H2O | a grieving mind

After writing my previous post on reading, I realized that it might be helpful to write up something more general about all the mental challenges that accompanied grief for me (and in ways still does). From there I might touch more specifically on certain areas that fall within this.

From the moment we found Alivia's lifeless body, my mind went into shock. From that point, lasting days and weeks on end, my mind and thoughts were doing things that I had never experienced before. The mind can only process so much at one time, and my mind was totally preoccupied with processing what just happened, was it real, and a multitude of things, too many to list. On top of that, was just the utter depths of sadness and sorrow. And also that my mind was exhausted. So, that left little room for thinking through normal life stuff.

For many months, others around me had to make decisions, think through and help clarify and explain things that would have been easy for the normal person to process. I was very slow and could barely do much with my days. I remember so many times, my sister would ask me if I wanted to do a certain thing on a given day or how I wanted to go about handling something and I literally could not give her an answer. She would just make a decision for me and go with it. I honestly did not care much about certain details and was just grateful someone was helping to decide something for me. And I knew that if I needed to, I could voice a preference. But that rarely happened.

During this season, I was also extremely forgetful. In the month following Alivia's death, I forgot my dad's birthday and neglected to include Dave's brother-in-law in a surprise party for him, to name a few. I even remember being in the grocery store and not even remembering why I was there. Added to this was the sleeping meds that I was on. In the early weeks it was hard to just close my eyes at any point during the day, especially at night. Memories would flood my mind. I took something at night that knocked me out and it was a means of grace for that season. However, they started to have adverse effects. I would do things that I later did not remember doing and even left burners on and faucets running for hours. Soon after these incidents, with God's help, I started to sleep with out the use of aids. But I still was forgetful of things that I normally would not have been, simply due to the grieving.

After awhile, all of this was frustrating for me. My capacity for doing things was so minimized. It was very humbling and the Lord did use that time to show me more of Him and His strength in my weakness. He did provide for every need. Dave wonderfully led me during this time. I remember trying to go about reading friend's blogs and all they were doing. It was the holiday season. I read about and saw pictures of other moms going about normal traditions with their kids - making cookies, crafts, and gifts. It was so tempting for me. I just could not do any of that. In fact, I needed help just to make cranberry bread for neighbors for Christmas. So, Dave asked me not to read blogs for a season and to minimize how much I was reading online. This was so helpful and enabled me to concentrate on the very simple things of life - clothing and feeding the girls, getting rest, and trusting God.

One thing I was able to do and served me was typing out my thoughts, fears and ways that I saw God at work. I did this primarily on my blog. It was too hard for me to write with pen and paper. My mind was so distracted when I tried to do this and I was often left crying. Typing was was easier. And because I was so desperate for the prayers of others, this was a way for friends and family to see where I was at and where I needed prayer. I also wanted to give God glory for each day that he carried me through and for others to see that I had met my absolute greatest fear face to face, and in it, God was sustaining me. As I think back, these were the times that the Lord gave me the most clarity of thought. No, I didn't understand much of what was going on, wasn't even able to remember how to cook a meal, but the Lord enabled me to think through and wrestle with truth like never before. And fruit was born in my soul.

During this season, I remember regularly thinking about 2 Corinthians 12:9,10b, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me...For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I was so weak, mentally, physically and emotionally. But the Lord was using my weakness to strengthen my soul. And He gave me the grace sufficient for each day. There were days that my mind was so full of pain that all I could do was cry and have my little girls pray for me. And even though I could not bake with them, or cook for them, the Lord was even doing a work in their hearts. He was imparting to them a desire for heaven and a better understanding of our Savior who has rescued our souls from the curse of sin and death.

If you are walking through grief, you probably can relate to the mental challenges I've touched on and many that I've haven't even mentioned (there are many). This is so normal. Where others are offering to help, let them. In fact, let them help as much as they are willing. It's a season for you to receive care and much of it. If someone asks you about preferences or to make a decision that you just cannot make at the moment, tell them so. And ask them to make the decision for you. Also, give yourself lots of time. Your mind will slowly start to process better, but it can take a long time. God will help you.

A word to friends and family. Be very understanding and patient during these times. Your grieving friend or relative is not going to remember or be able to process much. You may not receive returned emails or phone calls, even if you are a very close friend. It will best serve your grieving friend if you don't question them or make conclusions ("she's mad at me," or "I offended her", etc.). Just know her limitations and continue to serve, think the best and pray for her. Offer services or better yet, just tell her you will be doing _________ (making a meal, cleaning their house, babysitting, etc.) and simply ask that them to tell you if it would not serve. I often found that it was more helpful for someone to
tell me they were going to do something for me as opposed to asking if they could.

tessa  – (11:47 PM)  

thanks for taking the time to write this all out heather. your honesty is so helpful. so much respect for you!

Debra  – (4:19 AM)  

I agree with so much of what you said. I feel my mind is still stuck in a fog, I have a hard time articulating anything. Your post has helped me to see this is just part of the process.

God bless you.

Post a Comment

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP