Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Ebb and Flow of Grief

When someone you love dies, you begin a sad and lonely journey -- one with a beginning, but no ending. It's a journey you didn't choose.

Unlike a road trip, there are no mileage signs to show you're almost done with the journey. Grief doesn't have a destination or an ending.

If the grief journey had signs, one of them would certainly read, "BE PREPARED TO STOP" in capital letters. With the death of a loved one, your life -- and everything normal in your life -- comes to a halt for a period of time.

The life you knew is changed forever, dulled into shades of black, white and grey. Friends gather around and try to comfort you with words like, "I'm thinking of you" or "You're in my thoughts" or "Our prayers are with you." Although the words are comforting, the color is gone from your life.

As you struggle with memories of the past and no clear vision of the future, you feel stuck in a never-ending spiral of grief while those around you move forward with their own lives.

As you look ahead, the path seems rocky, laden with danger and filled with hooks, snares and traps to entangle your emotions as you try to find what they call "a new normal."

Some days you wish you could just post a "ROAD CLOSED" sign in front of your house or in your office to keep others away and leave you with your memories.

As you struggle to recapture the joy in life after loss, God calls you to choose faith over worry. There's nothing too big to handle when you turn it over to God.

Our God is a God of hope. He fills us with joy and peace so we may abound in hope.

He reminds us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened. Beauty is everywhere, even when you're walking in the shadows of grief.

My Mom always said, "This too shall pass." Sometimes we need this reminder on a daily -- or even an hourly basis. The ebb and flow of grief isn't a constant stream that you can factor into your day.

Although it doesn't seem possible sometimes, God tells us that He will wipe away every tear.

There are long days and longer nights on the grief journey, but God will bring you joy.

Put your faith and hope in God and He will renew your strength. You will soar on eagles' wings. You will run and not grow weary.

The person you loved and lost may be one of many, but to you they were the world. Take comfort in the words and actions of others along the journey.

No man is an island. Others share your pain and reach out to help you along the journey of grief. Whether your loss was due to violence, war or tragedy...

Or the overwhelming, acute and deeply personal loss of a parent, child or spouse, your loved one is always with you.

A new day is dawning and we are all called to be a part of it -- to embrace life with all of its sorrows and losses. Death is a part of life. We will all face it ourselves one day.

We all want what we want, when we want it, if we want it -- and we want it now. We want to be sheltered from heartache and pain, but that's not very realistic.

Even when the journey is difficult and filled with unexpected twists and turns, we are called to just keep on truckin'.

We are called to choose joy, even as we struggle with the pain of loss. We are called to be hopeful about the future, even when it's uncertain.

We are called to walk by faith, not by sight. Even though we don't see Him, God is with us along the journey of grief. He knows our pain and feels our suffering.

Live life in gratitude of all that you have. Cherish the precious memories of those who have left this world for a better place. Live more and stress less.

Whether or not you embrace life, it's going by. Choose to be happy. Choose to be fully engaged and alive in all of the little moments of life.

None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so live life today. We are blessed!

Live life without regrets. Don't cry because it's over now -- laugh because it happened.

Life isn't a dream. You've got to take the good with the bad. Smile with the sad. Love what you've got. Remember what you had. Always forgive and learn from your mistakes.

Life is all about choices. Happiness is a choice, even in the midst of sorrow. Make up your mind to be happy.

Find joy in the simple things and embrace the memories of the love you shared. It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Reach out to others who are struggling. As you encourage others who are grieving, you will be blessed. Forgive those who hurt you and be the first to say "I'm sorry." Laugh every day, even when it hurts. Choose to live happily ever after -- even after loss. Life goes on and life is good.

It's been 10 1/2 months since my Mom died. Just 16 days later, Dad followed Mom into eternal life. Since then, we've also lost two dear family members in my husband's family: his mom who died unexpectedly at the end of January and his brother and only sibling who died a few days ago and will be buried today.

Each day, the words of one of my favorite hymns "City of God" help me along the journey:
"Awake from your slumber!
Arise from your sleep!
A new day is dawning for all those who weep,
The people in darkness have seen a great light,
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night,
Let us build the city of God,
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our love, has turned the night into day!"

As my personal winding journey of grief continues, I'll take what I can get when I can get it and do the best I can to face each day with a smile on my face, a prayer on my lips and a song in my heart.

Blogging Grandma Sandy, signing off for now.

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