Walking through the loss of my father in my mid 20s was not a choice that I would have willingly made. If you have experienced a great loss, I’m sure you can relate.
This path wasn’t our choice. It wasn’t in our control. But what we choose to do next and how we choose to continue on IS in our control.
My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the end of July 2017 and was gone at the beginning of September. It was brief and brutal and left my entire family reeling. I had a special relationship with my dad. We were very close, and when he was no longer there the ache felt as if it would never lessen.
As I’ve thought about the last four years on this journey of grief, I recognized four main choices that I’d had to consciously make in order to keep moving forward. I write in depth about it in my new book, but I wanted to share this with anyone who is walking through loss in hopes that it may provide some support!
Choose to Begin
The first choice we have after loss is whether or not we want to move forward. After the initial fog cleared, I had to decide not to stay stuck in the darkness anymore by acknowledging the depth of my emotions but not allowing them to control me anymore.
Choose to Heal
Next, we have a choice to begin to heal. Often this involves leaning into our pain more in order to unravel the triggers and trauma we are dealing with. This can look like counseling, community or simply being honest with yourself about how you are really doing. Personally, I had to make a decision to face the reality of my loss and take steps towards healing from that trauma.
Choose to Believe
The third choice we have is choosing to believe. We must have something to grab onto in the midst of the storm, or we will surely drown in the emotions and pain of loss. I had to decide to believe in truth that kept me grounded, even when I didn’t feel like it. As a Christian, I had to decide that I believed God was still good. I had to believe that I was not alone, that my life was still worth living, that there was purpose in the pain and that the best was still to come.
Lastly – and daily – we must choose hope. Hope is our anchor in the storm, and it is so much more than wishful thinking. Deciding to put our trust in something – Someone – bigger than ourselves takes the pressure off and frees us up to hold on to what is serving us and let go of what isn’t. Read more here. I had to make a decision to choose hope – on the darkest days and on the days I could breathe a little easier.
If you are grieving, know you are not alone. Your unique story matters. My new ebook My Grief Story: A Simple Journal for Processing the Pain of Loss While Holding on to Hope was written for you by someone who knows what the ache of loss feels like. It will provide you with direction and encouragement as well as tangible tools as you grieve. I pray it feels like a friend joining you as you walk this new path. If you are interested in this resource, it is available here.