Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Journey Through Grief


It's all so very surreal, unreal, like a bad dream you hope to wake from but can't quite shed.

All this grief surrounding, overflowing, overtaking our very beings.

Sorrow is a nebulous and elusive companion, seeping into every crack, nook, and cranny of body and soul.  It stubbornly refuses to be neatly labeled into steps 1-2-3 or quickly placed inside a storage box for examination at a later, more convenient time.  

The oft-raging, yet sometimes oddly-at-rest emotions can't be separated from our beating hearts, our breathing lungs, our racing thoughts.  

Our very souls.

There is a great heaviness that descends, for grief is heavy laden and seemingly unmovable.  It lodges firmly in place, here to seemingly abide forever.  It crushes the spirit, dulls the mind, slows the body to a grinding halt.

There are no words, this is true.  

Yet something deep within longs to pull those spelled-out-somethings from hiding and print them in black and white so we can look this onslaught straight in the eye, wrestle with the pain, walk through it all, and come out the other end of the dark tunnel, somehow better for the journey, life-lessons gleaned, closer to the Holy Comforter.  

Those words fight to be released, but they seem locked inside, waiting to emerge at the appointed time.  But at some odd juncture, slowly they trickle forth, bathed in tears of disbelief or wrenching sorrow or the utter shock of all that has so quickly unfolded right in front of our helpless eyes.

We begin to tell our stories of sadness, of pain, of loss.  Sometimes the words come haltingly, almost imperceptibly ... and at other moments what is uttered comes pouring out in torrents of a painful yet oddly comforting release.

We are blessed beyond measure if there is another soul to listen quietly, to affirm what is most true about us with the gentle touch of a hand, a silent tear falling, the simple nod of a head, a word of grace and consolation carefully spoken.  Tender friends who refuse to lob Scripture at us, preach unwelcome words, or share their seemingly endless sagas in an effort to make our hard-to-watch pain somehow magically vanish from view.

And then ... there is a Sacred Friend who is so much closer than any earthly loved one could ever be.   

He, far above all others, truly gets what grief and sorrow are all about for He experienced them to a depth that we'll never come close to imagining.

We pour out our pain and He listens with His endlessly compassionate heart.  He whispers, 'peace, be still.'  He opens His arms wide, wounded hands beckoning us to crawl into the security of His strong embrace.  We lean in close to Him as He ministers comfort and hope and peace into the deepest recesses of our troubled souls.

And then, that glorious amazing grace descends gently like a dove.  

Somehow, by His Spirit, we are able to softly sing as we begin the process of releasing the untold burdens that have so quickly accumulated and overwhelmed.  For these unwelcome guests roll onto His shoulders and He carries them away.  And He promises that He'll keep on doing so as we repeatedly hand our tumultuous emotions over to Him, this Holy One who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

And the song we sing is the lullaby that the young mama sang to her baby boy each night as she readied him for bed.  The same mama who knew without a doubt, years earlier after a college missions trip to Romania, that God was calling her to someday adopt a little boy from that far-off land.  

Sweet little Tyler.  We loved you so.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul.  

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin - oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, 
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
~   Horatio Spafford   ~


His short life brought light to the world.


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  1. September 11

July 28

July 20

July 13

44 comments:

  1. You have said everything so well. The overwhelming sadness just weighs you down and it hits at all hours, any time of day or night. You just have to release it and remember the blessings he brought to all our lives. He now has no tubes, no pain and is healed. Can't wait to see him again.

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    1. I keep seeing Dad welcoming Tyler at heaven's gates, first in line to greet him right after Jesus. I know some will question my theology {what else is new?!}, but I've found great comfort in envisioning them both, finally healthy and strong, laughing and singing together as they explore heaven's glories.

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    2. I always picture my mother in law up there sitting with our baby and our grandbaby. I imagine them showing us all the sweet spots when we get there. :)

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    3. This is a sacred solace, isn't it, Lyli ...

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  2. No other way to say it Linda. Grief is a constant companion at times. But thankfully, so is the ONE who has the answer to the grief. He must have been an amazing young boy. It never ceases to amaze how little ones capture and never let go of our hearts. May you and your family know the Father's presence.

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    1. You're so right, Bill ... God is an even more faithful companion than all the grief that life can toss our way. Thanks for your pastor's tender heart shared here with me, with us.

      God bless you ...

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  3. Beautiful post-LInda. I pray God's comfort will soothe your pain and the warm memories will be a balm for your hurting hearts. I pray you feel the prayers of those who love you as you walk this path of grief.
    Blessings, Dear Friend

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    1. Oh sweet Lulu, it's so good to have you around again. Please know you were missed while you were on your break. I look forward to reconnecting again ...

      And yes, yes. Prayers matter. They change things. They change us.

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  4. Lovely…absolutely lovely.

    {via email}

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  5. Moving, Breathtaking, Magnificent, Heart-Warming, Thank you.

    {via email}

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  6. Beautiful, Linda. You are so in my thoughts and prayers. (((Hugs)))

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    1. You KNOW I smile big whenever you drop by. And the hugs sure do help, don't they!

      Weekend joys to you, friend ...

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  7. I admire your willingness to dive into the feelings and facts and try to pull out the grace and Comfort. I'm not sure a lot of people do that...there's a lot of squashing the pain down into a box, and abandoning it to the ages.

    I pray that you will rest with good friends and family. I loved the line about lobbing Scripture. It's so true...Scripture should inform me on how to be my best self for you. Not thrown whole to splat against your windshield.

    Blessings always,
    Ceil

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    1. And this you wrote is so true, Ceil --> 'there's a lot of squashing the pain down into a box, and abandoning it to the ages.'

      That I don't want to do. Over the years, my clients have taught me so much about grief and together we have slowly learned how to process it well.

      And yes, let's use Scripture to bless, to encourage, to comfort in times like these. Pat answers and trite cliches can do way more harm than good. Let's let the Spirit be our Guide as we aim to bring comfort.

      I hope your weekend soars, friend. You make such a difference in my life ...

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  8. Linda, I'm so sorry. I can feel the weight and beauty of each word here; He is the One to share this sorrow with. He always knows what we need. There is no greater song selection to go along with this memorial. Beautiful and heart-breaking.

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    1. I so appreciate your kind and loving words, Kim. Thanks for being here with us, with me ...

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  9. Sitting quietly with you, my friend, listening, praying.

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    1. You are a faithful friend from afar ... God's gift to me in many ways.

      I'm grateful for you, dear June ...

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  10. Linda, I am so very, very sorry for the loss you experienced, and very grateful that you'd so bravely expressed the anguish in your heart.

    I wouldn't question your theology at all; Heaven is made for US, and we aren't expected to 'adapt'. Somehow, I doubt very much that our first thought will be, well, nice, but I wish he had been there to meet me...

    Some people think that there are no dogs in Heaven. But how could it be Heaven without them?

    You are in my prayers.


    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/09/your-dying-spouse-58-celebrate-celibacy.html

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    1. Well, you're one who bravely shares your anguish, Andrew. Can I do less?

      And heaven? The Bible gives us a few clues, but not many. I think when all is said and done, we'll be so stunned by the glory of Jesus Christ that everything else will fade in comparison. We'll cast our crowns, we'll bow the knee, we'll sing holy holy holy is the Lamb.

      Sounds so very good to me ...

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    2. Actually, I kind of figure that JC will come up, slap me on the back, and say "Let's get a beer, mate. You're buying."

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    3. Well, I'm not sure about that, pal, but we can be sure your love for Christ has paved a path for a warm welcome.

      Meanwhile, you've got work here left to do. Keep at it, man ... your legacy is being built day by day.

      Have a good one ...

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  11. Dear friend, it is well.
    I believe God that you and your family will pull through this.
    Love and blessings to you

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    1. Your confidence, your faith inspires, Ifeoma. Thank you for your loving blessings, friend ...

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  12. I came upstairs to get something and decided to check email. Ended up reading your blog. And it brought the tears. Your family only had Tyler for a short time, but what a blessing he was to all of you and you were to him. I can't imagine the grief.

    {via email}

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    1. My strongest memories are of him in the hospital since many our visits seem to coincide with his times there.

      There must be a reason why. And that I'll probably never know ...

      I do know he is healthy and whole and can finally speak, laugh, and sing outloud. And that is a joy to my soul.

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  13. Linda, you express yourself so beautifully in the midst of such pain. I know you are practicing what you are writing, moment by moment, and I'm praying for you in that process. Blessings, my friend.

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    1. Process is a good word for all this, Lois. It's a winding road, isn't it ...

      And I'm grateful for companions along the way like yourself, friend. For you make the journey feel less lonesome.

      Weekend joys to you ...

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  14. Pal-- you described grief so expertly. Sorry you have had such first-hand experience at the moment but death does sting but one day IT WILL NO LONGER. “Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ”. ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:54-55‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    Dig your feet in the sand for me........it is sooooooooo therapeutic.

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    1. I hear your heart. You hear mine. That's what friendship's all about.

      And yes. Any place where we can soak up His creation is a healing place.

      I hope your weekend is oh-so-good ...

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  15. Oh Linda, I'm so terribly sorry for this massive loss of sweet little Tyler! I'm praying for your entire family, my friend. I've been away for a few weeks and am just now catching up on your life. This news is truly heartbreaking. I will forever remember that precious video your adorable granddaughter made about her new little brother. Keep sharing your beautiful thoughts and feelings. As writers, this is a difficult, but necessary part of our healing. Much love to you all!

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    1. Kathryn's video was shown at the memorial service and as I watched it I thought again of all the love and support that flooded from readers when I posted it earlier this year. It means so much that people are remembering it these months later.

      And thanks for the encouragement to write, Candace. Some days you just KNOW you've gotta pick up that pen and go to work. What therapy, what a consolation!

      You've blessed me greatly by your visit and your thoughtful words, friend ... welcome back ...

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  16. Oh, Linda,

    Well-said ...praying only grace and comfort for you and your family...so sorry...You've been in my thoughts and prayers ...((hugs))

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    1. You've been such a faithful prayer warrior, Dolly. Thank you for continuing to connect with God on our behalf. I'm so grateful for this little community and the way we can love and encourage each other so ...

      I trust that this sabbath has encouraged your spirit, friend.

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  17. This truly touched me, Linda. I am so sorry for the loss that you and your entire family--especially for your daughter who answered the call to adopt little Tyler long before he was even born--are all going through. But it was worth it to know that sweet baby. He has left an indelible mark on all of your hearts and for that I thank God. My prayers are ever offered for you and your clan, Linda!

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    1. You're such a faithful prayer warrior, Beth. When you say you're praying, I believe you and cherish the gift you've given our family throughout this last tumultuous year.

      Where would we be without Jesus? And friends He sends our way to carry the load with us.

      Thank you, thank you, dear friend ...

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  18. Oh Linda, I am so sorry your family has to go through this. I pray that you all will be strengthened and comforted during this hard time. I hate that this happened. Tyler was a beautiful boy. May his sweet spirit forever stay with you in your heart.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, dear Baltimore friend. I know this is hard for mamas of little ones to read about ... you have encouraged me greatly this morning ...

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  19. This has been such a painful time for your family Linda and I am terribly sorry. May the peace of God surround you and lift you up.
    It Is Well is such a comforting song.

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    1. Those old hymns are the ones that come to mind in the night, aren't they, friend.

      Yes, yes, His peace is surrounding us and we are grateful. Thank you for your kind words ...

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  20. One of my favorite hymns and one I find myself singing often in times of struggle. Bless your hearts.

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda