Grief never ends…but it changes.
It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness,
nor a lack of faith…
It is the price of love.
This unattributed quote has crossed my path several times recently. And I’ve learned that criss-crosses usually mean God is showing me something.
I had a clear sense after Dan was killed that I was going to have to be honest with my grief, if I wanted to be healthy on the other side of it. But I had no idea what that would actually require; plus, every part of my life already felt stripped away and vulnerable.
But honesty has been my friend. Feelings are real, even if they aren’t always rooted in facts, and it pays to be genuine about them. Not that I could hide them anyway—they had a sneaky way of creeping out of my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.
Even though my honest words might have sometimes scared the people closest to me, I had to let that be their problem and not mine. My plate had already “runneth’d” over.
One of the things I discovered was that I had to be selfish…the kind of selfishness that a flight attendant says to observe when the oxygen mask drops to your lap. Please put your mask on first and then your child’s. Good reason there. If you pass out, who’s going to take care of you and your child?
So I had to learn to take care of myself. Dan used to tell me that if he got tired, he knew to go rest; but that if I got tired, I just went and did something else. I soon realized that wasn’t going to work for me anymore.
Practical things I learned:
Eat plenty of protein
Don’t eat sugar
Allow myself to weep and wail
Spend time outdoors
Pray and spend time in God’s presence
Read my Bible like there’s no tomorrow—there really might not be 🙂
One cold colorless February day, about three months into grief, I drove past the campus where I’d attended high school; and it occurred to me that I’d had an entire life before I even knew Dan.
Then I heard a clear distinct voice say, “If you’d known back then how it was all going to turn out, would you have still wanted what you had?”
Absolute, resounding YES.
And it’s still my answer. I’d much rather be left with something enormous to grieve than never to have had what I had.
God is still a good God.