But a dear friend, who I'd known since our kids were little and played sports together and who had suffered the horribly tragic loss of her own husband recently joined this grief therapy program and mentioned it to me. I trust her, so I thought maybe it would be good to check it out and see what I thought about it. The most recent session I attended, focused on the topic of this post and it was on the word "stuck". This intrigued me because I was feeling somewhat stuck in my journey because of the daily crying, the overwhelming loneliness and reluctance to make any decisions on what to do with my husbands belongings. I was also holding on to some wrong ideas about grief - like time heals, just stay busy and you'll steadily progress to being healed- NOT TRUE! What I'm realizing and learning from the program is that you have to spend the time working through the grief and that could mean doing a lot of the heavy lifting and putting in the "grief" work to get through it.

I understand the "work" to be less of obeying all the negative feelings and emotions that make me so sad, and replacing them with more positive activities like praying, talking honestly to God and letting him know I trust HIM. Also, keeping connections with people who offered and continue to offer me support and letting them know how they can support me in a way that can help me to heal. I've been doing a lot of that already, but I can do better. There are good social activities that can help me heal even in the wake of the coronavirus restrictions and limitations. I love going to church and my church has reinvented the way we worship together whether it's virtual online, drive in church or in person in a socially distanced sanctuary. I'm also blessed to have a close connection with my church family and they offer great support through just a phone call to check on me and make sure I'm okay, or keeping me on the prayer list for calls from my prayer partner to lift me up by talking to God. I still participate in my weekly exercise programs of circuit training and walking. And let me not forget about the almost daily trips to Walgreens, grocery store, car wash, gas station, dry cleaners, Sams club - all within a 5 mile radius from my house, but just enough distance to have a reason to be out of the house and in environments where I see and interact with other people.

The biggest take away so far though, and the one that is giving me the most comfort and assurance that I'm on the right path for healing is knowing that I'm Not Stuck! I'm happy to say honestly that I'm facing each day with eyes wide open and a sober mind stayed on Jesus! Most important in my journey is that I am able to freely workship God and tell him daily how grateful I am for the amazing gift of love he gave me for 42 years of my life and all the blessings that came from that union. My beautiful children and their families, my beautiful memories that I'll have with me every single day for the rest of my life, the laughter that will come more readily as I reminisce all the many fun times we shared, and on and on and on. I have plenty of time to decide what to do with Mike's belongings but for now, they do give me comfort because they help me to feel his presence near me.

By no means am I saying that I'm not grieving Mike, nor can I say how long I will continue to do so. What I am saying is that I feel my grieving is on track to eventually lead to a healing because at least I know now that I'm not stuck in a rut and unable to function or move forward in a positive, mentally and physically healthy way. I just wanted to share that with you and ask how you may be feeling about your grief journey and if you might be open to sharing that on this blog. I'm willing to support and encourage you in any way I can so you don't feel that you have to struggle alone. Meanwhile, try to stay connected and think about all the things you might be grateful for having the gift of your loved one that you are mourning.

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