Pain and Gain (cont.)

painAll that change, transition, pain and suffering also changed me into a better person. For example, I grew much more compassionate than I had been prior to the divorce. I also learned one of the primary reasons we need to take time to reach out to the fatherless, widows, and strangers. People in those categories are frequently separated from loved ones and social support; they experience loneliness. Separation can wound deeply. Lonely people may hurt deeply. When people lose loved ones to death, debilitating illness, divorce, or broken relationships, they need the occasional presence of people who have been there. I have been there through the losses I have sustained, so I can now be present for grieving people in ways I could not before my experiences. Discerning how much presence the grieving person needs and how much time alone the individual needs becomes important.

Our attempts to fix the brokenness, the hurt, and the pain are not in the best interest of the griever. In fact, acts of this nature may be attempts to comfort those who feel helpless when in the presence of someone grieving. Usually no words suffice to relieve the pain anyway, yet one’s mere presence may have the power to act as a healing balm. When I was grieving, I did not need to be fixed. Neither do other grieving people. I needed people who could comfortably be with me, sit with me, simply be present to and with me. Other grievers need this gift of presence as well.

Many years ago, my family and I walked down the aisle of a church sanctuary where the funeral of a family member was about to begin. Surprisingly, I spotted a friend who had driven many miles to attend the funeral. He knew almost none of my extended family and did not know the deceased. He came for me. He did not stay long after the funeral, but his presence comforted me and eased the pain. This gift of presence is one we can offer to others experiencing a variety of losses and types of grief; however, knowing when presence is a gift to a griever is an artful lesson to learn.

Published in: on July 17, 2009 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Pain and Gain

moran_stormyseaAs previously indicated, over a three-year period I experienced the death of four people close to me. First, my brother-in-law, confidant, and friend, Glynn, lost his two-year battle to colon cancer. Then my father-in-law and fishing buddy, John, lost his one-year bout with lung cancer. Next, my thirty-four year old brother, Nick – in apparently excellent health – died suddenly from a massive heart attack suffered while sleeping. One year later, my close friend, Travis, also died of a heart attack at age forty-two. Obviously, I hurt and struggled much over those three years and for much time afterward. Of those four significant losses, the unexpected death of Nick hurt the most. At one point, I hurt so badly I did not think I could stand it.

However, those pains shrank in significance several years later when, after almost twenty years of marriage, my wife informed me she was divorcing me. I lost many things at that time: a marriage, my family, my relationship with extended family members, my home, money, possessions, etc. The excruciating pain almost overwhelmed me at times. The church where I had functioned in leadership roles essentially turned its back on me. The church people did not know what to do with me. As a result, I also lost my support system.

I eventually moved to a small town about one hundred miles away. I knew no one there. I sometimes became so lonely I thought I would die. Eventually, I learned to not run from the pain. Rather, I frequently lay in the floor of my living room and spoke aloud to the pain, “Take your best shot. I can endure anything you can deal me.” Finally, I learned to embrace pain and suffering as friends. I allowed my new friends to shape and mold me. Eventually, my joy began to return. I developed new friends. I could forgive those who had hurt me, including myself. Healing did come.

Published in: on July 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why All this Grief?

I’m a change and conflict coach.   Change involves moving from something – through the transition – to something new.  The “moving from” part implies some degree of loss.  All loss needs to be grieved.  However, grief is largely ignored in our society except when a loved one dies.  Even then, the time allowed for grief is usually minimized.  Physical death is not the only loss that needs to be grieved.

Loss of a dream needs to be grieved.

Loss of passion needs to be grieved.

Loss of initiative needs to be grieved.

Loss of enthusiasm needs to be grieved.

Loss of income needs to be grieved.   I could go on and on.

On the way to success, I help people properly grieve their losses.  It’s part of the change process.

Stay tuned…more to come on grieving.