Someone let my family down in a very painful way this past week. Someone we wholly trusted with all we hold dear. Someone whom we could never have foreseen causing this depth of grief.
And yet, here we are, soaked in our losses. Knowing there is life beyond the present but unable to see it.
Do you know this feeling?
Maybe you know it well, like I do. I have felt this grief many times. Enough to know a long list of best practices by heart:
Don’t distract yourself from your emotions. You won’t truly heal if you don’t allow yourself the space and time to be present with how you feel.
Combine #1 with this: allow breaks. A break and a coping mechanism of persistent distraction are not one in the same. They are different. Permit yourself periods of transcendence. Periods when the world fades a bit for a little while by listening to a favorite comedian or musician. By dancing or painting or reading or jogging or cooking a favorite recipe.
Be aware of your needs from moment to moment and seek their fulfillment as you’re able. As long as your needs do not harm you or someone else.
Seek a safe person to process with or to sit with, silently, until you are able to stand up.
Accept offers of help. When someone asks you what you need and you inevitably have no idea how to respond, because what you need the most is intangible, ask for the basics: delivered meals, a housekeeping service, a surprise of whatever makes that person think of you and smile.
Give yourself a Corinthians 13 love. Be patient and kind with your aching heart.
Know that where you are right now–mentally and emotionally–while where you need to be, is a temporary location. If you allow yourself what you need and seek supports, you will not remain in this place.
Remember that Christ also suffered. He hurts with you and has promised to wipe away every tear. Please do not shut him out. He does not expect you to be fine and he will not rush you. His empathy and love for you can help you the most. On my darkest days, my favorite quality time with him is spent curled up in a comfy chair, eyes closed, having asked him to hold me. He has never declined my request and has genuinely become my best friend because of his faithful compassion and unparalleled understanding.
I know the grieving process from every angle: daughter, friend, sister, spouse, caregiver, hospice social worker, and now, mother.
I do not know how long before I will breathe deeply again, but I do know that I will.
I always have.
Though my journey of grief will not fully end until Jesus returns and dries up my well of tears, the worst will pass.
It always has.
So I will make the hard decision to be where I am right now, knowing the future is filled with hope.
An evidential hope.
If you are also grieving today, will you join me in loving ourselves well?