Catholic Church

As we explore sadness, depression, and grief, we who are grieving have come to know the pervasiveness of sadness within the grief journey.  It is sometimes hard to believe that the intense feelings of absence, aloneness, and missing will ever lighten.  What we do with these feelings is important.

Sadness is felt more strongly during the early months of grieving  quite often, if not daily.  Equating one’s degree of sadness with the degree of love and affection one had for the person who is no longer tangibly with us, helps us to move more easily through the depth of the sadness.  Choosing to remain in the sadness for long periods of time can easily lead to a depression known to some grievers.  They will visit and revisit their feelings of sadness, missing, and aloneness in order to feel closer to the person they have lost.  As mentioned, remaining there is not helpful.  Some feel it is a way to never forget the person lost. The truth is that forgetting persons with whom  we have shared days, months, and years of our lives does not easily happen.

There will always be occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or special family events when remembering with sadness will be felt.  The consoling reality is that, in time, the sadness will lighten, as it should.

However, when the sadness, related to the losses we have faced, remains intense for long periods of time (weeks or months) it can incapacitate a person physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Then depression has truly set in, that is the depression of grief.  In situations like this the grieving persons will not freely admit to the degree of depression they are experiencing, but it may become evident to those with whom they live.  In such circumstances there is a  need for professional help.  Medications, personal counseling, the support of a trusted friend or mentor, as well as a grief support group can be helpful.  These interventions can prevent the grieving person from sinking more deeply into his or her sorrow, depression, or despair.

M any grieving persons are wary of taking medications like anti-depressants, sleep medications, anti-anxiety pills, etc. for fear of becoming dependent upon them, as can happen.  Knowing that medications  can help to take the edge off of the overpowering feelings being felt can ease the fears of addiction.  It is important to realize that as the intense feelings lessen  so will the need for the medications also lessen.

In truth, as helpful as medications can, be they can dampen the many feelings that accompany  the grief process.  Feelings like anger, guilt, regret, unforgiveness, and depression do need to be looked at, internally processed, and talked about with a trusted other so we can let them go.  Blocking  feelings   for too long with many medications, denial, or even over-activity will certainly interfere with the healing that grief work can bring.

So, in conclusion, know that we will be sad, or maybe even depressed over the loss of someone special in our lives.  Remaining in the sadness or the depression of grief for too long is certainly not helpful to grieving persons.  Acquiring the assistance of a professional person can sometimes be needed.  Overall, sadness is much a part of grieving a loss because we realize that we have lost someone that we have truly loved.

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