Healthy Life Resources: Navigating the Uncharted Emotions of Grief…

<h3>Grief: A Hole in the Soul</h3>

with Chaplain Paul

At a Hospice Volunteer training class I asked the people in the audience, “How would you define grief?”
They were quiet for a moment, and then there were several responses:
“Dealing with loss. Feeling alone.”
“Walking through the valley of the shadow
of death.”
“Yes,” I said. “You all are certainly describing the experience of grief but what is it? “What is it really?”
There was silence again, and then a hand went up in the back of the room and a soft voice said, “It is a hole in your soul.”
“Yes!” I said. “That’s exactly it.”
The ones who have been there know that grief is much more than being sad. It is a real and tangible injury. It hinders you and can cause you to feel disconnected from yourself. It can plummet you into an abyss and cause you to flounder. You feel alone and afraid and no amount of pep talk can bring you out of it. You just know you need to take it one step at a time; one moment at a time.
Imagine your life has been captured on film. You have a giant photo album full of the many people, places and events as proof of the fullness of the life you lived with your loved one. Then that person dies. Now imagine that when you pick up that album and open it and everywhere there was a picture of your loved one, it is gone! Imagine how that would feel! Every page! You might find it hard to breathe. There might be a giant lump in your throat, and an ache in your gut. You might frantically turn the pages looking desperately for a picture of your loved one as denial sets in that this cannot be happening. You might even feel rage.
“He can’t be gone.” You would cry. Your desperation would continue to bring you back to the realization that not only is he gone, but a part of you is gone too.

The grief that comes from the loss of a loved one is like a giant hole in your soul. That is why it is so important to have a plan. Grief is not something you just “get over;” you have to “go through it.”

Eight Steps to Navigate the Uncharted Emotions of Grief:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Healing Starts Within
  3. It is a Natural Response
  4. You Cannot Do It Alone
  5. It is a Spiritual Issue…Faith/Hope/Love
  6. Takes Time
  7. You need a Plan
  8. God’s Grace and healing

My column next month will expand on the “how” in implementing these eight dynamics. Let me know your thoughts!

Walking Sacred Ground,

Chaplain Paul

Chaplain Paul R. Johnson, M.Div.
Director for Medical Spiritual Wellness
Prevention and Healing, Inc.
Office 314-432-7802 • Cell 314-440-1527
E-mail pjoh420@aol.com