Many years ago, I went through a time of compounded losses. Looking back, I still call it “The year of the big black cloud.” That’s a kind description. The true pain cannot be put into words.
When our baby was sick, friends and family poured in to help. When he died, they were there. When my husband walked out one month after burying our baby, the phone and doorbell were silent. Our friends didn’t know what to say so they didn’t.
To be fair, I wasn’t much fun! Phone calls were meant with yes and no answers and a lot of silence. But I was still lonely. I needed tools to use during my lonely hours to keep them from becoming dysfunctional. I also needed to learn how to reach out, even when I didn’t want to.
What to Do When Nothing Can Be Done.
7. Reach Out. One sign that life will go on whether or not you want it to is when your need for people is bigger than your loneliness and fears. That is your cue that it is time to reach out.
One problem you face is who to connect with. Remember you are vulnerable. When you are in this stage, there is danger of lifelong problems such as substance abuse or promiscuity. These leave you with an even bigger hole in your heart.
Your lifelong friends are usually the safest; but unless they have suffered a great loss, they won’t really understand. Involve them anyway (just don’t overdo it), but don’t stop there.
Join support groups of people facing a similar loss. They are everywhere, but finding them is sometimes difficult. Your local library will have a community directory to guide you. If your loss is death, ask your support mortuaries, hospices, or compassionate friends. If addiction was involved (you, your spouse, or your loved one), check out 12-step programs. They have a group for almost any problem. Check out http://www.christianrecovery.org/ or http://www.aa.org. If abuse was involved, RUN to the nearest support group. Most large churches offer divorce and grief recovery programs. Google the dynamics of your loss to find the right match.
How do you know if the person or group is safe? You don’t always. Do two things:
1. Trust what your “gut” is telling you. No matter how much you don’t want to talk about it or be there, something deep inside you will say, “This is right.” Doing what is right doesn’t always “feel good.”
2.Trust those who love you. If you only confide in one person, you will wear that person out. Grief is painful; it comes in waves; and it wasn’t meant to be borne alone. Find two or three safe friends, and run all of your ideas and findings by them. They will tell you if you are on the right track.
As I promised, I will offer one pointer each day over the next few weeks for “What to do when nothing can be done.” Check the other entries or archives for what you might have missed. When school begins again in January, I will turn the focus to schools.
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