8 things I wish I would have known about grief
1 It doesn’t end. I wish it did. In the beginning that is your hope, this will end. Nine months later, the fact that I can still feel so devastated and so confused by the events is overwhelming. The best advice I heard but never really believed: You never get over it; you just learn to live with the pain. I wanted relief from the pain but no matter how busy you stay or how far you run….It is still there.
Wise people let you grieve at your pace. There is a grace for your pace—Christine Caine. I was not wise, but now I know. There is a pace and grace that only someone who has walked this road can understand. You make progress only to wake up one day unable to function. Like a cork bobbing on an ocean, you won’t totally sink but you will be tossed around and sometimes the current takes you places you don’t intend to go, but….it is all a necessary part of the healing. Drowning in it seems to be a choice(at least for me) but sinking for a time and gasping for air, treading water and screaming for help all seem “par for the course”. I remember Justin(about 3 years old) one time jumping into the pool without his floaties. He was totally surprised, just barely covered by the water, his head tilted up and eyes wide open. I looked down at him and could see the shock on his face…he seemed to be saying how could I be under the water, I always float. It took me only a moment to grab him and pull him to safety but even once safe he was still sputtering and choking, gasping for air. Like Justin, I expected to float through this life without sinking and like Justin sometimes I am still shocked to find myself gasping underwater but I know my God is always there and when it seems the water is too deep to bear, He reaches down and pulls me to safety. There is no hurrying this pain, only learning to swim with it one day at a time and drowning less and less.
Sadness does not equal depression or for that matter, oppression. In biblical times those grieving wore black for a year. If you have lost someone close to you, you understand that a year is not long, and a clear sign to make others kinder and more patient might actually be nice. Sadness is an emotion that is part of who we are as children of God. All throughout scripture we see examples of sadness and even the Holy Spirit can be grieved. So I am learning to be okay with being sad, to not feel it is necessary to hide it when it comes creeping on me. Sadness will always be within me, not controlling me, not robbing me of the present joy, but still it will be there. I have yet to meet anyone who has suffered a catastrophic loss that says differently. So when you see my face contort, and I am biting my cheek and my eyes fill with tears, just know I am not losing the battle I am just simply feeling the war of emotions. It is okay to be sad; I just try not to set up camp there. I wish I would have understood this better and spent less time thinking about how to make someone grieving happier and instead invested more time holding hands, while giving them the space to be sad. I am sorry about that friends.
People like to talk about their loved one that has passed on. You are not reminding them, you are honoring them. I, like most was guilty of this….awkwardly rambling on and skirting the most important thing on everyone’s mind. I wish I would have known grief needs to be expressed and memories are all you have left as an expression of that love.
When I worship I experience all sorts of emotions but mostly His love. It is there that my most intimate encounters happen; it is there that my joy is made complete and hope is often restored. That is where I experience open heaven; it’s not weird that I cry in those moments or any reason for concern on anybody’s part. I wish I would have understood this better, instead of invading peoples moments. I could have given them space instead of interrupting their open heaven. (Just listen to the Holy Spirit sometimes it is the right thing, sometimes not...)
All the little things matter. I wish I would have known how valuable a card is, a friends memory, sharing pictures, a tight hug, a meal, a movie, a favorite candy, a visit, a phone call, etc. All those little things that say, I haven’t forgotten your pain and I love you in the midst of it. I wish I would have known that they continue to be important. I wish I would have done that better, but now I know.
Don’t feel guilty about laughter. Laughter is a close cousin to grief and explosions of it in the midst of pain are just another outlet for all of the emotions you are experiencing. I felt guilty in the beginning for laughing and then well, I got over it. Laughter does a body good.
Love never dies. I wish I would have known this about grief. People die, love never dies and that is why pain persists. It makes perfect sense now.
So all that to say; I wish I had known, but then too have known it I would have had to experience it…Well, you can see the conundrum. I am happy to share what I have learned in hopes of helping others and probably as a form of therapy as well. Thanks for not charging me for therapy.
I am learning what a new kind of happiness looks like…not in my circumstances but in my God. You think you have joy, until it is put to the test like this. Trust me this, this takes practice.
JOY(Jesus, Others, You) ….I have lot’s of it, but at the same time I still have sorrow. Yep, they can coexist. One day I will take the time to prove it with scripture but in the meantime, trust me. I am happy for what’s to come, who I have in my life and whom I belong to.
- August 09, 2014
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