The Grief * Emotional Health Series

If someone you adored has died, you know what grief is all about.

It surrounds, overflows, overtakes 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. 

Loss comes in a myriad of forms, shapes, and sizes ... some grab us and shake us senseless while others subtly step in to make their presence known.  Yet to emerge from the ashes with some modicum of health and sanity, these losses must be acknowledged, named, honored, processed completely.

And wept over.  In the presence of our compassionate Father.

An abandonment.  A diagnosis.  A pink slip.  

A divorce.  An overdose.  An assault.  A miscarriage.

A cold shoulder.  A door firmly shut tight.  A transition.

A dream that's finally died.

A family member who turns their back.

A decision that makes you ache somewhere deep.

A final 'no' uttered once and for all.

Please don't let anyone tell you that there's some kind of magical three step formula to grieving well.  They're just kidding themselves and giving you false hope.  Yes, life goes on.  But grief is a very personal journey, a daunting, sometimes overwhelming task filled with winding bends, deep valleys, and yes, some mountaintop vistas.  And the whole process goes on much longer than you'd ever dreamed. 

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 Jesus.  Sweet Jesus.  By the presence of the Holy Spirit, He never leaves our side.  Having borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, He truly gets our misery ... yet gently, repeatedly offers a peace that makes absolutely no sense at all.

What amazing grace.

Every anniversary date and holiday makes us prone to ache deep yet once again.  I mean no disrespect, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you might want to shake things up a bit as you gather with those you love.  Like maybe abandoning a well-worn tradition to embrace something fresh and unexpected.

Would you share your losses with us here?  What do you do with those dreaded anniversary dates and holidays?  Please speak of what you've found to be a comfort.  And what has not.  

You guys are fabulous conversationalists!  If you haven't read the follow-up talk to this series' posts, please head on over to the comment sections where you'll find lots of hard won wisdom, a number of 'oh-you-too?!' moments, and just enough humor to bring a smile.

Feel free to jump right on into the dialogue.  No, it's not too late.  I know that you'd bring a unique and needed perspective. 

I'm heading off to join the gang for the holiday.  I pray blessings for you as you gather with those you love ... or as you choose to bask in some much needed solitude.  Even in the midst of the dramas and traumas we've all encountered this year, God is incredibly faithful and strong, loving and kind.

Let the gratitude flow!


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