The booklet you hold in your hands is
one in a series designed to help you with
practical “hands-on” information in your
personal search for a better life and to
help those you care most about.
No matter who you are or where in life
you are looking for answers—whether it
be marriage, health, parenting, the loss
of a loved one, overcoming an addiction,
or working through stress or financial
problems—there is help available and
there is hope.
We trust this booklet and others in the
Peacefinders series will be a blessing
to you and your family as you journey
through each passage of life.
Copyright © 2011
PROJECT: Steps to Christ, Inc.
302 Foster Road
Fort Covington, NY 12937
Printed in the USA
Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
y Victor Parachin
“The first twelve months after Mary died
were the most difficult, frustrating
and frightening days of my life,” recalls
David. His wife died at 47 after a courageous
battle with cancer. “I had to adjust to being a widower,
a single parent, and learn to manage many
confusing and conflicting situations during that
David’s experience is a common one for most
people who have a death in the family. The death
of a loved one signals changes—large and small
in the lives of survivors. A loss to death heightens
feelings of loneliness, vulnerability and anxiety.
The first twelve months following such a loss
are extremely chaotic. “In grief nothing ‘stays put.’
One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always
reoccurs. Round and round. Everything repeats.
Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a
spiral?” lamented British author C.S. Lewis during
the months following his beloved wife’s death.
Here are ten tips for dealing with loss
and experiencing grief recovery.
Begin by Believing You Will Get Better
Although the initial pain when someone
dies is intense and deep, people do adjust,
recover and move forward. Consider these comments
from psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers. In
her book, Positive Plus, she shares this memory after
her beloved husband, Milton, died: “I was convinced
that nothing would ever be right again, so
firmly convinced that I could have sworn on my
daughter’s head that life would never be worth living
again. But I was wrong. Little by little, almost
without my realizing it, life did get better. One day
I found myself laughing. It was as if I had walked
out of the shadows into the sunshine. A part of me
will always be missing. But I am happy again, and
a little wiser.”
It will help if you remind yourself that God
has created you to heal from wounds. Believe
and claim for yourself these assurances found in
Scripture: “He [the Lord] heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). “I will
… bind up the broken and strengthen what was
sick” (Ezekiel 34:16). “As one whom his mother
comforts, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).
and Express Your Feelings
Bereavement will force many unfamiliar feelings
on you. Do not be afraid of them. Don’t
run away from them. Express and explore them
through journal writing, in a support group, or with
a counselor skilled in grief issues. Confronting and
challenging your feelings is the only way to manage
them. Denying or avoiding the pain only magnifies
it. “A suppressed grief chokes and seethes within,
multiplying its strength,” observed Ovid, the ancient
with Others in
“The people most able to give us encouragement
in facing such sorrows and fears, not surprisingly,
have been those who have been through
similar grief,” says one man grieving the loss of his
24-year-old daughter who was killed in an auto
accident. Try joining a support group. If there is
not one in your community, connect informally
with others who have had similar loss. That can be
done through telephone contact or conversations
in homes, parks or other places.
Avoid Alcohol, Drugs and Sedatives
Following a loss to death, physicians will
often give the bereaved prescriptions such
as sleeping pills to facilitate rest or tranquilizers
to reduce anxiety. While such doctors’ prescriptions
may provide some initial relief, those drugs
must not be taken to avoid grief entirely. “Do not
take drugs for your depression if you can possibly
get along without them,” writes Nancy O’Connor,
Ph.D., in her book Letting Go With Love: The
Grieving Process. “Like alcohol and tranquilizers,
they are a crutch. You will get through your
grief faster if you are fully aware.” Always avoid
alcohol and narcotic drugs to deal with the pain
to the Right Friends
The common experience for all grievers is
acute loneliness. Someone greatly loved is
gone and a deep, painful void remains. Rabbi Earl
Grollman, a grief authority and author of What
Helped Me When My Loved One Died advises:
“Talk to a friend. Share your feelings. Let the right
people know that you need support and feedback.
They cannot bring you comfort unless you allow
them to enter your sorrow.” Be sure you confide in
the “right” people.
Ask for Specific Help
Extended family and friends will offer their
assistance but often it is vague—“Let me
know what I can do!” Review your circle of acquaintances
and then call on them. If you have a
friend who works in the insurance business, then
ask that person to help you decode an insurance
policy. If you have an automobile problem, consult
with a knowledgeable friend about the best way to
deal with it. If your roof springs a leak, talk it over
with someone in your circle of friends who knows
something about home repairs.
Refrain from Making Hasty Decisions
It may be tempting to take a long trip,
change residence, switch jobs, etc. Avoid
those temptations. Often they are ways of fleeing
from grief. Experience the pain, cope with the loss,
and begin to make the necessary adjustments before
thinking about making major changes. Also,
do not make serious financial decisions without
securing professional advice.
There is great wisdom in the often repeated
statement, “Grief shared is grief diminished.”
Most people who have had a loss to death
find that each time they share information about
the loss a layer of pain is removed. Gradually, grief
relief is experienced. In his book, Living With Loss,
Healing With Hope, Rabbi Earl Grollman stresses
the therapeutic importance of talking about
your loss. “In times of crisis, silence is not golden.”
Rabbi Grollman urges grievers to talk things
out with trusted friends, family, spiritual leaders,
counselors. “You may need to repeat over and over
all the circumstances surrounding your loss.”
Let Tears Flow
In his book, Born For Love: Reflections on
Loving, Leo Buscaglia, popular author and
university professor, offers this wisdom about crying:
“Tears are a form of compassionate thoughtfulness.
Each time we cry, we emerge with clearer
eyes, cleaner vision. Only recently has our culture
eased up its unwritten taboo against men crying.
Traditionally, men were expected to display granite
faces to the world. A good healthy cry can be a sign
of maturity. We’ve got it all wrong if we still believe
that crying is a sign of weakness. Real weakness is
in not allowing ourselves access to the emotions
expressed through tears.”
Maintain Hope by Tapping
into Your Faith
Although the journey through grief is
uncharted and frustrating, do all you can to keep
hope alive. One effective way to keep hope alive is
by tapping into your faith. Make an appointment
to speak with your spiritual leader. Consider this
experience of one woman whose 54-year-old husband
died suddenly from a heart attack: “When
Jimmy died I was devastated and angry at God
for this ‘injustice’. Although I had not attended
church regularly, I called the pastor. He was extremely
helpful, reminding me that it was okay to
be angry. He assured me that God could handle
my anger. The pastor encouraged me to vent my
feelings. He listened sensitively and compassionately.
Gradually, my faith deepened and became
a sustaining power in my life. As I became more
spiritually connected, I felt my anger diminish and
give way to acceptance and peace.”
Each time we cry, we emerge with
clearer eyes, cleaner vision
Here are ten “commandments” to keep in mind
which will greatly help in you recovery from grief.
Ten “Commandments” for Grievers
1. You shall remember you are a survivor.
You have made it this far and will complete
the journey through grief.
2. You shall remember you have been created
to heal from wounds.
When we accidentally cut or scrape ourselves,
healing scar tissue forms quickly. Bereavement
is a deep wound, but you will heal. God
intends for you to heal from every wound.
3. You shall remember you will be led to do
what needs to be done.
You will be given the wisdom and the courage
to do it.
4. You shall remember you are engaged in a
process of healing.
Recovery from grief takes time and often the
recovery is two steps forward followed by
one step backward.
5. You shall remember you are not required
to apologize for your feelings, emotions,
It is not your job to make other people feel
comfortable by denying your need to grieve
in whatever form your grieving takes.
6. You shall remember you are not lacking in
faith because you feel the pain of grief.
You may still feel deeply the wounds of loss,
even when your faith is strong.
7. You shall remember you must nurture your
Provide it with ample rest, healthy balanced
meals, and exercise.
8. You shall remember to flow with the process
Don’t try to manipulate it.
9. You shall remember God sends people
There are people who sincerely want to help.
Reach out to them from time to time.
10. You shall remember … this too shall pass.
If you’re in need, look over this list
carefully and make it an important part
of your thinking and healing. Or share it
with a friend or neighbor in need.
Comfort From Scripture
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He
makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads
me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for
His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me. You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my
head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness
and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
“He heals the brokenhearted and
binds up their wounds.”
“I will… bind up the broken and
strengthen what was sick.”
2 Chronicles 16:9
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and
fro throughout the whole earth, to
show Himself strong on behalf of those
whose heart is loyal to Him.”
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I
give to you.… Let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all
comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation.”
Here are the Characteristics of People Who
Will be Helpful in Dealing with Grief:
• They listen more than they speak.
• They do not pass judgement on you or your
• They do not tell you how to feel.
• They don’t change the subject when you talk
about your loss.
• They are accepting of you.
• They do not respond with cliches such as: “He’s
in a better place now.” “It was God’s will.” “You
can get married again.”
• They do respond with supportive, sympathetic
statements such as: “I’m sorry.” “How can
I help?” “What can I do?” “This must be very
painful.” “Tell me more.”
I ask you to do Your work of love in my life and
to heal my broken heart. Be with me day by day and
give me strength for living and grant me comfort for
Help me to truly believe that it is Your fervent
will and deep desire that I be whole again. Help me
to know that I will not always be in the darkness
but that soon I will once again walk in the light.
Empower me to trust You for my healing and recovery
Gracious and Loving God,
I am not strong enough to deal with this pain,
I am not wise enough to know what to do, I am not
courageous enough to keep going on; but You have
the strength, wisdom and courage I need. So, I trust
You to guide me and strengthen me day by day.
WHERE TO RECEIVE ADDITIONAL HELP
The following are some national organizations
which provide information and may offer local
self-help support groups. If you have access to the
internet, many of these organizations also have
web sites which you can find by searching under
601 E. Street NW
Washington, DC 20049
(888) OUR-AARP (687-2277)
The Compassionate Friends*
P.O. Box 3696
Oak Brook, IL 60522
* This is a national self-help support group for parents
who have experienced the death of a child from any
cause at any age.
Hospice Foundation of America
1710 Rhode Island Ave, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 457-5811 or (800) 854-3402
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors*
1777 F Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
(800) 959-TAPS (8277)
* Provides ongoing emotional help, hope, and healing
to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in
Please visit www.peacefinders.org for a
complete list of online resources and links
to other organizations that can help.
Other titles available in
the Peacefinder book series:
You Can Stop Smoking
Ten Ways to Improve Your Marriage
A Dozen Ways to Defeat Loneliness
Hope in Times of Trouble
Survival Tips for Single Parenting
Living with Loss
The Healing of Sorrow
Life After Death
Gentle Ways to Ease Depression
To order additional titles, visit our online
bookstore at www.peacefinders.org
or call 1-800-728-6872.
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