Coping With Grief and the Shipwrecks of Life

Lookas PHT

Photo Credit: Lookas PHT via CC Flickr

Grief. Despair. Pain. Suffering. These are just a few words that describe the feelings and emotions that millions of people experience everyday around the world. The death of a family member or loved one, the loss of a job, a separation from a spouse, personal injury, loss of a job, the passing of a pet, sickness, cancer…the list goes on and on.

 Grief and depression can sometimes be overwhelming and lead an individual to suffer from a variety of physical problems such as fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, heart and chest pains…just to name a few. People can also experience emotional stresses such as numbness, bitterness, detachment, inability to show or feel joy, etc. Like I said, grief and depression can be downright devastating!!

 If you have experienced times like these or are currently fighting through a difficult time in your life, the following story might, very well, be just for you. It tells of a great approach that you may be able to use to help you deal with grief in a positive fashion.

 I read the following short story that I felt would be a fantastic post for my blog. It is my hope and prayer that this illustration might help you, even in a small way, to change your outlook and perspective on your life and help you heal a wounded soul and a broken heart!

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Someone on Reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:

 “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”

A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man that wrote an incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change the way that we approach the turmoil of life, death, and other negative experiences.

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here is my two cents.

“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep…so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing…a happy memory, a photograph, etc. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. staying alive.

“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing…but in between waves…there is life.

“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you will find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging onto some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

“Take it from an old guy…the waves never stop coming and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you will survive them. And other waves will come…and you will have to survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves…and lots of shipwrecks.”

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Defeating Despair: The Power of Encouragement

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

There is nothing worse in the world today than a person who has lost their vision, desire and hope to fulfill their dreams. Negative comments, hurtful words, and discouraging actions, can all lead an individual to having a disheartening sense of doom and despair. If left in this state for lengths of time, it can cause un-needed levels of distress and deep scars that can last, sometimes, for a lifetime.

So, what is something that can counteract despair? What can people do to help someone that is struggling with their life…or better yet, what can they do to prevent someone else from facing despair? Through Encouragement. It was once said that for every 1 negative comment a person said to another individual…it takes 7 positive comments or actions to counter. Sometimes, just giving people simple words of encouragement or a nod of satisfaction can do wonders to a person’s self-confidence. There are many, many times, that all a person really needs is a hug or that human touch. I previously posted a story called “The Power of A Human Touch” that you can check out here.

What I decided to do in today’s blog was to post three separate stories of encouragement which show the true power of a positive word or action. It is my hope that these short stories will, in some way, touch your heart in a helpful way.

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It wasn’t like Scott Kregel to give up. He was a battler, a dedicated athlete who spent hour after hour perfecting his free throws and jump shots during the hot summer months of 1987. But just before fall practice everything changed. A serious car accident left Scott in a coma for several days.

When he awoke, a long rehabilitation process lay ahead. Like most patients with closed head injuries, Scott balked at doing the slow, tedious work that was required to get him back to normal — things such as stringing beads. What high school junior would enjoy that?

Tom Martin, Scott’s basketball coach at the Christian school he attended, had an idea. Coach Martin told Scott that he would reserve a spot on the varsity for him — if he would cooperate with his therapist and show progress in the tasks he was asked to do. And Tom’s wife Cindy spent many hours with Scott, encouraging him to keep going.

Within 2 months, Scott was riding off the basketball court on his teammates’ shoulders. He had made nine straight free throws to clinch a triple-overtime league victory.

It was a remarkable testimony of the power of encouragement.

~ Readers Digest

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

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Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Irene Sax in Newsday.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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Edward Steichen, who eventually became one of the world’s most renowned photographers, almost gave up on the day he shot his first pictures.

At 16, young Steichen bought a camera and took 50 photos. Only one turned out — a portrait of his sister at the piano. Edward’s father thought that was a poor showing. But his mother insisted that the photograph of his sister was so beautiful that it more than compensated for 49 failures.

Her encouragement convinced the youngster to stick with his new hobby. He stayed with it for the rest of his life, but it had been a close call.

What tipped the scales?

The vision to spot excellence in the midst of a lot of failure.

Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, pp. 4-5.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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