“Nobody ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
Nobody wants to be an expert at loss. At grief. But if I know anything, I know this…life doesn’t care what it makes you an expert at. Life is unfair. Unjust. Brutal. And, Oh. So. Fleeting.
My heart has felt so incredibly heavy these last couple of days, but not for the loss of a legend, although that is certainly a tremendous loss in itself. My heart hurts for the enormity of the loss each of those family’s is having to endure. Life, without asking, without caring, has now made those mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, experts at loss.
Two kids, in the blink of an eye, lost their mom, their dad and their little sister. A wife lost not only her husband, but her daughter. It is too much. Too much loss to wrap your head around. Too much loss to bear. But, bear it they must. They have been dealt this hand and now it is up to them how to play it.
Grief is a fickle thing. It can be all consuming. It can come and go in waves. It can sneak up on you in the strangest and sometimes most surprising moments and squeeze your heart, make your throat feel like it’s going to close right up. It can steal your breath. Drain you of every tear you have to cry. Make you numb. Wear. You. Out.
You can be so brave, so stoic as you stand next to a casket, shake hands, give hugs, say a million thank yous, but hearing their favorite song, smelling the perfume they wore every day, stumbling across a card or letter can bring waves of sorrow you think you’ll never overcome.
There is no escaping grief. Even if you push it away, time after time, drown it out, ignore it, it will not go away. It will wait, silently, until YOU are ready to face it. And, you will face it. The only way to HEAL, is to FEEL. It hurts. Oh how it hurts.
It is a process. A journey. Those early stages, when you first wake up in the morning and for that blessed few moments between sleep and awake, before your new reality comes crashing down, you dwell in the before. You savor it. And then, that feeling seeps in. The realization. That gut-wrenching, all consuming feeling of sadness. You wear it like a blanket, sometimes in front of people, other times you put on your game face and only wear that blanket of sadness when you’re alone.
I have had many people ask me over the years, how did I go on…my answer is always the same. I had no choice because I had a three year old and a newborn that needed their mom AND my tremendous and unshakable faith in God.
We live in broken world. We have free will. God does not cause bad things to happen. He does not give people cancer. He does not cause helicopters to wreck into hillsides. He gave us free will. He also gave us Jesus. Thank. You. God.
Sometimes, when the world is too much, the pain too intense, the path too uncertain, all we can do is live in the RIGHT NOW. We cannot think ahead. We cannot plan ahead. We focus on the minute we are in. Literally. This is survival mode. Sometimes we can think about the next 15 minutes, sometimes the next few hours. Sometimes all we can do is fall to our knees and pray. And if we don’t have the strength to tell God what we need, sometimes we just chant to him “I surrender.”
I have lived in that place. I have laid in bed and fallen asleep saying that very thing. Nothing more. We may not always feel like God hears us, but He does. We may not always see His hand at work, but I assure it, work is being done.
Those families need our prayers. They are in one of life’s most painful trenches, and they will be there for awhile. They will all have to face grief head on. They will all grieve in their own ways. They will never, ever be the same. Life is not fair. Life is not just. But, we have the promise of eternal life. We have the promise of seeing our loved ones again. We have the promise of a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Hold your babies tighter. Tell your husband or wife that you love them when ya leave the house. Be kind. Do good. Don’t hold grudges. Let go of any resentment and bitterness you feel. Life is short. Our time here is fleeting. Love big. And, in this dark world, BE A LIGHT.
As always, thanks for reading.