A Message from Shari Swanson

I wonder if you are like me and appreciate a good set of directions? Whether it's putting something together, baking a yummy treat, or driving to a new destination, I appreciate having instructions that will help me be successful. Unfortunately there are some experiences in life that just don't come with a set of instructions and grief is one of those.

Perhaps you have heard of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The use of the word 'stages' can give you the impression that there is a certain order to them, but unfortunately, there isn't. You can cycle through them in any order and even revisit a few of them. There is no road map for grief.

My first loss of a family member happened in my 20's. It was my grandfather who I really didn't know all that well, so the emotions I experienced surprised me. My response was to stuff those feelings down. A few years later, I was in a creative writing class and I had to write about a past emotional experience. It was in the writing about the loss of my grandfather that I actually grieved. When I had two more losses (my mom and a husband) in my mid thirties, I was starting to learn the value of being intentional in my grief; however, I still didn't process it well. By then I had my own children and it was more important to me that they process their loss. Also, I had the mindset that I needed to be strong for them.

Can you relate to any of my grief experiences? Do you stuff your emotions? Do you place other's needs before your own? How have those things helped you? I don't know about you, but my approach to grief was not helpful. I eventually grieved in a big way, but it would have been easier and more effective had I done it in smaller, more intentional ways.

That is what we want to encourage those of you in our church to do: Be intentional about grieving and take it on in small amounts. To help you with this, we have a Bereavement Plan for anyone who loses a family member or someone special. Over the course of 13 months, we come alongside you in the form of cards, resources, and calls to support and encourage you in your own grief journey.

We invite you to let us know when you find yourself entering into a season of grief since we can only offer our assistance if we know about the loss. If you want to be included on our plan or if you want to learn more you can email me sharis@beaverton.cc.

Mourning is to be expected but you can also expect that others will want to come alongside you in your grief. Let us come alongside you.

Ecclesiastes 3:4
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.


Shari Swanson
BCC Care Lead