Thursday, April 3, 2014

Living Gracefully with the Process of Grieving

My brother, mother and father all died within one year. Prior to them all passing away, my friend died suddenly as well. She was the mother to four young children. In that same time span, a friend was diagnosed with cancer, my aunt died a month before my mother, and a great aunt died in between.

Grief is truly something that can only be understood when one goes through it. Many well meaning Christian friends have told me that Jesus walks with us in our time of grief. He, who has been through sorrow, knows our sorrows. Yet, that was not comforting, because although my faith tells me Jesus is present, my physical being is in need of comfort from tangible sources.

Along my journey to grieve in a graceful manner, I have had to close off certain people from my life. Naturally an extrovert, I have become more introverted. I just don't have the energy to deal with people. Most of my friends are busy with the daily affairs of life. And they want to relate to me in the same way. I, on the other hand, have literally had my whole word and ethos moved, shaken and taken away. Jesus understands that I am quit, tired, angry and confused. And He is there. What I have found I needed from my friends is just someone to be present as I sort through the journey of loss, and come in to a journey of hope and love once again. ( I attended a wonderful Grief Retreat through the "Spark of Life" Foundation that helped me understand this journey of life a little bit better).

While cleaning out my mother's closet, I found Jesus. He was hidden in a box. My mother was a woman of faith, but she did not advertise it. She just lived it as best she knew how. I put Jesus on the dining room wall. With all of the loss, it is hard to see His presence, but when I look at my mother's picture out in the open instead of hidden in a closet, I somehow find courage to grieve openly as I process what has just happened. And in that freedom to be sad, tired, lonely, angry or confused, I am finding healing in the grief that so many around me don't understand or just simply want to ignore the fact that I am feeling all that I am.

What is comforting, is looking up at that picture of Jesus, and knowing that He is here in each feeling along the way to my journey of  healing.

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