Keys to Survival While in Debilitating Grief


Have you experienced debilitating grief?  If you have not, you are a lucky or a blessed one.  Sooner or later, most will eventually suffer unbearable grief.

Quote from Henri Nouwen:  “Who, in our lives, means the most to us?  Often it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, instead,  shared our   pain and touched our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in despair or confusion, grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

If you find someone who holds your hand, soothes your heart, as described in this quote, they become an invaluable rock to cling to.  Apparently, my husband found this type of comfort in his mistress after the death of our daughter.  Meanwhile my grief was doubled by his dalliance.  Fortuitously, I found such a friend, as the one described above, a lifetime friend to ease my griefs and help me find stability.  She tolerated my daily need for a rest before collapsing.  It even happened once during a dinner party to which I was invited.  Embarrassing, but better than falling off my chair.

The grief counselor who shared Nouwen’s quote, Helga Bender, writes, “Sometimes, grievers are advised, ‘Just keep busy,’ but you are too fatigued to do that. Grieving and mourning may be the hardest work you have ever done and that is why the Mourner’s Bill of Rights states, ‘I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits,’ and
 ‘I have the right to talk about my grief.’

I had no idea the extreme physical exhaustion I experienced was caused by grief.

Karin_L Tomc

A month from today eight years ago, we learned the cause of my daughter’s back pain – kidney cancer which had metastasized to many places.  I still speak of her daily!  She is always on my mind.  And today, in preparing for my move, I came across the hundreds of photos we have of her wedding.   What a beautiful, happy event.  The wedding of the decade!  Though my heart wants to soar with the felicity of that day, my heart recognizes the loss of her talents, effervescent personality, and contribution to life at church, in her neighborhood, professional organizations, plus family and friends.

Everyone deals with grief differently.  Some say there is no wrong way to grieve.  I disagree and grief counselors do as well.  It is important to walk through your grief appropriately and not burden yourself with issues which will not help you to heal.  If you are in the throes of grief, you can contact Helga by e-mail or call 403-775-9335 (phone and Skype available).  She offers a free 30 min. coaching phone chat about your situation.  “It will help you understand the crazy journey, get your bearings and provide support.”




About 9awalsh

A genealogist and writer who has uncovered legacy stories which must be told. I also write a blog, Deciphering Life, trying to figure out why life becomes so tangled --
This entry was posted in Deciphering Life, Grief and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Keys to Survival While in Debilitating Grief

  1. Andy Oldham says:

    I share in your grief Nina. For me, it never ends. There is always something or someone who triggers memories. Thank you for sharing your heart.


  2. Andy Oldham says:

    I just noticed her picture on her headstone. She was so pretty. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mpschrauwers says:

    I read on FB you had encountered a dragonfly yesterday.

    “The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.”

    I feel it is an interesting coincidence considering your life at the moment!



  4. 9awalsh says:

    Thank you, Melanie. That information is a revelation to me! 🙂 Yes, it is interesting considering my upcoming move. The dragonfly “chased” me around the backyard and refused to light long enough to take a picture. He almost ran into me several times as he swooped by me.


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