On Grief and Loss


axehandle in fallThe anniversary of September 11, 2001 brings to remembrance the 2,996 deaths of loved family members and friends. Today my dad, a combat veteran of the Marines, returned home to Axehandle Lake (above photo) to live out his last days in hospice in peace at home. I have been contemplating death and loss. Over the past week, I have met with many friends, young and old, and have been reminded of grief and loss:

    • A young man who lost his mom to cancer
    • A friend who lost his dad
    • A retired Lt Colonel who lost his wife of 52 years after faithfully loving and caring for her 10 years through Alzheimer’s.
    • A wonderful couple who is grieving the loss of dreams for their sons who have seemed to stray far off the path they were raised and drifted away from their faith
    • A young dad and 4 boys who lost a wife and mom to cancer in her early 30’s
    • Friends who held their son for only 69 days before he passed into eternity
    • A young couple who lost their little girl due to complications in the womb at 32 weeks

I have met with and talked to these friends and followed their stories this past week. It has caused me to contemplate my own losses:

    • Our own two children who died prematurely before we could ever hold them, who we are looking forward to meeting and holding in heaven
    • My mom’s unexpected passing a year ago
    • Now I am preparing to lose my dad. It may be two weeks or two months, but I am soon to be the oldest generation in my family.

I have been reading and remembering things that have helped me through times of loss and grief. I am old enough to know there are no magic formulas, and I am no grief and loss expert, but here are some things that have helped me and others:

Be with friends and family and don’t become isolated.

Share emotions; get things out in the open.

Laugh and cry–both are OK. When my mom died, I cried harder than I can remember; I also laughed from sweet memories until I almost wet my pants.

Remember.

Listen.

Do normal things; keep a schedule. When we lost our first child, we got in a RV later that day and rode to Daytona for a week-long mission with students from our campus. It kept us from sitting around all week feeling sorry for ourselves.

Sleep. I have been so tired this week. That is normal.

Eat healthy.

Stay hydrated with lots of water.

Exercise.

Grieve at your own speed. It takes time; be patient with yourself. Don’t be concerned about feeling numb for awhile.

Don’t make major decisions in the midst of grief.

There is no timetable; Remember it is a process.

Turn to your faith.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Death: The Final Stage of Growth

What have you lost this year? What has helped you in your grieving process?

Other articles that you might find helpful:

Living with Hope-Steve Sawyer moved from rage over HIV to great hope. He shares how he had hope no matter what threw at him.

Is God good? Why is there suffering? A pretty cool 1:46 animated video.

Today we lost a great person…my mom.  A tribute to my mom. Read it and maybe write your own.

The Fog of Grief (Thanks Jim R. for sending this resource.)

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About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with Cru with my wife, Terry. We have been married 30 years and have 4 grown children. We have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right side bar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit: sarahjoellephotography.com
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6 Responses to On Grief and Loss

  1. Jim Rumelhart says:

    Steve, Thank you for sharing on this topic that we all have to go through. Just yesterday I as a part of Critical Incident Stress Management Team that lead a debriefing with a college cross country team that recently had a teammate die during a race. We were there to help them process through their loss. I have come across a ministry that deals with griefing and has some good resources. The ministry is Stephen Ministries and they and be reached at: https://www.stephenministries.org/On_Line_Store/default.cfm. I hope this is helpful.
    Jim

    • Steve Morgan says:

      Thanks Jim for the link. I will check out Stephen Ministries. So wonderful the Lord has put you in places with athletes where you are able to help them process their grief and loss. I know that makes a huge difference. Thanks for stopping by the blog and reading. Blessings.

  2. Sally says:

    Hi, I am Wendy’s. mom and have met both of your wonderful parents. You are truly blessed to have been raised by such a loving and Christian family. And, her dad and I have been blessed with having your family a part of Wendy and Eric’s. It is a good feeling knowing that they have been so embraced by the Morgan family. I am always envious when she tells me about your camp fires….sitting around singing songs and hymns. Keep the tradition going…..
    My prayers are with you all……God Bless!

    • Steve Morgan says:

      Hi Sally. It is so thoughtful of you to write. I just love Eric and Wendy. My parents and family have been wonderfully blessed by them. Wendy just brought over a couple pizzas for dinner. The fire pit is a little more empty after we lost mom last year. We will miss dad also but he is at peace and surrounded by family right now. Thank you for your prayers.

  3. daylerogers says:

    Steve, I love your sweet honesty and openness. You and Ter have been through a lot, and your willingness to normalize it and see it as God’s path is helpful. And refreshing. Thanks for your candor, my friend.

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