Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Chronicle of Grief...yet, Hope endures :: An Entry from Early Winter, 2014

The past few years had brought much pain. Surely joy, as well, but I can not deny that the weariness and deep grief was greatly abiding. I sometimes wish I could forget, but I must be honest with myself and with these experiences that life has delivered. I must, in order that I may grow and acknowledge all that has passed. I must in order to heal.

I am often tempted to feel as if I should "move on". However, I am reminded that I must be patient and gentle with myself. There is no way to fully reconcile with all that has happened, unless I allow the abiding grief to be what it is. I do not attempt to "move on", for I have come to despise that phrase immensely. I have learned that this grief of mine does not define me, nor encompass my being. It simply is a natural pathway along which I must proceed in order to make sense of this present reality. One loss is incredibly challenging. Four years of enduring multiple losses, surely takes its toll. I have to remember that, especially in those moments when it seems all so raw, once more.

I do not understand why so many dear loved ones were lost in such a succession. I do not understand why the reality of tragedy struck me so hard. It is however, the way in which these past few years have unfolded. I loved deeply, and deeply so, I lost. But the loss is temporary, while the love, I am comforted, is Eternal.

He will wipe away every tear... - from Revelation 21:4

This Promise is what has upheld me in these years, especially in the moments when another loss has struck me.

Indeed, each time another loss has come, it has uprooted every other source of grief...and the sorrow, compounded. Certainly, with that most recent loss, it resulted in a cascade of immense bereavement for every loved one. Every loved one I had previously lost, fought to sustain their own life, while this dear friend, took his own. There is a sadness and a unique darkness to this, that I don't have words for. It struck me far harder than I could have ever anticipated. I pray that I will see him again. I pray that he has peace. I have to accept that I'll never have an answer for this. The ache for this loss is unique, and I have often felt disenfranchised in the midst of it. Exceedingly lonely and dark.

Many a time, I have felt deeply lonely and isolated by the emotions that comprise such loss. Days are darkened and dampened. People ask you how you are, just as a pleasantry usually, and all that can be mustered usually, is "I'm okay".

In the midst of grief, it can sometimes feel like you will never feel more than 'okay' ever again. Your whole world has changed. Sometimes you feel upset that the world goes on, while all you want is for it to just slow down. Sometimes you find it difficult to remember details. Sometimes you forget your keys, and it just sets you off, and tears and grief spill out in frustration. There are moments of anger, moments in which you deny that this person is really gone, and you expect to see them in the grocery store, or on the street. There are moments when you long so deeply to talk to them, to hug them, to hold their hand again, and you feel this enormous empty place in your heart. There may be times when you wonder if they ever knew how much they really meant to you, and your heart is filled with a complex assortment of regret, guilt, and shame.

Sometimes, grief is masked as anger and impatience with one another, when the loss is shared among family and loved ones. Each loss is unique, and each individual's response to a loss is unique, just as every relationship and every person is unique. Individuals sift through the sands of grief and loss in their own individual way. It is important to have grace for one another in such times. The smallest things can sometimes trigger a whole cascade of grief. Sometimes we have to learn to identify those triggers, and accept them, as frustrating and often inconvenient as they can be.

There have been times when I have wondered what the appropriate Christian response to grief and change and sorrow really is. There have been moments in which I have felt shame for hurting still.

There have been times when I have felt pressure to conform to the "Joy" of being a Christian. There have been times when I have been embittered by these questions.

There have been moments when the ignorance and insensitivity of well-meaning, but poor-comforters (much like those poor-comforters in the Book of Job) has deeply discouraged me, angered me, and caused me to wonder how it is that one can truly comfort a soul that is aching.

Those poor-comforters, I have found, are often at such a loss for what to say, that they mistakenly stumble, utter empty platitudes, or subconsciously express their impatience, because, truly, they do long to help, and they wish that they could make their friend feel better. However, in such a realm of pain and loss, bandages simply do not suffice. The wounds are deeper than just a surface cut, and they require tender care. I have learned to try to see the intent behind such stumblings. Grief is so difficult, and people often do not know what to say or do. In that way, it can be exceedingly lonely and isolating.

I have learned, in the midst of all of this, that God is the greatest Comforter. It is said in scripture that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, sent by the Father, in the name of the Son. The Holy Trinity. I have expounded upon all of this, in previous writings. It is profound, the Comfort and Goodness, and Tenderness of the Lord. There is so much more I wish to say, but often it seems, there comes a point in which I must stop. There's only so much I can handle to express at one time, for I become overwhelmed with the weight of it all.

I wish to always finish with expressing the hope laden within all of this sorrow. For it is greater, He is greater than all of this pain and suffering.