When thinking about the process of grief, depression is probably what comes to most people’s minds. Whether someone you care about has died, you’ve lost a job, or a relationship has ended, it’s natural to be sad. But depression is more than just being sad. It can also be feeling irritable and restless. Or it could be feeling “empty” inside, and not enjoying the things you used to do. Sometimes it shows up as feeling guilty about being happy at all after a loss, because you feel as though you should be sad all the time. A lot of times, people just find themselves without hope; they don’t feel like doing the things they used to enjoy, and don’t think they will ever feel better again.

As I’ve written in the last few articles, this doesn’t necessarily happen right after the loss. I remember working at the hospital, talking to a young man whose sister had unexpectedly died. The rest of the family was very expressive, crying loudly in the hallway and the waiting area, but he was just quiet. I walked with him down to the vending machines, and asked how he was doing. “I feel like I should be crying, but I just don’t. Is there something wrong with me?” I reassured him that the tears would come in time, when he was ready for them.  There is no “wrong way” to grieve.

Being sad is a natural expression of loss, and it takes time to find a new “normal.” It can be difficult, but the best way to deal with the sadness is to embrace it, to let yourself feel sad as you are able. It can feel overwhelming, especially at first, but in expressing those feelings, it’s easier to come to terms with them. Sometimes they can sneak up on you. Even years after her death, I occasionally smell something that reminds me of my Aunt Ida’s cooking, or hear a song that my cousin Susie used to sing to me when I was a child – and the tears will return. This is particularly true around the holidays, as we gather together and don’t quite know what to do with the absence at the table. Things aren’t the way they used to be, and it can take a long time to adjust to how things are now.

Grief can be complicated. King David mourned the loss of his son Absalom, even though Absalom had usurped the throne and started a civil war. David ordered his troops to spare Absalom, and when he found out that Absalom was dead he cried out, “My son Absalom! Absalom! My son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33) Despite Absalom’s betrayal, David still lost a son; one might even say that he had lost Absalom more than once, because of the rebellion, and had not been able to properly grieve that loss until after the death. Grief can involve both positive and negative feelings, and we shouldn’t judge ourselves (or others!) for those feelings.

Grieving takes a long time. It helps to talk about your feelings to someone you can trust, either a friend or in a bereavement group, with people who are also coping with similar losses. For some people, writing in a journal can be helpful. I’ve heard some powerful poetry come out of the experience of mourning; even if you don’t think you have talent as a writer, it can be therapeutic to express your feelings on paper.

Being sad after any kind of major loss is normal. However, if the sadness doesn’t seem to start to fade after a few months, and you’re not able to resume your previous activities or begin new ones, or if you have persistent thoughts of self-harm, professional counseling can be helpful and appropriate. Dealing with loss can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. In any case, you are covered by the sheltering wings of God as you continue on your journey.

Views: 63


You need to be a member of QuakerQuaker to add comments!

Join QuakerQuaker

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.

You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Kirby Urner posted a blog post

A Campus Curriculum

I'm reaching out to Friends in higher education with my recent Youtubes, which I'm free to…See More
4th month 13
Keith Saylor posted a blog post


Iconography: The process of guiding and informing human relationships and interactions through…See More
4th month 10
Patricia Dallmann posted a blog post

New essay at Abiding Quaker: "A Colony of Heaven"

The following excerpt is from a new post titled "A Colony of Heaven" which can be found at…See More
4th month 6
Mike Shell posted a discussion
4th month 4
Patty Quinn liked Mike Shell's discussion Weekly Online Worship with Quaker Universalist Fellowship
4th month 2
Patty Quinn liked Kirby Urner's discussion Quakerism and Religious Freedom
4th month 2
Kirby Urner posted a discussion

Quakerism and Religious Freedom

I've only recently learned what a lot of people already know:  the well-advertised Shen Yun dance…See More
4th month 2
Jonathan Smith liked Mike Shell's discussion Weekly Online Worship with Quaker Universalist Fellowship
4th month 1

© 2019   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service