Just this past week, a complete comeapart would have been the healthiest thing for me, but who wants to be that vulnerable in the middle of Wal-Mart? (If you’re not from the South, just know that a comeapart is exactly what it sounds like – every last emotion comes apart.) Who really wants to be seen blubbering over a can of Progresso Chicken Enchilada Soup? Not this girl!
This first Christmas since the loss of my mom, I knew a public display of overwhelming grief would be embarrassing and awkward. I also knew that I had to somehow process and deal with my grief. I had no idea how to reconcile those two things, so I texted my counselor friend and made an appointment. It’s been a blessing to have a counselor for a friend.
I explained my dilemma and once again she taught me something that I’d like to pass on to you – just in case grief tries to rear its ugly head during this holiday season. I’ll begin with the same question she asked me, “Have you ever heard of scheduling grief?”
In order to heal, neither you nor I can keep pushing our grief further down and postponing the healing process. However, none of us wants to become a spectacle in public places either. So instead, pick a specific day and time for your grief – one when you know you’ll be alone. Then, whenever you feel you’re about to come apart, remind yourself that you’ll return to that grief-filled moment during your scheduled appointment. That way you’re not dismissing your feelings, but rather dealing with them at a much better time and place.
When your appointment comes, pretend grief is a box on a shelf in your mind. Take down the imaginary box on your appointed day, take the lid off, and pour all of your emotional memories into the box. Cry. Wail. Use a whole box of Kleenex if you need to. When you’re done, put the lid back on the imaginary box and return it to your mind’s shelf until the next appointed time.
I’ve postponed my grief several times over the last week knowing I have a time set aside to let it all out. This technique really works. So far, all soup cans have been kept dry.
If you begin to feel overwhelmed due to the loss of a friend or family member, I hope you’ll consider implementing this process. If you’d like to share your first name in the comment box, I’ll be glad to pray for you. I would appreciate your prayers as well. In the meantime, let me remind you of the glorious day that’s on the way:
Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.
Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:3-5, CSB)
I’ll be taking a break for a couple of weeks, but I’ll see you back here on Perfection Road on January 8th. May God bless you with love, joy, peace, and lots of happy memories! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!