Thanks to Desiree Harless who I met at the Love Never Dies Grief Support Group at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas and granted me permission to use the following as a guest blog. Dez works in the church’s Relational Care Ministry and is active in their grief support groups. It was my privilege to work with Dez and Associate Pastor of Relational Care Dale Williams in conducting the first Love Never Dies Grief Support Group sessions (using the book Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise as a text). The sessions were held at Gateway Church July 14- August 4, 2012.
Dear Friend and Potential Comforter,
Perhaps you have noticed my watery, red-rimmed eyes. Maybe you’ve missed me and wondered where I’ve been lately. Is my downcast appearance a give away? Or is it my forced personality that clued you in? Yes, it is sorrow. Intense grief. It originated from loss, loss of someone dearly loved.
What you see on the outside is just a fraction of the turmoil going on in the inside. Inside I am a crumpled heap on the floor. In an instant, everything changed. The plans I had for the future have been obliterated; the past has disappeared in pain. Surviving another minute seems impossible. My world is no longer safe. I realize I’m not in control. I don’t know who is.
The one thing I do know is how uncomfortable I make you feel. Some people can’t handle this and I won’t see them again. Some people try for a while, but it’s hard and they have their own life. It takes a special person to walk with the grieving. Being able to be my friend through all this is one part love, one part God’s wisdom, and a hefty dose of perseverance. And it may take more than one of you.
So, what do I need while I walk this mourning road? I probably won’t be able to communicate that to you. Sometimes I don’t know. There are a few constants, though. I need to feel genuine love, I’ve lost that you know, love. I need to know that you love me, that God loves me, that I can love again.
I need to feel safe; safe physically, safe emotionally, safe spiritually. I feel alone and that is not safe. When I am with you I need to be able to express myself without feeling judged, be able to cry with you, be angry and mad without scaring you. I need to process my loss and not receive spiritual clichés in response. In grief, I can see right through them and they hurt.
I need prayer. Please pray for me and with me. Sometimes I can’t pray on my own. I may be mad at God. Don’t let that worry you; God is big enough to handle it, He does not reject me in my grief. But knowing that someone is praying for me is a big help and I can feel it.
Thank you for being there for me when it is hard. It won’t always be like this. You may need to tell that to me, actually. I won’t always feel so bad. And one day our crying together will change to laughing together. One day I will again feel joy, even while I feel sorrow. One day I will again be able to stand, even while in pain. One day, I will again be able to feel alive.
Thank you my friend!
Posted by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise” available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).
The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa”
Both English and Spanish versions are available for Kindle and Nook. Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX http://grief-works.org.
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