A good friend reminded last night that this journey of grief is a marathon, not a sprint. This is something I have heard several times over the last four years. As I am in the grip of grief again and watching my newly widowed brother take his first steps into this journey, I needed that reminder from my friend. It’s a Marathon.
This means that the journey of grief will take a while. We cannot expect it to end quickly, no matter how hard we try to check off all the details and get everything right along the way. Our emotions take time to process and work through. While everyone will maneuver grief in their own way at their own pace, no route will get us to the other side quickly. Therefore, it is not a sprint – it’s a marathon.
When athletics train to run a marathon, they care for their bodies. They get plenty of rest, they take in good nutrition, and they workout and practice often. Going through the grief journey has similarities. While we may not be able to rest well at first, we at least need to allow our body time to be still as we try to sleep. Taking a nap or two during the day at first will not break any rules either. Those first few days, you need to allow yourself time to rest when you can. Concentrate later on a more reasonable pattern of sleep in order to work or manage your daily schedule after the first weeks.
Appetite is one thing that may take a dive in the early days of grief. However, even if we do not feel hungry, we need to take in nourishment. Do your best to force-feed yourself if necessary. Even small amounts of protein can make a difference in your outlook and energy level. Consider the kind of calories you are taking in and make them count. Good choices will pay off as you try to fuel your body during these first incredibly tough, mind-numbing days.
Just as the athletics practice, those of us walking through grief do this as well. With this practice comes mistakes. We may not do everything perfectly, but at least we can try. Each day that you put behind you, is one day closer to the end of this painful, sorrow-filled journey. Have courage and do your best to move forward. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance. More than likely there are people just waiting in the wings for a chance to step in and help along the way.
Remind yourself that in the days ahead, it’s a marathon. Not a sprint. Give yourself grace and time as you venture forward on your journey of grief.
Until next time –