When talking with people about their grief experience, I have often heard the question, “What am I going to do?” Sometimes this do can imply that there is a problem that needs to be fixed, or some activity that needs to be done to rid oneself of the painful emotions that are attached to their grief. The do is expressing a desire to get away from the experience in some way.
I have found that it can be helpful to re-frame the question and help the bereaved to see their current experience from a different perspective. So instead of asking, “What will I do?” I invite people to ask, “How will I live in or be present with this experience of loss?” This new question becomes an invitation of being rather than one of doing. I write in Grieving Hearts in Worship that, “being allows us to draw strength from our experiences rather than escaping or avoiding through our doing. This does not mean that there is not a time or place for doing, for there is. However, our ability to do is greatly influenced by our ability to be… being is not necessarily passive or without action. It is in ‘being’ present to our experiences that creative solutions emerge.”
Being present to our grief is allowing ourselves to feel the pain, to name it, to share it with a trusted friend. For some, journaling can be helpful, or writing poetry, or art work of some kind – finding a creative way to express what you are feeling inside can help you be present. Taking a walk in nature, or sitting in a quiet place and pay attention to what thoughts or memories and feelings emerge – lift them up as a prayer – even if it is anger you feel; God welcomes our whole being.
I continue to hold you in the healing light of God’s love