“ Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
LOSS is not a very happy summer thought, but many of us are or have recently experienced loss. This can enter our experience through death, illness, change in relationships, loss of a pet, Job loss or change, move to a new community, moving on to a new grade, having a new diagnosis of illness, change in health or activity status, financial change, or other ways. No matter how we are faced with loss it gives us a challenge. Some losses are not even negative ones. The loss of a nagging habit, loss of an abusive or difficult relationship, or loss of a stressor can still give us pause to shift gears and strive for new beginnings. God has assured us that we are never alone in these losses and that we will be strengthened, made more aware, upheld, and guided in a positive manner. The trick is to LOOK for God’s guidance and SEEK to take care of ourselves as we heal and head in new directions.
From a wellness point of view loss , grief, and change prompt us in numerous ways as follows:
- Face the loss of grief head on, look at it clearly and identify how it affects us
- Connect with our spiritual source ( God) and pause to listen for guidance
- Communicate the loss through prayer, journaling, conversations with friends or pastor, meditation, music, phone, or internet.
- Seek support through the above methods, loca l grief support groups, reading, or other support systems that allow for working through the grief steps and seeking new directions.
- Focus on personal wellness. Be aware of eating wisely, avoiding smoking or drinking or drug support, including a daily multivitamin to counteract the effects of stress, encourage adequate sleep and rest, exercise, include spiritual support in each day (Bible reading, prayer, & meditation)
- Reach out to others for support, resources, and guidance. Make positive responses to invitations, calls, offers for help, and use of local resources.
- Study the steps of grief: shock & numbness; denial & withdrawal; acknowledgment and pain, and finally adaptation and renewal. Know the path through these steps needs to be taken before complete healing occurs. (stages may not be ‘in order’ or may need repeating).
- Look up, be open to laughter, allow the tears, make the goal be a return to love and life!!
Great resources for dealing with loss include the following:
- “How to Survive the Loss of a Love”, McWilliams, Bloomfield, & Colgrove
- “Life after Loss”, Bob Deits
- “Good Grief”, Granger Westburg
- “Necessary Losses”, Judith Voirst
- “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf”, Leo Buscaglia
FEAR NOT—-YOU WILL BE UPHELD
Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN
Parish Nurse Consultant