An unfortunate by-product of grief is abandonment. Many people, as well meaning as they are, have no idea how to address a person who is grieving. When a death takes place those mourning gather together at the funeral or memorial to comfort the ones who have suffered the immediate loss; and to some degree get comfort for themselves.
Once the funeral is over the comfort of others usually disappears and you are left alone after a week or two. The cards stop coming, the meals cease, the phone calls end. You are expected to resume your job duties after a mere three days! (I personally find that barbaric)
For everyone else, life goes on as it did before. Perhaps there is a spot to be filled at the card table, or a seat to be filled at the ball game, or a job to be taken over at the office. But for the one who has lost someone they love and shared life with, life will never be the same.
The people on the fringes of life have no idea how to relate to the mourner after the initial period of grief. They fear that bringing up the loss will cause you to be sad and sorrowful all over again. You may appear to be doing well, have your “game face” on, but inside you are deeply, mortally wounded and to some degree people know that. They fear causing you to cry, or hurt so they in many cases say nothing about your loss with the exception of asking you how you are doing.
The one grieving is also struggling with this new set of life circumstances. The loss is profound and before you are truly ready you are thrust back into the normal things of life. Shock, numbness, and a host of other emotions are an ever-present part of your day. You experience moments where you just burst into tears, or wish you could.
Some of this is visible on your face and in your countenance, if you realize it or not. This is one reason people around you appear to be uncomfortable. No one wants to say the wrong thing so they may appear to be insensitive, hurrying you on through the grief process.
David was very familiar with the feelings of abandonment in times of grief. Take a prayerful look at Psalm 88 and read the words of his soul. In those 18 verses David grasps what it feels like to be left alone in misery and sorrow.
It is easy to become angry and bitter toward those who don’t understand what you are going through. Can I remind you that they truly don’t understand? With all of your emotional upheaval it is easy to become more upset over things that would not bother you.
Be merciful towards them in their ignorance and be aware that those who approach you from a purely business or functional standpoint most likely are not intending to be cruel. Pray for them and for their understanding, taking you cues from Job who prayed for his friends who were all of cruel, heartless and insensitive.
David received good comfort from the Lord in his times of distress; God gave him Jonathan who loved him as a brother and encouraged him. He also had the Lord to run to, as do we. God is ever merciful and kind and loving and His arms are big enough to hold the largest hurts.
He always hears our cries and our sorrows He will hear us.
When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.
Psalm 138:3 (NLT)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
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