Holidays can be a challenging time for those who have lost a loved one, and with Easter right around the corner, Dr. Gloria Horsley with the Open to Hope Foundation and Alan Pederson with Compassionate Friends have released a special webinar on handling this particular event. This webinar will also feature guest Kay Warren, founder of the Saddleback Church and an expert in grief and loss. Warren is a bible teacher, bestselling author, and a tireless advocate for those living with mental illnesses and/or HIV/AIDS, as well as vulnerable children.
Warren is a mother to three children, one of whom, “is now in heaven.” She is also the proud grandmother of five grandchildren. Kay explains that holidays can trigger “waves of sorrow,” but waves of sorrow can also occur on any special day or just any day – for no reason that is readily apparent to you. Waves of pain and grief are common after losing a loved one, but for Kay, Easter is particularly difficult as this is the day her child, Matthew, passed away. Kay tells of an experience that happened to her one year, weeks after her expected Easter holiday mourning. It was Memorial Day weekend and Kay was sharing the grief of families who had lost someone during their military service. Kay had not personally lost anyone via military service, yet somehow in sharing this sorrow with these families, it triggered an overwhelming grief in her that she didn’t see coming, and a brand new wave of sorrow came over her.
“Moving through grief should be the goal, not moving past it.” Warren says it’s offensive to her when she’s told by someone to “move past” her grief. However, you may need to take a few moments to educate others (family and friends) on how to best support you. Pederson commiserates, saying that sometimes you simply need to hold your grief for a moment. That in itself can be moving through grief. Fully feeling your grief can be a part of getting you to start moving through those pend-up, painful, sorrowful feelings.
Dr. Horsley points out the importance of self-care, too. Being self-aware enough to remember to take care of oneself during periods of grief will be another big challenge, yet it’s a critical issue when you are in any stage of your grief—and may even end up being the hardest work you’ll ever do. Warren says that self-care in grief was a tremendous obstacle to her. Caring for yourself in the middle of grief is of paramount importance to help you through your healing. Self-care can also be tough if you are trying to help someone else who’s dealing with grief. Remembering that after a loss, a person is no longer the person they once were, may help. Losing loved ones, including losing friendships is unfortunately common – and around the holidays, when there’s pressure to be around friends and family, the loss can feel immense and lead to a very lonely time for someone who is grieving.
Self-care includes both your body and your mind. There are many ways to address the important issue of self-care. Even small things can sometimes make a difference – from having a massage to seeing a therapist who specializes in grief and loss. Often self-care for your soul is overlooked, but this type of care is also important, and vital to consider and try to be aware of. Many people have found support in religious groups or churches. Some suffering individuals have found personal meditation to be of help and even found that the meditation has helped them to rebuild hope. Rekindling hope is a valuable tool and something to be sought after. Sometimes it takes accepting the misery and mystery of loss and acknowledging that there are times of darkness in life—and it may help to try and remember there are also riches hidden in the darkness. Kay Warren recalls Isaiah 43:3 to help herself to rebuild hope, “I will give you treasures of the darkness, riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that I am Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
One key to handling the stress and sadness of loss is to learn all that you can about this issue. Yet, each person has to find their own way to safety during a grieving time in their lives. Sometimes the grieving doesn’t go away, but a person can be made richer, better and more sensitive to others through this suffering and self-awareness.
Watch the full webinar now: