In today’s blog, I want to share something that is based on what a pareavor, Libby Farrell, wrote about the pitfalls of grief.
We will face pitfalls on this unwanted grief journey after the death of our child. The valley of the shadow of grief is real and it is big. There can be many different feelings and emotions while on this unwanted journey.
Fear can feel overwhelming.
- We fear for our children who are still here with us.
- We fear “moving on.”
- We fear people will forget our child.
- We fear that there is a timeline for grief, and we are not doing it right.
- We have a fear of laughing and living life in a way that feels good again.
We can also fear that our child might not be in heaven, but we don’t have all the information to know that. What we DO know is that it is not God’s will that any perish. We can trust that God did everything possible to offer our child the gift of salvation, including that moment they crossed over from this world to the next. Your child probably realized how deeply they are loved by Him and said yes.
So, we can choose to live in fear that our child might not be in heaven, or we can choose to live in faith, trust and peace, that our child is with Him. I highly recommend choosing faith and peace, because God is right, fear brings torment.
If you struggle with these fears or others, cry out to God. Scream at Him, tell Him your true fears; let it all out. Then ask Him to help you hand over those fears to Him, because God is big enough to carry them for us and wants to exchange that fear for peace.
Fear is such a big thing for us that I did an entire podcast series with individual episodes talking about the different fears. They are episodes 12-18, Click here for episode twelve, and you can go from there to listen to the ones that affect you.
- Depression & Anxiety
This is not something to be ashamed of. It is okay to not be okay. It does not mean you aren’t a good enough Christian. It is okay, and does not show weakness, to need and seek professional guidance and help.
If your stomach is having problems, or your knee keeps buckling, or your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, you don’t have a problem with having someone look at it and help you deal with it. The brain is no different. Please get help if you need it, and don’t be ashamed or feel guilty.
- Longings and triggers
A longing is a strong, persistent desire or craving, an aching, especially for something distant or unattainable.
We long for our child who has left this earth. We long to hear their laugh, be able to give them a hug, or to hear them say, “I love you.” However, we can be thankful that this is not “unattainable,” but only “distant,” as we will see them again someday in a place where there are no more tears, no more pain, and no more separation.
You will have waves of grief that will take you under. When that happens, allow yourself some alone time to reflect on the happy times spent together. Write down what made you love and appreciate that person and the positive moments spent together. Reflect on the good times. Read them out loud.
You can also read Psalms and Lamentations because so much of it is crying out to God from a place of pain and suffering, which we can relate to.
We will all have times of regret that can overwhelm us. At some point we have to let them go, or we will forever be brought to our knees from the bullying pain these thoughts bring. What is done is done.
Your child does not have any regrets. Our children are living their best life ever, and they are not dwelling on what we should have done differently.
So next time those regrets get stuck in your head, journal what you think their eternal home is like. Get caught up in imagining what heaven truly looks like. Listen to songs and read books about heaven and thank Him for the new life that He created for our loved one.
When you join your child, those regrets will be totally wiped away forever. Why wait until then? Release yourself from them right now.
- Loneliness and Isolation
Be prepared for your friendships to change. Your circle of friends will start to look different. Many of those you thought would be there for you just aren’t, for various reasons.
Just being around other people isn’t what we are longing for, though. It is being around people who care, and who will allow us to be whoever we need to be, at any given moment, in our grieving.
This is why pareavors gravitate to each other. So reach out to grief support groups, reach out to other parents who are walking the same unwanted journey.
You will have times when you will want to Isolate, and that is ok. Sometimes you need this. But it can also make things worse. Put yourself on a two-day rule. No isolating past two days, because then it becomes unhealthy. If you can’t get past it on the 3rd day, you need to reach out to someone who won’t try to fix you but just be with you (like a friend or family member) or someone who can help pull you out of that dangerous place (like a pastor or counselor).
- Thinking you cannot go on without your child here with you
You will feel like you can’t go on living another day, but you can. You may feel like you cannot go on for another minute, but you can. You may not like hearing this, but God still has a purpose for your life. Seek God’s heart and pray about what He has for you to do that will help others in some way. You may even find it is doing something in your child’s honor and memory.
When you feel like you can’t live another day, change your surroundings, go for a drive, be in church or with a friend, pastor or therapist who can help walk you through. Go outside and scream to God, pray and truly lay it all out to Him.
God can help you through all these things that can be pitfalls. We cannot get out of them on our own, nor should we try. This is when we need to fall into the arms of God and let Him carry us.
This was taken from the Grieving Parents Sharing Hope podcast, episode 200: Six Pitfalls of Grief. Click here to listen to the audio directly on the GPS Hope website, or look for the Grieving Parents Sharing Hope podcast on your favorite listening app.
Not only is God with you, there is a community here at Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope) that is with you. If you would like to connect with us, the best way to do so is to sign up below and start receiving the Weekly Word of Hope emails, sent out each Wednesday.
Laura’s newest book, Reflections of Hope: Daily Readings for Bereaved Parents will be available in a few weeks. To find out more, click here. You can also sign up to be one of the first ones to know when the book is available, along with a few bonus items you can receive if you order it right away.
Expressions of Hope is provided by Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). The founders, Dave and Laura Diehl, travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests, and bringing intimate weekend retreats to bereaved parents. Laura is also a singer/songwriter and the author of multiple award-winning books.
If you would like more information about bringing Dave and Laura to you for an event, please send an email to email@example.com.
If you are interested in bringing GPS Hope to your area for a weekend retreat click here.
- Check out the Grieving Parents Sharing Hope weekly podcast
- Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube channel.
- If you are a bereaved parent, we encourage you to connect with us on our private Facebook page or our public Facebook page.
- 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.
Libby Farrell says
Thank you so much Laura for using my writing about the Pitfalls of Grief. I feel honored that you used it.
I have no fear of whether my son is in Heaven. Brady was a forgiven baptized child of God, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, and I know he’s with jesus!!!
It is such a comfort to me and causes me no fear about Heaven, Because Jesus Lives, We too will live!
Knowing Jesus Lives can be such a comfort to each of us parents and loved ones.
Laura Diehl says
Libby, thank you for allowing me to share what you wrote with others. I am so very glad you have a peace that Brady is in heaven waiting for you. This seemed like a good opportunity to share with those who are tormented by the fear that their child might not be there. Thank you for your encouraging words here for others!