“Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.” Eccl. 7:2-3 (NKJV)
How do we grieve? Showing emotion is a key to mourning. We have to let the hurt in our hearts out. It is important to realize that grieving does not take place over a few days. Sometimes it takes years to grieve. However, the Bible teaches us some practical things we can do to vent our emotions and start the healing process.
A tendency for some people is to stay so busy that they keep their minds off of their traumatic loss. This can do more harm than good. Set aside time for morning immediately following that person’s death. In the Bible, they used to set aside specific time periods just to mourn. In Deuteronomy 34:8, the Bible reads, “The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.” They mourned the same period for Aaron (Num. 20:29). Moses and Aaron were used by God to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. They meant so much to them that they set apart an entire month to mourn. The Bible even shows that other cultures mourned a certain number of days. For instance, the Egyptians set aside 70 days in Gen. 50:3 to mourn the death of Joseph.
What should you do during this time period? Spend time really thinking about the times you had with that person. Look at pictures and films where you were together. Talk to other friends and family about the experienced you had together. You are going to cry, laugh, and even wail. You might even feel angry. This is part of celebrating that person’s life and adjusting to life without them. You are coping with your loss.
A Jewish custom is to remember the death of lost loved ones every year on the date of their death. It is a disciplined way of continuing the grieving process and remembering that person’s life.
When you set aside the time specifically for grieving, spend some of that time alone and some with other people. If you spend too much time alone, then you can isolate yourself and become a shut in. As humans, we need social interaction. Spend time around other people. You may have to force yourself to do this because your will to be around others can be weakened.
Make sure you eat food in this process. The Bible mentions that there was food eaten in the time of mourning (Ezekiel 24:17, Hosea 9:4). Sometimes when you lose someone, especially a spouse, parent, or child, your body will grieve so hard that you will deprive yourself of food. Your body still needs nourishment, and this is important to remember. Sometimes the loss of a loved one causes people to lose the will do to simple household chores such as cooking. We should keep this in mind when someone passes away and offer to assist them.
We will finish this series next time.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.