By Sister Gabrielle Rowe, ASC

I recently wrote in this space about grief and loss, which prompted one reader to ask for further guidance on the topic. The reader wanted to be able to share feelings of grief and loss with others, without having the conversation devolve into a communal commiseration.

There is a great deal already available in books and online about techniques for dealing with personal tragic loss through death and the debilitating grief that naturally follows. 

Any response I might make on ways for sharing such grief would seem so general as to be useless. However, there are multiple less tragic events that occur every day in our lives. These may include disappointment at our own or another’s weaknesses and failures; frustration with family or friends who fail our expectations repeatedly; unexpected financial setbacks; worsening health problems, and so on. 

It is important to recognize the significant stress that the buildup of such events can bring us. And, long-term stress usually leads to unrecognized grief that over time can cause serious physical and emotional harm.

A regular support group might make it a practice for one or two to share her most nagging stress-of-the-weekand then pray together for a release from the tension and silent grief it is causing.  

The same could be done by sharing a significant unwelcome life change and the accompanying stress. Providing a safe space for sharing is a true spiritual work of mercy.   

It’s also important to share about one’s gratitude and joy in life and to thank God for those gifts of joy and hope. Bible passages and scriptural stories of strong women are a great resource for sharing about how others have navigated difficult times in faith, hope, and trust in God.

Don’t forget a simple prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of each other’s care and support.

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