Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I know about the journey of grief...............

I really knew nothing of grief prior to April 7, 2012.  Yes, I had grandparents die and yes, that was sad.  But it seemed the natural order of things and they had lived their lives fully and were more than willing to be in the presence of the Lord.  I also didn't have the privilege of living close to them throughout the last 25 years so the absence did not seem so life shattering.  On April 7, 2012 I was catapulted into grief with no warning.  I lost my child that was formed from me, my first born, my son that should have outlived me according to the order of life. I have received a crash course on grief.  It has been a little over two months and it seems like a lifetime; at the same time it feels like just yesterday he was standing in my dining room.  I've been pondering what I've learned about grief in this time frame:

  • Grief sucks; it's stupid.  I'm allowed to say those words.
  • Grief is personal; no two people grieve the same.  Recognizing this can preserve AND strengthen relationships.
  • Grief is a journey; it takes time.  However, our choices often determine how long we stay in a particular stage.  We can allow the "spirit of grief" to attach to us and pull us down, or pass through us with the passing of time.
  • Grief is exhausting.  Don't expect the level of accomplishment prior to grief.
  • Grief surrounds you in a cloud of mystery and confusion.  Friends and family need to step in and just "do".  Even after two months I'm not prepared to say, "This is what I need".  This annoys me.  Tom and I realized recently that there are friends that we haven't seen much or since the funeral.  We know this isn't because they don't care, but rather they are waiting for us to let them know when we need something.  We are just not there yet.  We still don't know what we need....except our son.  However, I am starting to see other people's needs and that feels good.  I think this is a good sign.
  • Grief brings emotions you never knew you had.  I honestly believe I've cried more in the last two months than I have my entire life.  Again, I do not enjoy this part.  But the release of tears is healthy as it keeps things from being bottled up and I do feel a sense of relief afterward.  I'm just wondering how many more tears could possibly be in my bottle.
  • Grief is not an excuse for bad behaviors, but one should understand why behaviors might be different than before.  There are pools of emotions that live at the surface and it is hard to always manage them well when you live in a state of confusion and exhaustion.
  • Grief is a balance of pressing forward and resting in Him.
    •  Philippians 3:13, thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead
    • Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I’m gently and lowly in heart, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light"
This is the list of things I know about grief so far.  Acknowledging these things has helped me process what I've experienced in the last two months. 

A wonderful friend of mine sent me a quote that really resonated with me, "God doesn't protect us from that which He can perfect us with".  I wasn't protected from this event and to make make it worth the pain I will allow Him to work on perfecting me through this journey. What a waste to become weaker instead of stronger.  And that's my choice.


  1. I really like that quote! I mean we all know that truth of Him not keeping us from that which will perfect us, but it's good to be reminded, when we're facing life decisions in the middle of circumstances that we perhaps didn't choose.
    Thank you Gail. You continue to shine so well in the midst of this journey. thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

  2. Still with you heart is so sad for you guys.....will just keep praying for you knowing that is all I can you much...Jim

  3. If my life were shattered by death or equally uncontrollable circumstances, I would want so desperately to hear how it could be worth the pain. I would NEED to know how and WHY it was worth the pain. ...IS worth the pain. I would need hope like air. More than hope, I'd need to know God is real, all-powerful, He loves me, and has it all under control.

    For sure, I mean.

    Not as a belief or a religion. I'd seek this knowledge as a deer pants for the water, as a drowning victim screams for air in the silence and darkness of deep water. I would strain my eyes for a God bigger than me and would try to claw through concrete till I was breathless and bloody if I thought it would help me to find Him.

    What you are doing here, working through this journey, allowing God to lay a foundation in you stronger than you would ever, EVER, EVER times infinity allow Him to lay of your own strength...
    What you are doing as you scratch desperately and scream out as only a mother can from your soul and guts and depths of humanity, learning from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE HOW He answers the cry of your heart and WHY you can trust Him... That He IS bigger than you ever knew and more relevant and necessary and eternal and in charge and loving, loyal, and compassionate...
    ...and brutally silent at times...
    what you are doing with this blog and your journey of faith- holding His hand, feeling, thinking, crying, reading, listening, pondering... preparing you to show what is being revealed to you BY HIM through death (and life) to someone who will be overwhelmed someday. To someone crushed and perplexed.

    Your experience of healing... will be golden to them. Balm on their sores. Water to their tongue. Warmth to their numbness. Hope for their hopelessness. Their eyes will tell you the "same" story you are living now. Their fumbling, dumbstruck motions and incredulous tear-stained expressions will ease over time as they soak in the understanding and comfort you will share with them. You will be ...equipped.

    And in that day, and every one like it, You might look up, see God's face, and say, "yeah, it was worth it Father. I do believe it was worth it." Then you might smile and say... "hey Ryan :)" knowing that he'll get the message and smile back.

    1000 years from now, while you are laughing with Ryan in Heaven, worshipping Jesus and filling your lungs with life like a sweet fragrance... I think you will look back and find that all your current sadness and grief will be stripped away and you will see such deep good in it to the point that it may well be one of your favorite memories from your short "mortal" life.

    That's what I think anyway.

    Remember when we talked once about how the more you trust God and go out on a limb just trying to do what He asks you to do... the more you kinda get used to it? and It gets easier to just keep doing that? Letting Him do the thinking and you do the obeying? Well, I'm afraid you are one of the special children of God who isn't being allowed a common life. I think you are ripe for His use and I think you will keep following His path. through the sun

    and the rain.

    It's a calling... and I think you know it. I think that because of what you write.

    And I feel so terribly sorry for you some moments.... and yet... I feel as though we should all long for such a deep calling too somehow.

    1. Barb, you've read it, and caught it....the cry of my heart. Thank you for so beautifully capturing what I know to be true. Love you.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. 1 Peter 1:6-7
    In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
    I read this verse tonight after reading this blog entry and immediately thought of you! God is strengthening your faith so much more than he could have otherwise, and all of ours along with it! God is incredible. Love to you and your family! Miss you all<3