Listening to a post-Easter sermon about the disciple Thomas who expressed his doubts about the risen Christ, I was struck by his grief. Thomas was filled with doubt because of his grief and sense of loss. A grief so great that he couldn’t believe until he saw and experienced the Christ himself. Hearing about Christ’s encounters with the other disciples wasn’t enough for Thomas. He had to put his hands on the wounds to know for sure what had transpired.

I’ve been thinking about all the expressions of grief one might experience; disbelief, doubt, deep sorrow, hurt, regret and anger. Each individual’s grief is her own; and there is no right or one way to grieve a loss. In fact, during the grief journey, you may find yourself encountering the feelings of those around you and wondering why you don’t feel the same way. You may discover that strong emotions bubble up months or even years after a loss event; feelings that surprise or overtake you for a time.

Here are some strategies for facing your own responses to grief:

  • When you notice a strong emotion, give yourself room to be present to it. Instead of denying feelings, take time to be still with them. Notice, reflect on and honor whatever comes up.
  • Journal about your reactions to your grief journey trusting that they represent where you are now. You will not always be in this particular place in the process; relief does come.
  • Refrain from comparing your feelings to others. While someone near you may be expressing deep anger, sorrow may be your dominant feeling. Give yourself permission to be where you are in the present moment. Allow the feelings to come in their own time and try not to push them aside or rush through them. The way to navigate grief is to move through it at your own pace.

When Thomas was grieving the loss of his friend, he found support and comfort in touching the wounds. There are many ways to touch or attend our own wounds and help them heal. Give yourself tender mercy and compassion in your bereavement journey. Seek support from others. Be still and know that you are not alone.

Peace be with you,

Deb Buehler

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