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Grief Has No Rules

*I shared a version of this post a few years ago, but recently found the original, which I had written even earlier to share at the close of a funeral. Our days carry so much grief for so many, I thought perhaps this fuller version might be helpful. If you are anything like me, some words and sentences I need to hear over again and often find that I hear them differently when I do.


Grace and peace (especially, peace), bg



*As you go from this place, please remember that grief has no rules, and that is okay. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. You will read about cycles of grief and phases of grief, but, in practical reality, there are no rules. That is the truth. There are many different feelings that will pass through you, some more intense than others, but just because you have felt one way for a while, then feel a change that prompts you to think, “Oh good, I am done with that,” do not be surprised when, on her birthday, or yours, five years from now, you feel odd and unsettled. Just as you wonder what is going on with you, your soul will remind you – “Oh, yes. Hello, Grief.” Grief will be, as one of my pastor-friends wrote in the season after both our mothers had died, your “most unexpected companion.”


*Grief is real and a sign of love. Most of us do not grieve those we have not loved. Because that is true, perhaps we can see grief as a gift as it reminds us, sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely, of love.


*Grief, because it is a sign of love, can become a cause for gratitude for it prompts us to remember what was best about the person’s life and to thank God that her life continues in manifold ways in God and in those who loved her.


*Grief can become a way we honor those we have lost. Doing the hard work of grieving and not running from it is a way of saying the person mattered, the loss matters, and our desire to heal matters, too.


*Grief tells us we are human, but being human is who God created us to be – and only a little lower than the angels.


*When others are grieving, what we do is usually more important than what we say – and the most important thing to do is simply show up with love and care. While well-meant in the saying, God did not need another angel, she or he may be in a better place but those who grieve the loss are not. An “I love you” or “I’m sorry” and, where appropriate, a hug says it all.


*It is okay to grieve as we celebrate. We say THANKS BE TO GOD for the one we have loved. We say THANKS BE TO GOD for the healing that has come to her. We say THANKS BE TO GOD for the gift from God he was and is.


We thank God for those we love and have lost.

We thank God for today.

We thank God for the life to come.


In all things today, let us say:

Thanks be to God.



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