This post is for all who are grieving (and who will grieve) so basically everyone needs to read this.
I’ve been healing from loss for over a decade and I want to share some advice. It’s important, so listen up.
Grief is hard and the only thing that makes it harder is trying to carry your grief all by yourself.
Unfortunately, our culture, including church culture, doesn’t make it easy for grievers to feel like they (and their pain) belong. We are encouraged to grieve our own way which is code for ‘keep your grief at a safe distance from others, it makes them uncomfortable’.
So, we try to grieve on our own (big mistake – but we try anyway).
And when we finally return to life (a little less broken and less of a burden just like we thought we were supposed to), we are told things like ‘if you hadn’t gone through your loss you wouldn’t be who you are now.’
This kind of response is soul crushing to grievers. I’m sure you can relate.
It still hurts my heart more than a decade later when people tell me that if Aubrey and Ellie didn’t die I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t be helping others heal after loss.
My loss is not made ‘worth it’ because I chose healing. My girls’ lives are not more expendable because some good came after their deaths. My pain wasn’t for something more that I just couldn’t see until now.
My losses mattered. My pain was real. And the healing you see came at a cost.
So, what do I do when others tell me these wounding, albeit well-meaning, statements?
I forgive them.
Even though I feel like giving them a piece of my mind so they can see the missing pieces of my heart, I forgive them.
Over and over, everyday.
Why? Because forgiveness heals.
And I don’t know about you but I want to live in a healed world, not a hurting one. And I want to be a healed person, not a hurting one.
So even though my babies died and sometimes I feel like no one really gets how much it hurt or how hard I had to work to heal or how unfair it is to have my pain dismissed and invalidated, I forgive.
Not because they deserve it, but because I do.
And if the world is going to change, the change starts with us right?
If you know what I’m talking about and you are raging because no one sees your pain, understands you loss, or wants to walk with you through it – forgive them.
You have too much to carry to add resentment to your list.
Then use the emotional energy you freed up by choosing forgiveness to go find the people who do see you, validate your pain, and are willing to walk through this season right by your side.
I promise, healing will flow when you choose forgiveness. It’s like getting out of pain prison.
You are not alone. I understand how you feel. And you are not who you are because of your pain, you are who you are because of what you decided to DO with your pain.
What you do with your pain is the most important decision you’ll ever make.
And remember, healed people heal people.
Be one of those people.
If you want more healing tools, download my FREE Grief Guide.
How has forgiveness helped you heal?
Send me an email at Rachel@thegriefgal.com and tell me about it. I’d love to know.