Let’s begin with a passage about the faithfulness of God from Isaiah 43. God says:
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you walk through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
It has been almost seven years since the death of our handsome, funny, talented, beautiful son. As I write this, I am transported back to the night that two young policemen came to our door in the middle of the night. They gave us the news of his death, and they cried with us that night.
In the days, weeks and months that followed, only a sheer act of will kept us putting one foot in front of the other. We found comfort from our church and dear friends and family, professional help from a seasoned Grief Counselor, and understanding and solace from the other members of SOS (Survivors of Suicide) and Compassionate Friends. With their help and through the Grace of God, we kept moving forward and finding ways to cope. We treasure the memories of our son, and we are confident that we will be with him again in Heaven.
One of the great blessings of this time has been my involvement with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, specifically the SURVIVOR CARE GROUP. Several weeks after a Chaplain responds to the scene of a tragic death, members of the Survivor Care group contact family members and loved ones of the deceased. Members send letters, make telephone contacts, and conduct in-person visits to the survivors of these tragedies, to ensure they receive referrals and information about support groups and organizations that provide the ongoing help they need. Most importantly, these volunteers provide a ministry of presence to those in our community who are mourning the sudden and tragic death of a loved one.
Tips for Healthy Grieving
Keep the following tips in mind as you begin to recover from your loss:
• Each of us experiences grief differently, depending on our coping style and life experiences.
• The healing process happens gradually, and can't be rushed or ignored.
• It's okay to cry... but it's also okay if you find that you can't. Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it's not the only one.
• There's no set time frame for grieving, and different individuals may take different amounts of time to heal.
• Allow yourself to face your feelings and express them. Try talking to a trusted friend or spiritual leader, joining a support group, or writing about your loss in a journal.
• The mind and body are deeply connected. Though it may be hard at first, remember to take care of yourself physically so that you can allow yourself to begin to recover emotionally.
It's always okay to seek professional help when you need to.
Survivor Care Team Member