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July 18, 2011

Am I Losing It?

by Sherry Sharon © 2000

When we lose something very precious to us it can be painful beyond words. In fact, it can be agony. There is no vaccination against loss. We cannot build up an immunity to it. It is like a deep wound. It takes time to heal. If you do not allow time for a physical wound to heal, it can become infected. The same is true of a grief wound. It is normal to wonder if you could ever heal from a grief wound. In the process you may even wonder if you are "losing it." Good news there are normal, healthy responses to grief that can aid the body’s natural healing process. We will list the appropriate (natural) responses to grief and the inappropriate responses to grief. We will show you how you can survive a crisis of loss. It is normal to experience the peaks and the valleys. You may experience a peak (good day) and then without warning you hear a song, pass a place that had special meaning to you and the deceased, and it seems like you plummet to the valley below. Holidays, anniversaries, seasons of the year, fragrances can trigger emotions. It is good to set time aside for weeping (shedding tears from an overwhelming emotion). It is good to set time aside for mourning (a period of time during which a death is mourned.) "To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die...a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance..." (Ecclesiastes 3) You may experience some of the following reactions to grief. They are to be expected. If you defer them, it may prolong the grief process.

APPROPRIATE (NATURAL) RESPONSE TO GRIEF
Anger | Appetite changes | Confusion | Denial | Depression | Disorganization | Disorientation | Emotional pain | Empty feeling |Error prone | Fatigue | Fear | Feelings of panic | Feelings of rejection | Feeling overwhelmed | Forgetfulness | Guilt | Heartache | Hurt | Inability to concentrate | Irritability | Loneliness | Loss of identity | Loss of motivation | Mental pain | Numbness | Peaks & valleys | Physical pain | Relief | Shock | Sleep disruptions | Stress | Tears | Thinking you see or hear the person who died | Weeping | Weight gain | Weight loss |

INAPPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO GRIEF
Some of the reactions listed as appropriate can become inappropriate. The difference is in the degree, intensity, duration and frequency of these responses.
Prolonged depression that immobilizes you for weeks at a time
Anger that is out of control
Repressed feelings
Substance abuse
Thoughts of self-destruction
Failure to take care of your basic needs
Isolation - withdrawal from other people
Not wanting to get out of bed
Despair - "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)

HOW CAN I SURVIVE THIS CRISIS?
Talk about your loss
Use the deceased’s name. Let others know it will make you feel better if they do likewise. Encourage others to share memories with you of what the deceased meant to them. For example, "I remember when..."
Record your thoughts in a journal
Record your thoughts, special memories, the things you wish you had said and done, what you miss about the deceased.
Record your feelings: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Record the special things someone has done for you that meant a lot to you during this difficult time. Children can make a treasure box of their memories of the deceased.
Get plenty of rest
Pace yourself. Get plenty of rest, good nutrition and exercise.
Take a walk.
Eat something even if you do not feel like it. Take vitamins.
Consider a living memorial: Plant a tree, shrub, rosebush or a rose garden in memory of the deceased. Put flowers on the altar, or make a donation to a worthy cause in memory of the deceased.
Avoid making major decisions immediately following a loss
Beware of scam artists that prey on those going through crisis. Before making major financial decisions talk to someone: your pastor, your banker, an investment counselor, etc. Before you sell your home consider renting it out for a period of time. Before quitting a job think about taking a temporary leave of absence. Before moving in with family go for an extended visit with the family. Before changing geographical location vacation there for a period of time to see if you can adjust to the climate changes, etc.
Don’t worry about tomorrow
Get through the day an hour at a time. "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)
Give yourself some tender loving care
Pamper yourself. Take a warm bubble bath. Read a good book. There will probably come a time when you may want to get a new hairdo, or a new outfit.
Find someone who has been through the experience
Take time to mourn
If your child has been killed, bring purpose out of a tragedy. For example, form a group like MADD, establish legislation like Megan’s Law, etc. Turn your mourning into creative energy. For example, if you sew, make a memory quilt. Use scraps of material taken from the deceased’s shirts, jeans, etc., to make the quilt blocks. If you make doll dresses, make dresses from the deceased’s clothing and give them as a gift to a special friend of the deceased.
Reach out to others
Stay active. Become a volunteer in a hospital, senior center, nursing home, hospice organization, widowed persons service, soup kitchen. Read books for the blind. Pour coffee for stranded travelers at a bus station, train depot, or airport during the holiday season. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
Take a trip you have always wanted to take
If you are financially able, join a tour group or remodel a room in your home.
Allow the Comforter to come

Isaiah 61:1-3 - "He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...to comfort all who mourn... and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair..."

II Corinthians 1:3,4 - "praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

Isaiah 49:13 - "Shout for joy, O heavens, rejoice O earth, burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones."

Psalm 56:8 - "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?"

Isaiah 53:4,5 tells us that Jesus is "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief... that "he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..." The Hebrew word for the word "sorrows" here is used of both mental and physical pain.

Psalm 30:5 - "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

John 16:20-24 - "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
{I know I really need to do some of the stuff on this list, but right now, I seem so down in the dumps... Oh Yeah, I can act happy & react happily over the phone, but inside I'm still so broken}

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