This past weekend was a tough one for me. My sister-in-law passed away unexpectedly leaving behind 7 grown children with 29 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. It was tough not only because of the surprise that she was taken so quickly after living an active and healthy life, but because she is the one of the few sister-in-laws which helped me when we were first married. My husband’s family has two branches. There are six children from one father until he was killed from a work related accident, and two children from another father who was not fondly looked upon by the other children. My husband was the youngest of all eight which made me the youngest sister-in-law. We spend a lot of time with his brother and wife when first married in camping weekends, Thanksgiving trips, and holiday barbeques. I loved watching how they raised their 7 children. She will be greatly missed.
Everyone has lost someone close to them in death: everyone. No one is exempt. We all deal differently when someone passes on. According to Steven Eastmond, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, “Grief is the emotional, and often physical, response we have when we experience loss. The more profound the loss, the more profound the grief will be. Grief can involve virtually every emotion or can leave us feeling numb and disconnected from the world around us” (Steven Eastmond, The Healing Power of Grief, Ensign, January, 2014).
This emotional loss can came from many different experiences we have in life and it is a trial for us to get back to our happy self. This takes time and should not be rushed as feeling the hurt from grief helps us to heal. It sounds crazy but the trials we have are our own and when it really hurts because of the grief we feel it’s actually healing to our emotions.
An interesting perspective from author, Michael Brent Collings:
“No matter who you are, how rich or poor, how healthy or sickly, how happy or sad, our life is the hardest thing we will ever go through.
We look at others’ lives and think, “How easy that person has it,” or “At least I’m not in their shoes!” But the reality is those people’s emotional/spiritual muscles are being tried just as much as each of ours.
Think about this: Go to the gym. One man is struggling to bench press four hundred pounds. He’s huge, but he can barely do this. Face red, veins popping, at the verge of embolism. He does it, but only barely, and only with help.
Next to him: another man. Scrawny, working his way back from a serious injury and struggling to bench fifty pounds. A wreck of a physique, and he can barely do this. Face red, veins popping, at the verge of embolism. He does it, but only barely, and only with help. One of them lifts more, but who struggles the most?”
When we take the time to grieve and understand pain through trauma our emotions heal. I never liked being sad or angry but I had to face these emotion when those close to me passed away. Parents, spouse, children or close friends leaving the earth causes incredible emotional pain but it doesn’t mean you have no faith. This emotion is a necessary life experience.
Seasoned psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan argues that it’s the “avoidance and denial of the dark emotions that results in the escalating psychological disorders of our time: depression, anxiety, addiction, psychic numbing, and irrational violence.” So with our grief we are to accept the inevitable which will help heal our emotions over all (Greenspan, Miriam. Healing through the dark emotions: the wisdom of grief, fear, and despair. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala Publications, 2003. Print).
Heavenly Father has a plan for us and as we live through these trials, we can strengthen our emotions. Talking it through over and over, writing, praying, reading, crying, or singing; however you feel helps your emotional state will heal you from your loss.
The time in which it takes depends on each individual as time heals all wounds but it will happen. The sun will shine again, your soul will feel joy again and life will continue on. We just need to accept our grief as a healing power.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.