He died suddenly. She wasn't prepared. Their child wasn't prepared. His death took them by surprise and both were left with a gaping hole in their lives.
For his wife, the pain of his absence was so acute, it took determination for her to make a deal with herself to keep going without him, keep living for the next five minutes, then another set of five, and another ...
Even for those who are in situations in which the death of a loved one is drawing close, and they do what they can to prepare themselves emotionally for it, when someone we love walks on, it usually hurts, and often it hurts a whole lot more than we ever anticipated.
There's no way I know of to escape feeling the pain, unless of course you're drugged into a stupor that doesn't allow you to feel much of anything. Sometimes, even that's necessary, at least for a while but for most of us, it isn't an option.
The good news is our future doesn't have to include a perpetually broken heart or a life saturated with grief.
In the beginning though, it can surely feel like that is exactly how it will be for the rest of our days. For many of us if often feels as if our new normal crush us under the heavy weight of grief that's landed on our souls and no matter which way we walk or run, there it is, suffocating us and stealing the light.
Lots of folks, numbed by grief, get through the following days and weeks running on auto-pilot. Others run around getting involved in any and every activity they can dive into, doing whatever they can to keep their minds off of the absence of their loved one.
The varieties of ways people deal with a loss are many, and although they all have a common thread, they're likely to be augmented by the individual's personality, habits or beliefs.
When I've endured the pain of my own losses, friends and family were a huge help in sharing their strength and support through the many difficult hours and days, and even months that followed. But for the hurt that ran too deep for people to reach, Jesus Christ was my salve and savior. I have to acknowledge that He has been perfectly consistent to comfort me in ways no other could, at least when I allowed it.
A palette of helps ...
One man in a thousand will stick closer than a brother ...
Making the cut
Of all the books I read on how to help others cope and endure the pain of a loss, there have been few of them, other than the Bible, that I would actually consider referring someone to, or even going as far as encouraging them to read.
But, of the few that made the cut, one I would like to introduce you to is Safe Harbor, A Workbook For Dealing With Loss by Victoria Warner of Life Talks - I Write.
There are several reasons I love this book, and I'll start with one of them being what provoked the author to write it.
It was written to help others cope with the onset of the pain of a loss that she'd endured herself after the sudden death of her husband. She wrote it because she cared enough to help others help themselves to work through grief.
Her intent wasn't to get rich, but rather to richly bless.
She did it because she felt there was a need for a simply-written and easily understood message that could be used immediately by others facing and living with the same pain she endured after the loss of her first husband.
She wanted to let them know they weren't alone, that others truly care and to share some tools of wisdom gained from experience that would help them through their own grief.
This book isn't only readable, it's workable. It's something people can use and employ every single day for as long as they need help.
They can make notes, list things that are important to them, or things they're struggling with, and what they're doing to get better or over the hurdles. It's liberally peppered with suggestions and exercises for nearly every phase and feeling we endure when we're grieving a loss.
For those folks who are left with responsibility and day-to-day requirements of caring for themselves and others, this is a very affordable and remarkably useful workbook.
There's no time gap between the loss and when it can start helping. It provides almost immediate assistance beginning with the acknowledgement and understanding that a loss has occurred. From there it takes its readers by the hand, leading them through and forward.
It maintains reassurance that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel and the intense pain won't last forever, if they don't want it to. Also, it's written so simply that those with basic reading skills, from young adults and up, can benefit from it.
Living with a grim outlook is a choice. I hope if you're grieving a loss, you'll ultimately choose to work toward recovery rather than allowing it to engulf you.
After recovering, and continuing to recover, from my own losses, even a cemetery isn't a place of sadness and finality for me.
I find most of them to be beautiful memorials and places of peace. For me they serve as reminders of lives lived in this realm that have walked on to the next but for many generations won't be forgotten.
Again, living with a grim outlook is a choice ... sometimes we just need a bit of help in being able to make a positive decision for our own well being.
This wonderful workbook might not be something you're in need of. But, it might be just the thing to gift to someone else who's needing a hand in coping and recovering from grief.
If you'd like to purchase a copy for yourself, or to gift to a friend, just click the pic and it'll take you right to the purchase area for it on amazon.com.
Past the book is Victoria Warner's website, Life Talks - I Write. Her site's been updated, complete with a name change, since this book first published, so please use this current information to get better acquainted with her and her work.
On LTIW, you'll find some excellent articles she's written. Some deal with loss but all of them also deal with life and living it -- the good bits, the tough bits, bad bits, puzzling and comical bits.
You can also get in touch with the author there, via the site's contact page. She loves to interact with her readers and encourages communication from them.
The book's foreward is written by Prof. Maria Jordan of marcoujor's musings, who also has worked closely with those experiencing grief, and has worked through her own losses many times over.
That's it for this one.
God bless you! Thanks again for the read and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity.
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