As I think of the countless graves of service men and women, I simultaneously think of those of you who have survived your loved one’s death. You are the family, husband, wife, parent, child and extended relatives who have tasted significantly the bitterness of sorrow in their absence. It is you, whom I wish to honor and give tribute. Living with a broken heart of is a brave and courageous choice to make. Some of you have found ways to go on and engage in life and do meaningful things that honor the death of your military loved one. Thank you for showing us the way to grieve.
But I know there are others who have lived through the horrific death of a military loved one with additional losses such as, divorce and alcoholism or other addictions. These have fostered a never ceasing flow of pain. My heart goes out to you AND you still have my honor and tribute; for the consequences of war, fear, and hate have permanently affected your life. Yet even after years of suffering in your grief, there are steps to take that can bring healing and relief.
This 2017 Memorial Day could be the beginning of your journey towards adjusting in a healthy way to the death of your military loved one. Here are just 5 ideas to consider.
- Admit that getting help to coach you in healthy and life sustaining grief is a positive step towards your goal to live no longer with suffering. Today, there are qualified grief coaches and family therapists that specialize in grief work. Restoring your life is worth the financial and time investment. You would be like an athlete who was injured and goes to the physical therapist to guide them in their restoration process. Broken hearts benefit in the same way when we allow professionals to assist us.
- Consider forgiving any and all you feel have contributed to the pain of the death of your military loved one. Sometimes, we must even forgive the one who died, the commanders, medical personnel, other members of the family, etc. This is hard work, but it is the start of freeing yourself from the relentless suffering.
- Understand that pain is not bad. It is a warning signal that something is wrong. Your ongoing pain or suffering is simply a ongoing buzzer that is trying to get your attention to do something differently. Rather than fight the pain, listen to it. Let it guide you to help, support, and create change in your current rituals that surround the memories of your deceased loved one.
- Complete unfinished business. When someone dies, there are almost always things left unsaid or undone. Too often we move past that unfinished business, thinking it doesn’t matter anymore, but it does. The book The Grief Recovery Method is an excellent recourse to help you identify and resolve the unfinished or unresolved past with your military loved one.
- Begin to write about your feelings of grief. Write about your hope for help and healing. Write your prayers of confusion and questions. Writing about your pain and sorrow is one of the healthiest means of grief recovery therapy possible. My book, Comfort for the Day, is a Scripture guided grief recovery journal. It will comfort and introduce your broken heart to the Healer of all broken hearts. Give it a try and discover a healthier way to grieve.
Taking action on any or all of these 5 ideas is another brave and honoring choice for both yourself and your deceased loved one. Making this Memorial Day the day to move forward in your grief will be one of your highest ways of honoring your deceased military loved one. I salute them. And I salute you for the courage you will take to seek and allow restoration for your life. By doing so, you make your world a better place for your family and community.
©Karen Nicola May, 2017