“What are some of the tools in your grief survival kit?” This question was posed on Quora, a site I sometimes respond to. I thought it was worth mentioning some of the items that helped me survive after the devastating loss of my first husband. They included the following:
- Family/friends who allowed me to be exactly where I was–numb, inattentive, distant, glazed, aching–and didn’t try to “fix” me.
- Faith in the God who has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5)
- Participation in a grief recovery program along with other new widows and widowers. At www.griefshare.org you can enter your zip code and find a group, as well as resources in your area. Processing loss with a trained facilitator and with others in the same life crisis was very helpful to me in understanding some of the impacts, and the timeline, of grief.
- Prayer – my own and those of others for me.
- God’s promises through scripture, such as the one at right which He gave me following Jerry’s death.
- Reading some excellent books on grief, its impact, process, recovery. I didn’t read these immediately after Jerry’s death. I needed a bit of time to get through the initial shock before absorbing others’ ideas about grief.
- A body pillow I purchased to hug at night.
- A heating pad for those times when my body, in shock, couldn’t get warmed through. A great tip from my nurse friend, Fritz.
- Work, or projects (like cleaning out the garage!) that kept my mind from focusing only on my loss.
- Writing … whether a journal, notes to others, or blogposts … was another way of releasing the feelings tumbling about in my brain and heart.
- More sleep.
These were some of my tools. What has helped you deal with grief?