Recently a dear friend’s mom lost her husband. When this happens I am always so perplexed at how to express my concern and to convey the exact words to help. I am just not one of those people who has a way with words. I know some who always seem to know the right words or even when to say nothing. They are able to make any situation feel okay, to feel loved, to feel understood. Boy, I am not one of those. I try, I really do, but I always seem to evoke the stare of “What.”
As I have watched my friend and her mother over the last month, it makes me see the side of grief that is all so real. We all must at one point or another face grief. We will all experience the loss of a loved one and be left wondering how to move forward in life without this person by our side, next door, or a phone call away. The life that we face every morning at some point ends for us all. However the grieving process is one that is individual to each of us.
I have often wondered how a process can change for so many things. Grieving is not only just for the passing of a loved one, but also for so many other things in life. Many people will be faced with the grieving process over losing something very important to them. This loss may be a job, a pet, a friendship, a relationship, a marriage, or even a special item. These events can cause us to go through that same grieving process.
One thing that they all entail is tremendous pain and time. I myself have been through this process and there is not a quick way out. There is not an easy exit, there is no I’m done and I want out. There is only day by day and time. For me, time was not only my friend, but my enemy. Every day seemed to be an eternity. I lived for night when I could put away the “I’m doing okay face” and let my insides rise to the surface. I turned to what I needed to get me by, wine. When my kids were tucked safe in bed, I opened the wine to ease the pain that I could not face. That whole first 6-8 months were filled with dreading the morning and longing for the night. I only lived for night. That was all I could see. If I could just make it till 8pm. I would be okay. It was a blur. It was almost like I was operating in a dream. It was almost not real.
Many people shared with me and told me that time would make things better. At that moment, I could not see how. But the days did turn to weeks, then months, then years and life became routine and normal. The pain subsided from moments of not thinking of the pain, to hours, to eventually a whole day might pass. I have not moved to more than a day, but I know I will. I no longer need wine to get me through the evening hours. I did not let this pain beat me down and it was through God’s word I was able to move forward through that river.
I realize that we are all different, but facing grief is such a hard task. We (especially women) want to be strong and tough for our families. We want to heal quickly. But in reality, we must give ourselves time. Loosing something is very hard. It is a tremendous burden that we must endure, but we must also learn from it and not let it make us bitter.
During my time of grief I turned whole heartedly to God. I have never felt him more than in that time. He spoke to me so often. I began to journal everything that I witnessed. One particular day I prayed and prayed for guidance I just didn’t know how I was going to make it through a particular event. The minute I walked into my house the phone rang, and it was the preacher from church. He was calling to check up, he had been thinking of me. WOW! if that is not God, then I don’t know what is. He showed me so many times that he was there.
He was there encouraging me to go to Bible studies. Pushing me to church on Sundays. Without his push in the right direction, I am not sure how my healing would have been. I turned to his word. I realized that I needed him to heal. I needed to seek his word so that I would be able to have a whole heart and soul. You know many times we meet those people in our lives who have never recovered from grief. They are shells of their former selves. God does not ask this. He wants us to enjoy the life that he has given. He gives us day after day to seek his word and to spread his love to all those around us. Each day we wake in the morning is another gift he is granted to us. Why waste it on a lifetime of grief.
Yes, we must go through the process and we must find our way, but with God’s help he moves us to a better life. Take the pain and move to where he wants us to be. Many times God takes a tragedy and it enables us to become closer to the path he wants us to be on. I belief that life is hard, but we must seek God’s guidance to make life joyful with what we are given.
Grief is such a terrible pain to walk through. The path is long and the trail can go in so many different directions. As you make your way through, you begin to see little rays of light on the side of the path. Then the light begins to emerge and you do see a way out. You realize your life is not over, only the chapter or season you were in is over. There is so much more. As hard as it is to see, there is so much to come, sometimes even better than before.
I continue to have days that are never easy and events that I would rather stay home. However God wants us out enjoying the days he gives us. He wants us to be true to his word and bring joy to our hearts. He will if we let him. He will if we just let him in.