Getting Over Grief: Part III

This is the third post in a series on practical ways to get over grief and pain and is an edited correspondence between myself and Greg* a 20 year old Third Culture Kid (TCK).

In the first post, Greg wanted more practical help with how to settle into a place even while he was still grieving hist past.

In the second, I gave him six practical ways to move through pain, and in this part we hear back from Greg – a couple of months later – with his reactions.

Hi Cecily

Apologies for the late reply. I wanted to try some of your suggestions and see how they worked out.

I think you definitely understood my real, core question. Cultural differences are one thing, but when there’s grief thrown into the mix it becomes so much more complicated to deal with. First off, thanks for understanding my core question, even though I didn’t really ask it outright. That was very discerning and wise of you, and it helps me to trust you.

My grief is a major part of my life, something now that I’ve postponed college to take time to work through. I’m in counselling, living in a community of guys that are all working through grief and broken relationships. It really is a terribly hard community to be in, what with all the buttons and old wounds we each possess, but it’s an amazing picture of God’s redemptive plan. We are all working through our pain together as a group, a tight-knit community of brothers, and it’s been amazing the amount of freedom I’ve found in it.

Thanks for your definition on grief. You have a really helpful perspective on it. It gives legitimacy to what I’m feeling.

I absolutely hated the idea of a hope story when I first read it, which then, I considered, probably meant it would be a good thing for me. This tends to be a trend in my counselling, and in what God instructs me to do. Since you emailed me some weeks ago, I did start a hope story, and though it was difficult because of my stubbornness, it’s giving me hope. Even the things I dealt with a couple weeks ago are less of an issue. Sure they’re still there, but they’re less. Thank you for this idea of the hope story, I’m going to take with a spoonful of sugar, and see what comes from it.

And thank you for saying it’s going to be over one day. I think Satan enjoys trying to convince me that it won’t ever end, which isn’t hard for him sometimes because of my impatience and copious amounts of pain. And I like the idea of trying to draw, create or put words to my grief, and bringing it to the light so that I can see it, even if it’s just a representation. I’ll add that to my hope story.

I took your advice on creating rituals or traditions, and the other day I cooked a chicken dish for my roommates. It was great, and made me feel at home. Thanks. They also asked me if they could see pictures from my childhood, which we haven’t had time to do yet, but I’m looking forward to.

I found your story really interesting; not only what happened to you, but especially how you responded to it. By reflecting on it, putting it away for a time, and coming back to it when appropriate or when you needed a boost sounded like it really benefited you. I’d like to try that with my hope story putting in things that encourage me as well as the hard stuff.

Greg