When our child died, it was obviously not our choice!
Going through the darkness of grief is not our choice.
The pain that cannot be described is not our choice.
The way our brain is scrambled for so long and we can’t think straight is not our choice.
I could go on, but you know exactly what I am talking about.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to getting off the path of this nightmarish journey we found ourselves thrown onto.
But I am not here to talk about the things we can’t control and the choices we cannot make. I want to talk about the choices we can make.
At the beginning, grief takes over EVERYTHING. But as the weeks and months go by, we find ourselves able to make small choices. We may choose to cook a somewhat decent meal instead of having fast food again or a bowl of cereal. We might choose to try and go out for coffee with a friend (in public). We might choose to pick up our Bible and try to read it (and sometimes put it right back down, for various reasons).
I want to help you move forward when you get to that point of being able to start making some choices, because some of those can be major, such as choosing to stay mad at God and blaming Him and refusing to allow Him to ease the pain in your heart that keeps you an angry, bitter person. (Ouch! Yes, I said it…)
Here is a key that may help you unlock some of those choices you need or want to make.
Instead of choosing to be against something, choose to be for something.
For instance, you can choose to be against facing another week because you can’t bear being away from your child for longer than you already have. Or you can choose to be for going through this next week because it gets you that much closer to being reunited with your child.
You can choose to be against spending time with a friend, because you feel guilty for doing something that might be kind of fun when your child can’t have any fun with his or her friends any more. Or you could choose to be for spending time with your friend, because you might get a chance to talk about your son or daughter with someone who will listen. Or because having an enjoyable evening might be like a needed medicine to your soul. Or because you can picture your child watching you enjoy yourself, and seeing you smile (and maybe even laugh), realizing it would make them happy instead of seeing you so horribly angry and miserable.
It can help even more to take just a minute and write down at least one thing (or a list of things) you are going to do your best to choose to do for something, instead of continuing to choose against something.
I did that recently, after being prompted by my friend Mary. One of the things I specifically wrote down in my list was, “I choose to be a size 10/12.” As Becca went through her severe illness and after she died, I allowed food to be a comfort and a distraction for me, gaining a good thirty pounds, becoming the heaviest I have ever been (including my five pregnancies). I have not been able to get it off for the last three to four years. Truthfully, I have not been motivated enough to want to stop eating sweets and other unhealthy foods enough to follow through. Until now. Since I wrote that down, I am ecstatic that I am down over ten pounds and still going!
Go ahead and write it out. I choose to _______________________.
And if you can’t think of how to flip it around to do it for a good reason, ask the Holy Spirit to show you one. (My motivation to choose to finally get serious about my unhealthy eating is being able to fit into the mother-of-the-bride gown I wore to Becca’s wedding for the red-carpet Author Academy Awards in which my book When Tragedy Strikes is a finalist.)
And with that, I choose to be for climbing into bed , tired but at a fairly decent hour (which means staying focused on working my way through today’s heavy schedule) instead of being against my day, feeling like it is out of control with too much going on (which means distracting myself from what I should be doing and climbing into bed exhausted because it is extremely late by the time I get everything done).
So, what are you going to be for, instead of against, that will help you move toward light and life? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
We are coming up on the holiday season, when there are many events that are difficult to attend. If you would like a list of ideas on how to handle these events, just let us know and we would be happy to send it to you.
GPS Hope exists to walk with grieving parents through the suffocating darkness of child-loss to a place of hope, light and purpose.
We also support families, friends and coworkers who want to know how to support these parents both short and long-term.
- If you are a bereaved parent, we encourage you to connect with us on Facebook.
- If you are not a bereaved parent but want to support those who are, or want to follow us as we give hope to these precious parents, please connect with us at Friends of GPS Hope on Facebook.
- Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube channel.
Expressions of Hope is written by author and speaker Laura Diehl. Laura is a national keynote speaker and also a workshop speaker for both The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents USA national conferences. Laura has also been a guest on Open to Hope several times, and has hosted her own conferences, a virtual conference and many webinars. If you would like more information about Laura as a speaker for your next event, click here.