Day 34 of 100 Days of Grief

"We each survive in our own way."
-Sarah J. Maas

This post talks about making a list or inventory of survival strategies.  To be honest I had no idea what it was talking about until it asked me what were some coping strategies that had worked in the past.  I feel like this post might be a bit easier to write about because it's talking about ways to heal.  I feel like the last couple have been talking about being in the trauma and pain and I haven't been able to go there. 

I've been thinking the last couple of days that I wanted to try and not write so much about my spiritual journey with this.  I know some people can't relate to it and I didn't want to come across as preachy or pushy but as I was reflecting about it, it felt like I wasn't being true to my healing if I avoided it.  It seems like my scriptures, prayer and time to ponder has been the balm to my pain.  Just know that I understand completely if it doesn't fit for everyone. 

I wrote a list about things that I wanted to study and learn this year related to the scriptures and talks.  I've been working on reading general conference talks from the previous general conference.  While I was getting ready to run I decided to work my way backwards through the talks.  I opened the general conference and randomly picked a talk.  I'm absolutely positive that Heavenly Father helped guide my quick fingers to this specific talk.

The talk is titled "The Immediate Goodness of God" by Kyle S. McKay.  In it he talked about how during trials and different hard situations God doesn't always relieve you from your trial.  At times instead he shows His goodness with immediate blessings.  I've often thought about when I prayed and didn't receive any answers or didn't feel anything.  My mind reflected on Joseph Smith while he was in Liberty Jail.  The words that came to mind were "were is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?"  I feel like those same words came out of my heart.  "Where are you?"  "Why are you making me go through this alone?"  "Why did you take my baby away?"

I used to hate God's answer to Joseph.  It seemed so harsh and unfeeling.  But as I read recently the first things He say's I felt were directed towards me. "My son, peace be unto they soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."  In my mind I could hear a loving Father say the same to me.  Saying "My daughter, I'm sending you peace and your pain and sorrow will not last forever." 

It gives me comfort now, but when I was praying and not receiving any answers I felt alone and broken.  But something I read in that talk helped me understand.  He said, "I realize that sometimes life's experiences create confusion and turbulence that can make it difficult to receive or recognize or retain the kind of relief that came to Emilie and Alicia.  I have been through such times.  I testify that, during such times, our mere preservation is a tender and powerful manifestation of the immediate goodness of God."  In that moment when I wasn't feeling anything it wasn't because He wasn't there.  It was because I wasn't able to recognize Him.  He was there "preservering me in a tender and powerful manifestation of the immediate goodness of God." 

As I learned and reflected I found that I needed to humble myself.  I was broken but I wasn't alone.  I had friends and family and people from the other side who were uplifting me.  As I've been studying this past week in 1 Nephi where Nephi was tied up by his brothers for four days.  After he was untied the first thing that was, "I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions."  I think Nephi probably recognized that in his trial God had not left him but was "preserving'' him as well.  I hope that as I go through more trials instead of being angry I can realize that God is with me, even when it is not always apparent. 

I found that each day I'm learning and studying I'm healing.  I'm finding answers to my prayers that help ease the pain.  I still had to go through the worst pain and anguish I've ever experienced.  But I didn't do it alone.  I don't understand fully why everything has happened but as I have faith and try to study it out, I'm receiving answers.  It was hard at first.  I didn't want to read the scriptures.  I didn't want to pray.  I was upset and hurt.  But I think God knew that and was waiting patiently for me to recognize His hand in my healing. 

Other things that have helped I've already talked about.  Running and doing my yoga has been so helpful.  I have been able let out pent out anger or release emotions.  Or just find peace in my breathing.  I'm not sure why but most times doing some physical action or exercise helped to release emotions that I didn't even know were there. 

I've found healing in writing.  When I try to talk about what I've been through the words just never came through.  I couldn't form the words that could express the intense emotions I was feeling.  And I couldn't completely express why I was feeling those things.  Writing gives me a chance to think about what I want to say and gives me the time to think how to say it.  It also helps me understand what I'm feeling and I'm able to mourn. 

There are other times where my coping mechanisms probably aren't the most healthy.  Many times I've had to remove myself from certain situations.  More like I ran from hard situations.  I've put myself in situations where I knew it would make me cry or feel pain.  I read books that were incredibly emotional.  I kept myself super busy so I didn't have to feel.  And I've succumbed to despair and depression. 

I think that's all part of the grief and mourning though.  At times you are strong and you find things that work to help you get through each day.  Then there are other days where you just can't.  You lay in bed and give into the feelings of despair and loneliness and self pity.  And there are times when all the coping mechanisms don't work because you've gone so low you can't get back up without medical help.  But eventually the days get easier.  The pain isn't so crippling.  For me now it's just an ache in my heart that I'm not sure will ever go away. 


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