LESSONS SHAREDDec 20, 2022
EACH ONE, HELP ONE
“Don’t hoard your lessons!” Those words hammered in the back of my mind one day about three months after my second wife died. By that time, I’d been asked to share about my grief journey. Contrary, or maybe not, to what one may think, it came quite easy to talk about and was beneficial to me. What I didn’t envision was the long line of people wanting to talk to me afterwards.
Sensing the message may have been from God, I was taking it one step at a time. I recalled that after my first wife’s passing, it was those who had “been there, done that” with loss who seemed to resonate the most with my hurting spirit inside. Comments from well-meaning friends who had never experienced an extreme loss seemed to be a bit shallow. However, other widows and widowers made statements that rang true. So, I took up the mantle to be constantly on call (I’m an all or nothing type of man) to share important things about grief with others when the opportunity arose.
One significant example happened about three years after my first wife died. We were living on a small ranch, and I had hay for sale. A new neighbor bought some hay from me. As we loaded the bales on his truck, our conversation included why he had moved to the area. One of the reasons that emerged was the accidental death of his brother. Eventually I picked up that he felt a lot of guilt over the accident. This was an opportunity to “help one.” I told him about the guilt I had over my wife’s passing and how I dealt with it. I could see it sinking in. He was greatly relieved by my sharing.
With my intent to be “on call” to talk about my experiences with grief, it became apparent that I needed to write down things as they happened, or in recollection so I would not quickly forget them. Thus, I began to send email “updates” to my eight adult children so they could “learn” with me. I kept a notepad nearby and a journal to record lessons as they became clear to me. I had a file on my computer with recorded verbal notes and written ones as well.
And, of course, in my case it resulted in publishing articles and even a book.
I found a special message in the Bible for those who are grieving to share their experiences. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:3,4)
It has been said that often our “messes” can become a “mission.” Yours does not have to be a public one, but in the course of time you will come across others who can benefit from your story of grief. Each one, help one. And without a doubt, sharing your experiences of loss also becomes a source of healing for you as well.
You are welcome to read more of my “notes on grieving” on my blog at; www.griefreliefministries.com/blog
Want to learn how to be a better friend to someone experiencing loss?
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