So, to wrap up this conversation on grief and grieving… I hope that is has been helpful. If nothing else, I hope you can see and know that you/we aren’t in this alone. We are in this together.
The things here will not be as organized… I am kind of finishing up various thoughts – the stuff swept up from my mind after I have
written the systematic stuff.
As humans, we grieve pretty much all the time and since we are complex beings, our grieving is complex and individual.
Which brings more grief? I will pick grief about our parents…
A parent who died while we were children, an abusive parents we can never trust, or a parent we thought we could trust but then we find out who we thought we were was an illusion?
I have seen all of these in people’s lives and all of them seemed to be honestly dealing with similar levels of grief! As a counselor, I could not have put their grieving on a scale of “greater” or “lesser.”
What about when you have spent decades pretending and trying to prove that they were good parents, but then had to come to terms with the
truth that they weren’t?
How much grief is there in realizing that you have just outgrown your parent – that you are more mature, more emotionally healthy or
more spiritually strong than they are?
I picked the topic of parents here, but could as easily picked spouses, children, dreams, plans, promises, etc.
See what I mean? Who can say?
I say skip it and grieve.
I think trying to measure up or down carries little and more likely no value. Playing these games seems to just stall out the crisis and process that grieving is…
Also, I have seen how failure to grieve keeps us from loving fully.
I can try to love something about myself or another that isn’t the truth, but how do you love an illusion? Is the memory of my childhood an
Do I tell myself that I had an idyllic childhood just because everyone thinks I should have?
What if I didn’t? People who are pastor’s kids, or who have money, or who have a lot of siblings, or who grow up at camp must have the best childhoods!
Except those who don’t.
How can you learn to love and appreciate what you can from your actual childhood is you can’t ever admit that it was more hard than soft?
So, it is ok to accept something, even if it bad…
Even if it is good…
Even if it is painful to admit…
Even if it is beautiful to accept… *
Then grieve reality.
Once we are able to grieve an illusion or a figment of our imagination, whether it is a dream, a parent, a child, a spouse, or even ourselves, then we can begin to love in truth.
Other things that are connected to a failure to grieve…
I said I would mention mid-life crises, but I think I will just write more later on that subject.
For now, I will tell you that my opinion is that they are primarily an issue of grief and honesty.
Can we grieve what our lives will likely never be and instead embrace the wonders and awesome thing that life is?
Regret is often healthy… regret – the pain of believing that what has happened in the past is something we had control over… or something
But resentment is the type of regret that turns us into victims of what another did… it is often unhealthy to live with resentment… and it is closely linked to a failure to forgive… which is turn is connected to bitterness.
And bitterness can kill us, I am convinced.
Grieving is valuable as a reminder.
We need to be reminded from time-to-time that this is not our home. There is nothing like grieving to help us long for another life in a better place.
For this reason, often, I find myself appreciating funerals more than any other service.
It is a reminder to make great use of the limited time I have hear and it reminds me that I can risk that limited time because there is an eternity afterwards with a God of Grace who wants to show off His kindness to me forever.
If you haven’t looked at the planning of your funeral, I encourage it. What will your life have meant?
There is nothing like grieving to allow the foolish distractions of life to take a bad seat, fast.
And we need that.
Further, even though suffering is a tough, challenging concept for us when we think about God’s love, I think it is important to note that one of the things that God reminds us of consistently is that He is an Everlasting Father. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
I can only assume that He reminds us of that because He is completely aware of how hard it is for us to believe it sometimes.
The only thing that anyone has told me that truly helped me in grieving:
Now, I am only talking about “advice” type stuff… or simple truths. Obviously “I love you” or “I am praying for you” or “I am here for you” are always wonderful things to hear in our grief, if we can accept them. And, even when people’s words aren’t the best, just knowing that they love me enough to make an effort, I have appreciated…
However, when my grandfather died, people’s support was amazing and gracious.
There was one short note in one card from a gentleman named Rod Spelbring who, at the time was a member of the maintenance team where I worked that struck me like a light between clouds…
He wrote “ remember, our hope was never in this life, but always in the resurrection…”
As I have quoted before, only the truth can set us free.
Thanks for walking through this conversation with me.
…Jason, Hop, our three babies, so many others… I miss you and I look forward to the resurrection with you someday.
Some valuable Resources for healthy grieving…
I am going to list those that come to my mind quickly. I know there are many others, and I will try to add any others I think of later…
I know these are random, but they are things that have spoken to me:
The children’s park http://www.childrenareagift.com/childrenspark.php
The Song: “Waiting on a Woman” video with Brad Paisley and Andy Griffith
The devotional Book “Streams in the Desert”
Westberg Good Grief
Dobson When God Doesn’t Make Sense
Taylor When Life is Changed Forever
*This happens very, very often. People who can come to accept for the first
time as adults that they have always been treasure, for example, have to grieve
the strength they have always gotten from being hard and replaceable.