I think it’s safe to say we have all dealt with grief. If you haven’t, count your blessings. I, like so many of us, have traveled on the road of grief . . . an unpleasant walk.
After several losses, I have been on different sides of grief. When your friend loses a grandparent, you mourn with them, for them, for yourself, for their family. But it doesn’t quite affect your everyday life.
When your spouse loses an aunt after an illness. When your spouse loses an uncle in a motorcycle accident, you mourn the loss of a kindhearted man. When your spouse loses another uncle after a brief battle with cancer, you ache the loss of a man of God who could preach his heart like nothing you’ve ever witnessed before. You ache, mourn, cry, and hold those close to you.
Then a big loss comes. Your spouse loses his mother in the blink of an eye, completely unexpected. That shock and pain is more intense and heartbreaking than any other loss, thus far in your life. You ache for your hurting spouse, for his dad, his siblings, and all the grandkids affected by this great loss, not to mention yourself.
I found that after these losses I would go into control mode. Take over daily tasks and chores, so no one else would have to worry about a meal, coffee, cleaning, or keeping the kids in order. I’d wrap myself up in prepping meals, getting groceries, and organizing funeral dinners. So no one else had to think about any of those seemingly minute things. That has been my way to deal with grief. To take control and help in every way imaginable. It was the easiest way for me to handle sadness—to stay busy.
Then a loss comes along that knocks the wind out of you. I lost my dad. Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes. The unthinkable. The unimaginable. There’s no way possible this could be true. There was nothing wrong with him, he was coming to my house the next day, so this can’t be true. My mind was going a million miles a minute, yet I couldn’t put a sentence together. That control mode I was used to was gone.
My world stopped. Nothing seemed right, nothing seemed true. Coming home after that treacherous evening was weird. I could not cope. I remember being so anxious. I just felt antsy, I wanted to do everything like normal, but my husband had it under control, so I just sat and cried. I made lots of phone calls, responded to messages, and just sat in disbelief.
Then the planning began, a “Celebration of Life”—I really despise that term, there is nothing to celebrate when your world has been shattered. When your dad, who seemed invincible, was gone and would never be coming back, ever. So, we planned and then the day came.
It was bitterly cold, but so many people showed up. I wish I could remember who all came, but their faces were a blur. It was beautiful. So many wonderful words spoken about him. Then I went home and then it seemed the real grief came. Everything is over and everyone continues on while I was still stuck in this surreal world, my new reality, a life I’d have to figure out how to live without my dad.
In this grief, I was frozen. There was no controlling anything, no trying to help anyone. I was the one who needed help. Usually, it’s hard for me to ask for or accept help, but when you’re so exhausted and zoned out, help comes and you just accept it and say thank you. So many great friends and family helped out. Some watched my kids, just so I could be alone. Many brought meals, so dinner was effortless. It is truly amazing the people who come to the rescue when you’re completely incapable of doing simple daily tasks. And my amazing husband who helped keep the flow of daily chores at home, keeping the kids in line, laundry done, and anything else that popped up.
Having been through such variations of grief, you look back and see these different sides. Just know that whatever side you have been through, are going through right now, or will inevitably go through, take your time. Do not rush it. If it’s your turn to be at your best friend’s side during their loss, that’s where you’re meant to be. If you lost a parent and people are coming to help, accept it. It is all coming out of love you have for friends and the love your friends and family have for you. Accept it and know you will get a chance to return the generosity one day.
You are not alone in this grief. We all walk the path by ourselves, but there are so many who can relate to the pain you’re going through. Talk to someone, pray, cry out to God, and know He will always be there.