Unfortunately, even in a small church there is someone going through a difficult situation and it is a blessing to that individual to know that there are people who care. That is why providing grief counseling at your church is such a wonderful ministry. I know that there are some church members who don’t think a columbarium program has a place at the church facility, but I just haven’t heard a good reason to agree with. In my opinion, it is completing the circle of life and who else would we want to help with that part of our life than our church community.
When a difficult situation enters our life, such as a death of a loved one, diagnosis of cancer, loss of a job, we have to determine how we will choose to handle it. We can handle it positively or negatively. We can stay in our bed and cry all day or we can know that how we perceive this difficulty now, we’ll probably perceive it differently later.
We will have to deal with our emotions. What is the emotion you are currently feeling? Are you feeling hurt, sad, disappointed, angry, frustrated or lonely? Do you want to cry, hit a pillow, scream, or laugh? Don’t let the situation change you as a person unless it changes you in a positive way. Feel your emotion you are going through but don’t let it become you.
Have a good support group around you. But remember that sometimes the people around you are also going through emotions. Maybe the loved one you’ve lost wasn’t as close to your support person as that person was close to you, but that your support person may be hurting because they see you hurting, or they may be upset even though you are not because they perceive that you are upset. Don’t allow their emotions to control you. Listen to them, hear their encouragement and advice but research your situation for yourself.
Take each day, each moment at a time. Assure yourself and tell yourself that this day will pass and will become a memory. If you are dealing with the death of a loved one who did not have pre-need plans, do some research and see what options are available to you. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, research online about it. Cancer is a scary word but doesn’t have to be scary. If you lost your job, research online, there are organizations to help you find another job. Research, read about your situation. Recognize the fear but don’t let fear take control.
Be patient with yourself and the process. Don’t pressure yourself with expectations of how you should feel or how you should be dealing with the situation. Work through it staying positive. Take care of yourself and try to maintain a normal lifestyle. Keep a journal and write down what you are feeling and what you are going through. Forgive yourself for the thing you think you should have done, or said or for things for think you shouldn’t have done or said. Have compassion and forgiveness for yourself, we can’t change the pass only make a difference in our future.
My advice to the support people is to look at the individual you are helping and don’t let your emotions be put upon the person going through the difficult situation, it only makes it worse for them. Who are they? Are they a fighter, or do they flee in times of difficulty? Ask if they want your advice or help don’t push it upon them. Texts, email, write a note, or send them a letter encouraging them and comforting them, don’t focus on the negative. When you call, don’t get upset if they don’t answer the phone but leave an encouraging voicemail message. Remember, there may be a lot of people calling them and they just don’t have time to talk with everyone nor do they feel like talking and saying everything over again. Give the person who is going through the difficult time, time to think. Don’t assume you know how they feel on any given day. Be a good listener and offer help but be specific. Are you willing to clean their home or yard, take their children to school of after school events? Whatever you are willing to do tell them that, sometimes we generalize our willingness to help, and depending on the type of person, they may not ask for any help because they can’t think of anything or they may ask you to do something you are not able to offer. Remember this most, just being there is a comfort to any person going through a difficult situation.