Actively Grieve

Actively grieve and mourn. Grief is an inner sense of loss, sadness and emptiness. Mourning is how you express those feelings. … Both grief and mourning are natural and necessary parts of the healing process after a loss.Acknowledge your pain. Look to loved ones and others for support. Don't make major decisions while grieving. Take care of yourself. From an article on Mayo clinic website (, - Dealing with grief: Confronting painful emotions, by Dr. Edward Creagan

I found this on the web and the advice is pretty good. I want to make a couple of comments.

What does “actively grieve” mean? It means it’s not passive. It means you put your mind and heart to it – your emotional shoulder to the wheel, so to speak. It means when some tears begin to well up, you give them some time and space. You think about what’s brought those tears to the surface. You process that moment. You don’t always stuff down the emotions and cover them up. You may need to sometimes do the avoiding technique that works best for you, but not always. Sometimes you actively enter into that grief moment.

Actively grieving means getting out some pictures and feeling the loss of your child. Doing this, results in making room to feel emotions of celebrating what you had during their life. It means listening to his favorite music, or going to his favorite sports event. It could mean inventing some activity to do in his memory – like starting a fund to give scholarships in his memory or creating a golf outing or bowling tournament.

Actively grieving means getting together with his friends to remember; or thoughtfully giving away some of his things to someone who will truly appreciate them; or making his favorite meal. It means carefully reviewing the child’s life with the Lord, thanking Him for all the ways the child blessed you, asking Him any lingering questions you have, thanking Him for promising to never leave you through this process.

Sheldon Vanauken in his book, A Severe Mercy, about the death of his wife, adopts this kind of active approach to his grief. Daily, he took out something that reminded him of her and thought about that memory, wept and/or laughed and felt his loss. Daily. After facing many memories he could say that the next time that memory came through his thoughts it was less painful and destabilizing. The process brought him to a place of peaceful equilibrium quicker by entering into it actively.

Gerald Sittser, in A Grace Disguised, was advised that if you’re going around the world to get out of the dark side, it’s faster to go into the sunset than to try to run westward ahead of it. The dark will overtake you and you’ll be running in the dark longer than if you went eastward into the night. Dawn will come sooner this way. I have found this image of entering into the process to be helpful to me.

These two strategies are Active Grieving.

I am reminded of this active grief that God heard from David: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears... The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:6 and 9.