“Grief is a journey, often perilous and without clear direction, that must be taken. The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.” ~ Molly Fumia
I recently read that it takes courage to grieve. I remember the intense feelings after my Mom died. The hole in my heart ached and ached. And for a time, I thought it would just go away. But it followed me everywhere and I could not shake it. One day a friend talked about how sad she was after having to put her beloved pet down. The feelings she described were very similar to my own. And I saw her pain and sadness. They were real and she was expressing them. At that point, I realized that I was not doing the work of grief that I needed to do so at that point I plunged in. I talked with God – I knew He said He could heal our broken hearts. So I gave Him a challenge – I would feel my grief fully and trust that as I did so, He would ultimately heal my broken heart. It was a messy journey. I did not miss an opportunity to allow myself to enter fully into the emotion of the moment. I know there were times when Mike would wonder if he would ever have his wife back. And there were times when little Rebecca would look at me with those big blue four year old eyes and wonder where her Mom went. But in the end, there was no doubt that God filled the ache in my heart as I allowed Him to. It was up to me to determine how intimately I would allow Him in. And after my Dad died, I was more familiar with the process although the journey was very different. Losing my second parent left me with the sense that I was on my own in a sense. I felt like I lost some of my own history. But I did my work once again…and God did His. Through each grief journey I learned a lot about how our culture deals with death and grieving. We live in a culture that is very uncomfortable with talking about it. We ask how others are handling their grief but I am not so sure we really want to know. Mostly because there is nothing we can do and we are left with a helpless feeling. I am discovering that I don’t always need people to do something for me. I need them to be. To be present in my sadness. To be willing to enter into my messy days. To stick with me and cheer me on when I stumble through the days and to remind me that God is good; that He has given me unique talents that will one day be put to good use. And not to expect me to explain how I am doing because most of the time I just don’t know. Sounds odd but it is true. This afternoon I tried telling Rebecca how I was feeling and I came up blank. There are no words that come to mind.
So I am taking courage. Knowing I am not doing this alone. And knowing that someday my heart will be whole again. I know it. I’ve experienced it before. This will take a long time. A very long time. In the meantime I will fight to remember that God’s love never fails and He will always love me. (song: “Always Loved You” by Third Day)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19
“The Lord my god is my fortress – the Mighty Rock where I can hide.” Psalm 94:22b