It is said that grief has stages. Five to be exact. Not sure where I am on that scale, but I can tell you I have reached acceptance and then floated right back down to denial, all in a matter of days.
What I am beginning to realize is that grief isn’t linear. It goes through waves and has a rhythm all of its own. Anger and acceptance can (and do) co-exist. You can be happy and sad at the same moment. You can feel lost and confused, yet know exactly where you are or feel completely alone in a crowded room–with people you know.
Grief is like that. It changes you.
After losing several pillar people in our family over the last couple of years, I have a different perspective on death. At all the funerals I have attended, there is this part of me that yearns to know God more. To crave His closeness and understand His ways. Maybe it’s a means to feel comforted and to know I will see my loved ones again.
But even still, it doesn’t make this life easier, or grief altogether subside.
What it does is give me hope that I won’t feel this emptiness and void in my life forever.
God can (and will) rescue us from our pain and offer unsurmountable and unexplainable peace in times we need it most.
I don’t remember much about my mom’s funeral, but I do know exactly how it made me feel. Sad but comforted. Confused but consoled.
It was a weird and honestly foggy day. Nothing made sense, especially since her loss was sudden and so unexpected, but God somehow gave me the courage to make the speech, to hug and talk to people, and watch my mom be lowered into the ground while holding my 6-year-old’s hand.
The strength of enduring those days and weeks after saying goodbye only come from a place that wasn’t found within me. It was found in a kind, gracious, and faithful Father.
God richly blessed me with amazing parents. I know not everyone is so fortunate, but I hit the jackpot with them. My mom was truly incredible. She was my true north. My go-to for advice, wisdom, and counsel. She made me feel seen and loved in times when I felt alone or unlovable. She was there. Always there to hold my hand and tell me just what I needed to hear.
Now I am left holding memories.
Looking back at pictures, re-living the past, trying not to grow bitter about the future. Disheartened that she will miss so many of my daughter’s once-in-a-lifetime events. Events I know she would have been a huge part of.
I am trying to live out her legacy, but if I were being honest, I am failing miserably.
Motherhood is hard. I need her. I miss her.
Life is different. Everything has shifted, and I have nobody to tell me it’s going to be okay. Because in all honesty, most days don’t feel okay right now. Roles have changed, and it’s hard to know where I fit in.
I am still a daughter, but without a mother.
I am still a mother, but frustration has stolen my joy.
I am still a sister but feel emotionally distant.
I am still a friend but have never felt so lonely.
I am still here, living, but many days find it hard to breathe.
Greif. It’s the unexpected journey we will all take at some point, but it’s a difficult one filled with deep and dark waters. There are moments in which I want to curl up in her blue blanket and watch sappy movies with cocoa and a box of Kleenex. Then there are moments I have no room to grieve and harbor resentment for having to continue to do life when all I want to do is crawl in a hole. There are moments I push people away and then get upset when they don’t reach out.
Many days I feel life passes me by, and I am living in a zombie-like state. Grief gets put on hold as I cart kids to and from games, help with homework, or cook dinner. But when I lay my head down at night, I am not even sure what happened that day. It’s all a haze.
I’m told this won’t last forever. That life will be colorful again and joy will return. I’m told the loneliness will subside and the well-intentions of others won’t make me feel invisible or forgotten. That those dreams I once had will come back, and I will eagerly seek them out.
For now, in this season of grief, I am trying to be kind to myself.
Allowing myself time to just sit in it. To let the grief wash over me. I seek quiet, peace, and stillness more than ever before.
God is still faithful. He has graciously offered me opportunities to get still before Him, to shift my focus off others and myself and to place my eyes on Him. To seek Him in these dark and lonely times.
Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know I am God” has been a favorite verse of mine for a while now. I have leaned on those precious words many times, especially after the loss of my best childhood friend five years ago. My Savior placed that command before me when I felt lost and lonely then. “Be still,” He said. “Remember Who I Am!”
Grief can be a lonely place, but when we put our faith in Jesus, alone, we begin to see His handiwork in everything. In all the details. Even in the messy and shattered parts of our lives.
The truth I cling to is that God’s promises are never broken. He is my hope. Your hope!
So, when we come to an unexpected journey that wades us through the deep and murky waters of grief, we need only be still. Jesus is reaching out for us, all we need to do is take hold of His hand. Then trust He is carrying us through. Because He will.