Where Do We Go From Here?

Intro

INTRODUCTION
You have lost a parent. You’ve grieved. Now what? There’s no easy way to figure out where to go from here or how to properly move on from grieving. The undeniable truth is that your life will never be the same again. You have lost a parent, and now you have to move on with your life, which now does not have that parent in it. That doesn’t mean you forget them, it just means they are not there for you on a daily basis.
What you need to understand is that no matter what, your Heavenly Father is still there. He will always be with you. Day in and day out. Run to him when you feel distraught or upset or excitement or joy, and he will comfort you and guide you toward the next part of your life. 

Story

My mom died in her sleep on September 12, 2010. She looked peaceful when I first saw her dead which gave me comfort. Since that day, my life has been forever different. The worst part is that she was starting to get so much better the last 3 months of her life. She was eating, getting out, wearing make-up - almost back to her old self. Our last conversation on the phone was beautiful - I will never forget it. I know that she knew I loved her more than anything in this world.

For the 6 weeks after mom's death, I was completely numb. It did not seem real, while I grieved tremendously, the real feeling of loss did not set in until about 2 weeks ago - right after the 2-month mark. I have realized that she is gone and have become extremely angry. Angry at how she could do this to me. Angry at the fact that she had to leave when we had so many years ahead. I am so depressed. I have pains in my body and am losing a great deal of weight. Slowly I see myself shutting out friends and loved ones - people that have cared for me during this time and others that have let me down. I sleep a great deal. I think of her every moment of every day. I go to school and on the weekends just want to be alone. The thought of Christmas makes me cry. I feel that I will never be truly happy again. I have no immediate family to turn my attention toward - just a father and brother 6,000 miles away that I am not close to. What now?

Sometimes I can be happy but it is short-lived and only when I am with other people in a social setting. Going to the gym and school seem to be my only healthy outlets but those are waning as well. If things progress as they are, I will be a lonely man sitting at home with absolutely no one. Will things ever get better?

I felt a pain in my heart. I am not speaking metaphorically; I mean I really felt my heart hurting! Then I started to cry. Now I never cry; I can't; it is not some Manly Man thing. I have just been through so much in my life and have had to be the strong one that I guess over time my body has adjusted to not crying. I cried for the first time in about 9 years. The sadness reached to my soul and wouldn't let go.
I know some people have gone through this. Does it get better with time?

(Stories taken from Experience Project)

Bible intro

In this story, King David loses a son. Perhaps like you, he spent a lot of time praying and fasting and hoping that his child would get better, but it did not happen. Even though he grieved, David moved on with his life and much of the story we know about him as the king takes place after this death.

Personal Questions
1. Do you relate to a part or all of the story above? If part, which part(s)
2. What emotions are dominant in your heart right now? Anger? Emptiness? Bewilderment?
3. What emotions do you think David was feeling while his son was sick?
4. Does David’s response to knowing about his son’s death shock you? Would you want to tell the king of this event?
5. If you are struggling with moving on, how do you plan to handle and process those emotions?
6. Do you believe that asking God for help and comfort right now makes a difference? Is that something that is easy or hard for you to do?
7. What sort of situation do you think the psalmist was in when he wrote that prayer to God? What did the psalm writer believe about God? What was the psalmist feeling?
8. How do you think faith influences your grief and desire to move on? How resilient do you think you are when you face these kinds of trials that a military family goes through?
Prayer

Dear Jesus,
I struggle to know how to move on without letting my parents down. I don’t want to dishonor them, but I feel as if the time for grieving is over. Help me to figure out how to move on, Lord. Show me how to keep my parent’s memory alive while at the same time moving on with living my own life.
Amen

411

The reality is that this may be too much for you to handle. The grief that you are experiencing over the death of your mom or dad may seem insurmountable. Instead of trying to handle it all on your own or look for help from friends who may be over their head, have the courage to seek out help from people who are experienced and educated. One resource is through your youth leaders and chaplains. Other parents and trusted adults can help, too. Perhaps your base or community has grief counselors. They can help you or connect you with someone who is equipped to guide you. Another can be found though the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. For more information go to:
http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/Bereavement_Counseling.asp

Challenge

T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) has an article about Military children and Grief. In order to facilitate communication between you and your family, I want you to read this article with a member of your family, perhaps a sibling or even a grandparent, and discuss how this fits into your situation. You can read it separately if you need time to process, but the point is to talk with one another about this article and your present situation. Pick out things you liked or didn’t like. What described you? What has nothing to do with your personal story? To take it one step further, read Psalm 139 and John 14:27 or another verse that has stuck out to you along with this article. Consider how your faith in God impacts you and how you process your grief.

http://www.taps.org/magazine/article.aspx?id=6251

Words

These are some great words in the form of a song/poem by Linkin Park

Stories

These two young men tell their story in songs that they wrote, both with the same title. The question of “Where do I go from here?” seems to be answered a little differently by each guy. What do you think of their responses? Does one seem ‘healthier’ or more ‘resilient’ than the other? What’s do you think makes the difference?

Son of A Soldier 

Son of A Soldier 

Scripture

Isaiah 41:10 - Do not be afraid - I am with you! I am your God - let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.

John 14:27 - Jesus said: "Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.

Romans 8:38-39 - For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love...there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Revelation 14:13 - The Lord promises to bless those who have faith in him when they die.

Video

Watch this clip from P.S. I Love You, where Holly sings a love song to her deceased husband. Think about what she’s saying to him despite the fact that she’s moving on.

In this clip from Remember the Titans, older Sheryl is narrating about how the team’s captain, Gerry Bertier, has passed on and what impacts he made on his teammates. Think about your own loss and how that person can still make an impact on you, your family, and the people around you. 

Disney movies have dealt with the death of a parent several times. Take a look at these scenes. How do each of these young characters ‘move on’ after the death of a parent?

Life Questions
1. Rewrite Psalm 139 in a journal or notebook. Make the words or phrases that are important to you bigger; give them shapes and colors. Use drawing, writing, etc. to express the parts of the psalm that describe your soul right now and spend some time articulating those feelings to God.
2. Look at the Supporting Scripture section and choose one to memorize this week. Put it by your bed, fridge, locker, or somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. Tell a family member or close friend why you chose that verse and what you need to understand about Jesus Christ’s presence in your life.
3. Write your own psalm, poem, or prayer and try including the 3 components from Psalm 139 – that God knows us, that he is always there, and that his protection is constant and all encompassing. If words won’t come to you at this time, find another way to communicate these things to God like drawing, dancing, making a video, or whatever way you find easiest to talk to Jesus.
Reflect

Read the following article about Moving Beyond Grief by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Can you identify with any of the steps listed? Do the suggestions help? Are there any others that you could add to the list? Discuss it with your family and see if you can help each other remember your lost loved one.

http://www.creativecounselors.com/articles/grief.htm