Comfort2themourning's Blog

Outreach

Most of the outreach Debbie and I have done so far has been in talking with others, finding out they recently experienced a loss, listening and/or sharing our stories with them and then telling them about this site. It is such a blessing to hear what each one has to share and the impact there has been on their family and then to be able to tell them it is OK to feel the way they do or to experience things the way they have in spite of what others have told them. They develop such an attitude of peace knowing they are “normal” in how they are dealing with their loss even though another family member may be handling it in a different way which is also “normal”.

Change in family status is not always an easy subject to deal with. When someone mentions such a change, they usually think of divorce. This subject opens a whole different page, however, we are not going to deal with it on this web site in a major way. We do understand divorce affects families in a way death doesn’t. With divorce, there is always the knowledge one party or the other made a decision to end the relationship on purpose or just through bad decision-making. There is the knowledge the other person is always around. On occasion, there is hope the relationship will be restored. Until some decision is made one way or the other, each lives in their own little world of grief, anguish and pain.  The divorcee seeks to be accepted by friends, family, co-workers, people at their church, etc. Feelings toward the divorcee may go from shock to acceptance to pity to tolerance to inclusion to rejection to many other feelings which often occur because even some of the closest people to the divorcee do not know how to respond or react to them. The one group which should provide a comfort and support zone, but often misses the mark in reaching out and meeting the needs of the divorcee is the Church. While a good number of churches have a Singles class and welcome those who are “single again”, they do so with little if any knowledge of how. Unfortunately, they tend to treat the widowed the same or worse. I believe this is because divorce is so much a part of our society any more. While people do die every day, it doesn’t happen very often in most circles where people have to deal with the subject of death for more than a few days. When someone who is divorced enters their midst, most churches either accept or reject the person and move on with the idea that what occurred can be lived with and will eventually resolve itself with either the relationship being restored, the divorcee meets someone else or they simply leave the church and the don’t have to be dealt with or considered any longer. When someone who is widowed comes among them, the church expresses feelings of sympathy, a desire to help for a short period of time and trying to help the widowed person to move on with their lives or for the church to move on and tend to forget the person and let them fade into the crowd. This seems to especially be true of the widower. Most have the attitude he is a man, is strong and can handle himself and anything which comes along. They tend to forget he is also human and has feelings. Some might offer to help him around the house helping with activities here and there for a while, going to the store with him or for him, providing meals, and doing other things, however, they slowly ease their way out figuring he can take care of himself. For some men and even women, this is true, but not always. Some who are widowed are not always in a position to take certain tasks upon themselves even taking care of their finances because their spouse always handled them for one example. When the peers of the person who is widowed begin to back off from that person, the widow or widower can often feel like they have been abandoned. Even family members tend to go back to their lives and not have much contact with the one who is widowed. The widow or widower may not have family who lives near them. A number of scenarios can arise in the life of the widowed. Debbie and I both experienced some of these very things in our own lives. We learned to overcome some of them, yet they still raised their “ugly heads” to the point where we still remember some of them and wonder what happened to those who at one time showed they cared and eventually disappeared. We realize people do need to get back to their routines, however, contact can still be maintained to at least let the person know they haven’t been forgotten about. Some who are widowed cannot deal with the idea of being alone both because they have lost their spouse and because “no one comes around anymore.” Eventually, they just give up with the feeling it isn’t worth continuing on and end up joining their spouse in death. Others, such as Debbie and me, find someone who understands and can give continuing support to one another as well as give a purpose to living and moving on with life. Even here, the church can still have a huge impact on the lives of those who remarry after being widowed, yet still have a tendency to drop the ball.

What Debbie and I would like to see happen is for doors to open up where we can go into churches, groups and organizations and help them to know either individually or collectively how to deal with someone who has suffered a loss. Many do not know what to do or how to deal with an individual (or family) and after “being nice” and showing concern and interest in how the person is doing for a few weeks or so, they simply bow out of the picture only occasionally showing they haven’t forgotten, but don’t know if they should do any more than that. All the feelings of loss and grief do not go away in that time frame simply because someone stops showing concern.

Debbie and I want to produce a presentation and write a book (which is in the works) which would give guidance to churches, groups and individuals helping them to understand how to deal with those who are widowed. We would then like to be able to go to those who are interested and share information in a single meeting or a seminar not only from our point of view and experience, but from those who share their experiences on this site. Please share with us and pray with us and for us that the Lord would give us the words and opportunity to share and minister because of our loss and to help others learn.

Debbie and I are not counselors and do not pretend to be. We do want to help others through sharing not only with our own experience, but sharing with those who have been widowed as well. We want to provide a list on the site of those who are certified counselors and don’t mind being contacted so they may share and minister as the need arises. If someone in your area has filled this need in your life, please let us know so that we might contact them and see if there is a compatibility between them and with what we are trying to accomplish through this site. If so, we will list them so others may contact them, especially if they are in the same geographic area. We want people to be able to experience healing through the words and resources of this site and for our Lord and Savior to be glorified by what we feel He has led us to do here.

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