Grief: Starting the Journey Toward Healing and Peace
by Caesar Rentie
Vice President, Pastoral Care Services
Methodist Health System
As vice president of Pastoral Services for Methodist Health System, I see grief on a daily basis. Grieving patients. Grieving families. Grieving staff and first responders. With the tragic events of the past few weeks, it seems that the city of Dallas and the nation as a whole are enveloped by grief.
The Oxford Dictionary defines grief as, “deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” For me, Julie Yarbrough, a member of Methodist Health System Foundation board of trustees and author of Beyond the Broken Heart, captures the essence of grief when she writes, “The most fundamental truth of grief is this: We grieve because we love. Love and grief are inextricably linked. If we did not love, our hearts would not be broken by death. The greater our love, the deeper and more profound our grief.”
When I think about my community, the people who live here and with whom I work, I realize that my pain is connected to love — the love for our peace officers who lost their lives while performing their duty to protect and serve. However, as much as my heart hurts, I remain hopeful because I believe out of faith, hope, and love, nothing is greater than love. And that includes my grief.
You may be grieving, too, and not even realize it. What are the signs? For some, it may be unrelenting emotional sadness and tears. Others may not feel the loss right away, choosing instead to focus on the litany of things that need to be done. But, in the end, that only delays the grieving process so the overwhelming sadness often comes back. Other signs may include lack of interest or focus, loss of energy, and disrupted sleep patterns.
What’s important to us as spiritual caregivers is to help others find meaning in loss. That means we try to help others access their faith and find reconciliation to a new normal. So what can you do to move forward?
- Give yourself permission to reflect. Take time for yourself. Sit in the moment.
- Find community with whom you can connect and share your heart. A quiet, welcoming ear, such as that offered by a chaplain, can provide comfort, strength, and understanding to begin to unravel the complexities that often surround grief.
- Make use of your faith. Whatever your faith tradition is, find a way to access it and connect with your higher power.
As our community and our Methodist family become more diverse culturally and ethnically, it’s important to recognize that we each experience grief at different rates and in different ways. The key is to be transparent with our feelings. Be vulnerable and willing to admit when we’re in pain. Evidence suggests that it takes two years to move through the grieving process.
If you’re looking for an organization that values fairness and respect of the individual and provides a supportive environment for those who are grieving, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.
© Methodist Health System