Disclaimer: If you are struggling and find yourself sinking into depression and unable to function normally or even if you want to keep yourself from becoming too depressed, please seek professional help.
Grief. It’s a part of life. Usually hitting you when you least expect it. And of course in our culture it feels like we are supposed to buck up, move on, get over it.
But that’s not healthy.
It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be sad. Some days you will find tears flow more easily. Other days you will find putting one foot in front of the other is a bit easier than the day before. Then like a roller coaster you may feel like you’re going up hill again. And that’s okay too.
What I’ve learned is we can’t let it paralyze us. We can’t let it steal our joy. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We have to keep winding the clock so to speak.
My great grandfather had a cuckoo clock. He loved clocks and he especially loved that clock. Every night before he went to bed, he pulled the cords winding it up again ready for another day. The clock may have begun slowing down toward the end of the day, but he would adjust the hands & wind them once again to keep time for another twenty-four hours.
In our grief we have to “wind our clock.” It may look like folding a load a laundry when we just want to go to bed. Or maybe it’s forcing ourself to go outside for a walk when sitting and watching television would be easier. Winding the clock is doing whatever it is that we need to do to keep moving forward. Even if we move through it slowly as we navigate our grief.
Grief isn’t a straight line from point A to point B. It’s a hilly, circling, up and down winding road. And that’s okay.
So what can we do to keep “winding the clock” through our grief?
Read scripture. At first it may or may not feel calming to your spirit, but don’t stop reading it.
Pray. Pray truths about peace from scripture outloud over yourself.
Wind the clock. Just do one routine thing and then do another. Make your bed, clean the kitchen, do the laundry. Do a normal routine chore or task that you do almost daily. Keep putting one foot in front of another step by step.
Talk about the loved one. Share funny or memorable stories you have about them. Personally, I have found that choosing to remember the good and funny things helps push back the darkness that can threaten to overwhelm us as we walk through grief.
Move. Physically move. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. It may take a lot of will-power to make yourself move in some way, but doing some sort of physical movement like walking or, as crazy as it may sound, even marching in place, can help keep your brain from moving into a negative mindset.
And I know this last one may be difficult, but purpose in your mind to choose joy. When the sadness threatens to dig deeper into your spirit, choose joy instead. Write down things about the loved one you are grateful for. Speak them out loud even if you are just talking to yourself. (I promise you aren’t going crazy if you talk to yourself.) Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That doesn’t mean you can’t be sad. There will be moments of sadness. But you can choose joy in the midst of the grief.
As I said at the beginning of this post, if you find yourself struggling to cope, have major appetite changes, or find it difficult to even get out of bed, please seek professional help.