“Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.” ~ Unknown
November is the month in which we recall the faithful departed in a special way. It begins, of course, with the celebration of All Saints Day followed by All Souls Day. On All Saints Day, we remind ourselves that we are all saints-in-the-making and we call to mind many of our favorite saints, their example, and what they mean to us. On All Souls Day, we remember, quite personally, our family and friends who have passed away and are no longer with us. We commend them to God and pray for consolation.
Those who have lost someone special in their lives will tell you the same things:
1. Grief can cut deeply into a person’s life
2. Grief is different for each and every one of us
3. Grief is ongoing
We know that grief is individual. That is why it is not very helpful to tell another person how he or she should be feeling at any point in time. We have an idea of stages of grief but we do not have time frames for those stages. Anyone can go through stages quickly or slowly or return to a stage over and over again. It all depends upon the person.
As the Church focuses on the end during these final days of Ordinary Time, we use this time of the year to remember our dead and reflect upon our grief. We know that God has something better in store for us but there is often a disconnect between head-heart-soul when we grieve.
If you are grieving, do not impose time limits on yourself just because others tell you that you “should be over it” already. Do not think that you should be at any given stage of grief because others tell you where you should be. Take your cues from your heart.
If you find that the grief is too overwhelming for you, you could be trapped in a pathological type of grief and might benefit from the help of a counselor or therapist. We cannot always do these things on our own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Know that our grief will not end. It will change in time and we will be able to bear it better. Allow yourself to feel and go through the hurt that grief causes so that you may find yourself healing and becoming more whole.
FAITH ACTION: Ask the Lord to console you in your grief and give you the knowledge that your loved ones are in His presence.