Grief Brief 193
RECOUNT YOUR STORY
One of the most effective recovery techniques available is to recount your experience.
Some friends are more tolerant than others when it comes to listening to your grief experiences.
Sometimes your pain causes them pain.
If you find your need to recount your experience is greater than your friends can bear, seek out a professional counselor.
Their work is to listen and they will be able to help you channel your experience in a positive recovery direction. (Mourning Light II, 2016)
Recently, my daughter, had a woman share a story of loss with her. This woman has kept her loss a secret for quite some time, years in fact. Although my daughter does not know this woman all that well, this woman reached out to her and shared her most protected experience in life.
Sometimes people who have made grave mistakes keep them secret. This is usually due to embarrassment, or perhaps the behavior was taboo and the person is fearful of reprisal or rejection. When the secret is tied to death, keeping it a secret will most likely cause severe recovery complications. Some mourners try to avoid their pain through distractions.
GRIEF BRIEF 88
COMPLICATION DISTRACTERS & MASKERS
Some mourners try to minimize or avoid their grief with distracters and maskers.
Popular distracters include food, excessive exercise, anger, isolation, sex, shopping, work, movies, books, and TV.
Popular maskers include alcohol, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, and illegal drugs.
Self-medicating is never appropriate as it has a tendency to take control of your life and in no way contributes to recovery. It may also be very dangerous to your health and well-being.
If you find that you are spending excessive hours in the distracters mentioned above, you might reevaluate your coping skills.
At some point, you need to realize that you are delaying your grief experience and that it may soon turn into complicated grief. (Mourning Light I, 2016)
Once the survivor enters a complicated grief scenario and continues to maintain the secret, they may be in jeopardy of death themselves. At this juncture, their death may be self-inflicted or caused by overstressing the body.
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The emotional impact of grief is often described as “heartache” or “heartbreak.”
Survivors suffering grief endure elevated stress hormone production.
The stress hormones associated with grief can negatively one’s health.
In individuals who are vulnerable, stress hormones can increase rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.
Acute stress can lead to cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy is an acute form of cardiac illness. (Mourning Light II, 2016)
Throughout my tenure as a funeral director and grief counselor, I have found that there are certain things that assist people in their grief. Without fail, the most effective practice is prayer. I can attest to this myself. Upon the loss of my grandson, I thought that life would end for me. Had it not been for the gift and power of prayer, I think I should have perished. In certain circumstances, however, forgiveness plays a vital part in recovery.
Grief Brief 206
Forgiveness is a gift graciously given to us through the examples and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Anger and pain held close to our hearts cause extreme stress and toxins to build up within our bodies, minds, and souls.
Extreme stress and toxins invite illness and death to overtake us.
Forgiveness toward those who have wronged us, or toward ourselves for the wrongs we have inflicted upon others, releases us from the ravages of evil and internal conflict.
By accepting the gift of forgiveness, we flood ourselves with the power to overcome, heal, and recover from any wrong, thrown, or perpetrated.
Please open your soul to the “Miracle of Forgiveness.” (Mourning Light II, 2016)
If you are suffering a secret death, I hope that you will reach out to someone and allow them to help you. If your secret is imposed due to impropriety, embarrassment, taboo circumstances, or any other reason, please realize that letting go of your secret releases you from its dagger. If those you love can’t love you enough to help you overcome the devastations of loss, perhaps it is time to let them go too. Life is too precious to suffer through it with the weight of death suffocating the breath of life from your chest.
I hold a secret that I cannot share. I have held my secret for over 50 years. My secret is so vile and embarrassing that I am ashamed of it, ashamed of myself. This secret has caused me over half a century of stress, pain, turmoil, and self-loathing. However, as terrible as my secret is, it is not hinged to a death. After experiencing the death of my grandson, I know that had his death been associated with a secret, I would never have survived.
I hurt for this woman who shared her secret with my daughter. I wish there were something I could do to help her. I can’t though, for my daughter guards this woman’s secret for safekeeping.
My daughter asked me, other than expressing condolences, what she might do to help this woman. As she is not at liberty to reveal the secret, all she can do is remain available to support and assist this woman should she ever request it. Obviously, the woman felt comfortable enough to share her secret with my daughter initially, maybe one day she will feel the freedom to ask for more. Until then, my daughter must be that person who stands ready to provide understanding through purity and non-judgmental love.
I am proud of my daughter. She is loving and willing to help others in any way that she can. I guess this poor woman, suffering the anguish of loss mixed with secrecy, recognized that she could trust my daughter, and shared her pain. That is the beginning of her recovery. That is the beginning of her heart reopening to Christ and His miracle of forgiveness. His light has begun inching its way back into her life.
I shall pray for this woman; that she will find the strength to overcome the evil that holds her and that one day she will be able to let it go. I shall also pray for my daughter; that she will be open to the promptings of Christ and be able to help this suffering woman to a place where she might again live in peace. Additionally, I shall continue praying for myself that through His grace I too shall one day be able to let go of my secret and return to His fold, purified through His miracle of forgiveness.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, Podcaster, and founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, Podcasts, and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, please visit my podcast “Deadline” at https://open.spotify.com/show/7MHPy4ctu9OLvdp2JzQsAA or at https://anchor.fm/tracy874 and follow me on Instagram at “Deadline_TracyLee”.