The Charlie Brown generation is familiar with his famous phrase “Good grief.” I never thought much about those words until I found myself in the middle of a grief journey… and it felt anything but good.
I realized early on that confronting my pain would be inevitable. I wasn’t able to stuff it, ignore it, or minimize it the way some people do. I just knew deep down that there would be no skipping over the grieving process. I couldn’t go around it; I had to walk through it. I remember having the conscious thought that I wanted to heal well. I knew I would always have scars, but I certainly didn’t want to walk around with open heart wounds for the rest of my life.
So – how does one go about “healing well?” What does “good grief” look like? For me, a big part of it was being honest with myself and God. Allowing myself to feel what I needed to feel and express what I needed to express. I did a lot of journaling. All the pain inside had to come out, and it needed somewhere to go. But as helpful as a journal and pen truly were, I still felt the need to process with others. I still needed community.
Grief community. Now that’s a club no one signs up for, yet so many have found ourselves with membership cards against our will. Certainly, I never (ever) could have anticipated that I would lose my sister to suicide three years ago. It was by far the most shocking, disruptive, and painful experience of my four decades of life. Nothing could have prepared me for the traumatic news… nor the isolation that would follow.
Of course, I was not the only one who experienced loss that day. There were other family members, friends, and an entire community whose worlds were turned upside down by this unexpected death. However, when I started on this journey through grief, it felt like I was walking all alone.
For me, one of the most surprising things about grief is how utterly isolating it has been.
I learned that everybody grieves differently. Some want to talk and others don’t. Some embrace the feelings and others fight them. Each person’s loss is unique to them, and each person’s journey through the pain is their own.
I found that I needed different things at different times. A listening ear. A shoulder to cry on. Arms to embrace. A voice to remind me that I’m going to make it. Someone who could understand all the questions that arose: Are these feelings normal? Why can’t I concentrate? What do I really believe about God’s goodness, anyway? Can joy and sorrow truly co-exist? Can anything good actually come out of this tragedy?
Only someone who has experienced loss could honestly process through these hard questions with me. I’m so thankful to have found a safe, supportive community right here at House of Hope. Other women who were wrestling with similar things on their own journey through grief. Together, we have been able to offer that ear, shoulder, and voice of truth to each other. We have cried together, laughed together, and pointed one another back to Jesus when the path has become unclear.
For me, this has been more than a support group and more than a community of good friends. For me, this has been my “good grief.”
Healing from the loss of a loved one is a process, which sometimes leaves people feeling isolated in their pain. We are here to support you on your healing journey. Grief Support Group is a safe place with caring people who walk alongside each other through one of life’s most difficult experiences. We share our stories, struggles, and progress in a supportive and encouraging environment. Join us anytime in this monthly drop-in community group.
Last Monday of each month – 6:30-8:00pm
Facilitated by Christina Hernandez