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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The frustration of repetition in the grief journey

Photo by Ian Froome on Unsplash

I have heard so many people in their grief journey repeat the same stories time and again. I’m patient because I’ve been there. Even as I surveyed my old journals of 2003 and 2004 I was reminded of this important and crucial facet of the grief process.
Grief has been described as a love process without outlet; except that is for sadness, tears, and tired stories. It’s so true. And this has to be given increased profile and trajectory in our time, for grief is a part of each of our lives for a determinate and appointed time(s).
I recall being so tired of reeling out the same stories so repetitively with my parents, I would go and repeat variations of the same stories of loss to any who would listen. Little doubt I had many mentors in those heady days. I thank God for their patience.
I would often wonder, ‘why are these people so patient with me when I’m so impatient with myself…?’ My impatience stemmed from the pain I would feel in recounting these depressing stories. But strangely that is how God was healing me. He was giving me the avenue of purging. And the pain I felt was simply love not being met, and yet I was met in those loving, listening ears of my mentors of the time.
The greatest gift we can give the grieving is the gift of our listening without judgment, opinion or advice. This listening takes place in the awkward fissures of faith, the exact place none of us likes going. But God is in the listening. He meets us there, if we’re there focused on the person in our midst.
So, if you’re grieving and you find such frustration in the repetition of the season, go gently this time.
God has a purpose in this repetition. It is His way for us to access the expression we need. These repetitive processes are necessary for our healing, even if they do make us mad at the time. They always seem to take too long, but that is the nature of adjusting to loss.
Be kind and generous to yourself at this time. What we do for healing doesn’t always make sense to us at the time. And that is faith; to journey forward trusting in what can seem bizarre. Allow yourself the freedom of expressing your grief repetitively. God will help you know when you no longer need to do it.
The season of grief is long, too long, outrageous in its length. Sounding like a broken record is part of the journey. It’s normal. Give yourself that freedom when an angel in skin willingly listens to you.

Anger is a typical repetitive response in grief. It isn’t wrong if it is safely expressed. In grief, be gentle with yourself and others.

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