Grace to Grieve
When I learned of the passing of Kobe and other families, my chest began to ache. Not because I knew him, because I didn’t. Not because I had relationship with anyone on that plane, because I didn’t. Not even so much because I was a fan. But because I am all too familiar with the feeling that comes with learning that your loved one is GONE. First the shock and disbelief...almost creating a numb feeling. Then, the regret. (I should have said more, been there more, prayed harder, done more.) Then, for me, the rage. WHY? Why now? Why them?
This is how it goes. You will be surrounded by friends and fam over the next week, while in preparation for funeral arrangements. You and your family will be waited on hand and foot. You will be comforted. You will receive an abundance of encouraging words and gifts, that while appreciated, will probably go in one ear and out the other. You will attempt to be strong; maybe even come to a resolve that your deceased loved one(s) is in a better place and no longer hurting. Ah, that’s better. Let’s smile and try to come to terms with this.
The services will be beautiful, and depending on the notoriety, maybe publicized. The family will dress up, stick together, and surely cry throughout the service. A beautiful repast, where you will nibble on food and greet all who have come to say their final goodbyes.
And then everyone goes home. That part. Things slow down. At some point, you attempt to pick up your daily routine...only to be reminded of how entwined that person was in your day-to-day life. EVERYTHING reminds you of them. Their number in your phone, the food they liked, the mutual friends, their favorite movie, their car, the places you frequented with them...you’ll even swear that you saw their face once or twice.
People will continue to check on you...just less frequently. A call here, a text there. With good intentions, people who have never experienced such deep grief will tell you, “I understand”. You’ll learn that many people have sympathy but lack empathy. They want to be there for you, but just don’t know how, and you don’t have the energy or the words to teach them. Later, you will be abundantly grateful for those who recognized the power of presence...not forcing words, but just being there. You won’t forget those people.
Life as you knew it, is over. While it sounds impossible now, you will eventually get used to walking around with that hole in your heart. It doesn’t stop hurting, but it won’t always drown you.
My hope for you is that you will be given a special portion of grace to grieve. Let the tears fall and let your loved ones hold you. May your heart be willing to receive the love that is still there. May you become aware of your strength, even in this. Strength is not holding back tears or being there for others, but it is casting your cares and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it. Grace to tend to your family and their needs and grace to be mindful of your own. Grace for the night and grace to make it through the day. May your sleep be peaceful and your tears water the seeds of love that you and your loved one(s) planted long before their passing.
You’ll soon realize that grief is not an event with an end date, but a journey where you will often repeat steps (anger, denial, acceptance, etc.). It is with great regret that I welcome you to the club that I never wanted to be apart of: victims of loss. That being said, at some point in your journey, please consider a support group, seeing a therapist (consistently), using your community, and developing a healthy routine. This is the beginning of the new you.
Wishing you a journey of Good Grief,
Good Grief Devotional here