People often ask me “how long shall I grieve?” as if there is a certain timetable that I could give them. And I always tell them, “There is no timetable. You’ll grieve as long as you grieve.” What, I think, people are really asking me is: “How long do I have to go through this pain?” No one wants to feel the pain of grief, or any other difficult emotion.
Resilience is about allowing ourselves to feel those difficult emotions – and walking through them. Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” The only way through the pain is…well… through the pain. The more we resist feeling it, the more problems we cause ourselves – pent up pain can be released as anger toward loved ones, as addictive behaviors, or as shutting down from the world.
One way we get through all the pain is through community. Whether that’s friends, family or, like us, a church. Having someone to talk to, who won’t ask you “why are you feeling this way, still?” but holds you with love and empathy is vital to our ability to get through those hard times. If you need someone to talk to, a nonjudgmental, listening ear, we can help. Our Pastoral Care Associates (Judith Stamper, Laurie Kluge, Birdie Reed, and Marilyn Giss) are all here for you, as are Rica and I. For how long? For however long it takes.