Two Years in Grief
My pen has been silent for over a year, at least in regards to grief. Many times I have stopped to write, but the words didn’t come. Was it because I hadn’t learned anything new or because I didn’t have anything valuable to offer? Still feeling empty, with regards to wisdom and what grief has taught me. The road has been long and winding. It has been interspersed with personal and relational struggles, health issues, more loss and fears. But there are a few things worthy of sharing, if nothing more than to help another suffering. I have watched several friends lose their parents this year. I stand by as they grieve, checking in with them, and making sure they are surviving. I replay in my mind the tragedy they witnessed, the shock and denial they are feeling, and their experience mirrors my own and I am thrust back in. Though still chronically painful, now, there is less sting, there is enough release that I can now think more clearly about how I can help them. And that, I feel is my ultimate lesson learned. Through my experience of being supported in regular ways, amazing ways, or being forgotten, I have learned what to do to help others. Upon exploring God’s word in regards to grief, this verse stood out to me this year…
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (My emphasis added)
WOW. I have thought may times how people’s testimonies are so that they may help others struggling with similar trials. I have learned in the last year that my favorite books and articles involve people, their struggles, and their triumphs over them. And as this verse says, our comfort can be used to comfort others, and I have been acutely aware of a draw towards channeling my grief into something productive. I am not an anomaly, grief is as common as life, for throughout, we will gain and lose, and the Lord giveth and taketh away. But my lesson learned is what we DO with that grief is instrumental. Some will wallow in it for a time and let it consume them, others will move past it almost easily, and still others will write book, start support groups, and not stand by without it having a clear purpose. I hope to be the latter.
I have been praying for some time about how God would use my grief to help others. Sometimes, I feel unworthy, that losing so many people in my life, and then a parent is no different than others I know. I close my mouth and mind and then I am brought back to this place, again, pondering. There has to be more to my experience, than aching and moving on…I long to help someone else. So I pick up my pen and write again, not knowing where this will go.
Two years into grief, the sting is softer now. Still, no day passes where I don’t think of, remember, and miss my sweet Daddy, but I can sometimes imagine him with a smile now. I can get through Christmas without the gut wrenching pain, and can talk about him without tears. The memories are fading in my little one, who has now been alive longer without her Grampy than with him, a thought once too painful for my heart to bear. It is now my job to teach her about his legacy, and this is a job I don’t take lightly.
I have learned that grief will only continue, more frequently, as those in my life are lost. I have learned that these losses only make me long for heaven more, eager to see what God has for us. The Lord states that the darkness of today will only be cast out by the light and joy we feel tomorrow. I cling to the hope of heaven, because then, the sorrows of the earth will be long gone and forgotten. I am not afraid to die, because of my faith in Jesus Christ I know I get to see those I miss again!
The Lord promises to comfort. There have been times when I felt so alone in my grief, that the world was so tired of hearing me mourn and groan, that I kept it to myself and if not for the Lord himself I may have died in it. I look back and know that those tears I shed were wiped dry by him, and that they will not be wasted. Every tear will be replaced with countless joys.
With time has come the acceptance, that is so longed for in grief. Finally, I have agreed that my Daddy isn’t coming back and life is starting to become a new “normal.” Though I will never be the same, I could not possibly be the same, because a piece of me is missing. I love this poem I came across, it speaks exactly what my heart has felt and is feeling…
I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was a sad time
That followed the death of someone you love.
And you had to push through it
To get to the other side.
But I’m learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.
There is Absorption.
And grief is not something that you complete.
But rather you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish,
And move on.
But an element of yourself-
An alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing.
A new definition of self.
Indeed I am a new me, a me without my Daddy on this earth, still a mother, still a wife, still a daughter, not improved, just different.
As I turned 40, I became so reflective and introspective. There is so much to be learned and the most important is community and people. And so, I gear up to run the course. My friends will lose their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, beloved mentors, co-workers, and friends. There will be many broken hearts to comfort and encourage, there will be many hugs to give, many meals to cook, many tears to share. There will be many opportunities, to NOT be the one to leave them behind in their pain, but instead to call the grieving with a sweet message about their loved one and a validation of their legacy. A choice to not take the easy, tearless road, but rather to embark upon the weeping, difficult one.