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, ...one 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"
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.