I recently visited with the Ohatchee Church of Christ near Gadsden, Alabama to attempt to bring some hope and help to a number of bereaved parents. I won’t try to tell you their stories. Aside from privacy, these are their stories to tell, not mine. But hearing them and seeing the tears reminded me how bitter grief is, especially when saying goodbye to one of your own children. We had a flexible three hours to work with.
During the first hour we talked about the reality of grief, what it feels like, how it behaves, what to expect. We talked about several Bible passages that give descriptions of grief. No doubt these were passages we have read over quickly until that certain kind of pain has come to reside in our own hearts.
In our second hour together we shared some signals that we are ‘getting better’. The sorrow that bereaved parents carry never really goes away, but we do learn to function better while we adjust to this loss. This part of our day was dedicated to helping us make some next steps and realize that we do want to move ahead through our grief. That does not mean, of course, that we leave behind our lost loved ones.
Finally, in the third hour we talked about the transition from the helplessness of grief to the healing that comes from being a helper. Of course a lot of mistakes are made by those who intend no harm, but say terrible things to people who are saddened by loss. So we shared some good things to say, some good support groups that might give an outlet both for ourselves and for reaching out to others who are hurting.
I’m grateful to hear some good things from the group that gathered and I hope that there was something there to give some hope for brighter days ahead. I know I met some wonderful people. I could tell, even though their hearts were broken, that they were great Christian people of faith. Being a person of faith doesn’t mean we have all the answers. It means we don’t give up on God when we no longer have the answers.
If you have any interest in having me come to spend a few hours together like this at your church, let me know. My only qualification for sharing this information is compassion and empathy, I’ve been through this terrible experience.
I added a permanent page of grief resources to my website HERE. I ran that as a blog post a few days ago but decided to keep it on the front of the site for handy reference.
My thanks to longtime minister Wayne Dunaway and the Ohatchee Church for allowing me to come. Thank you for reading. JD