To Grievers And Friends of Grievers

Here is another great blog post from my daughter, Katie. My heart breaks that my children have to endure this kind of pain. Please continue to keep Katie, Emilie and Jacob in your prayers. The Lord has a purpose for all that we are going through and we will continue to struggle through each day asking Him to fulfill that purpose in each of us. To God be the glory!

To Grievers and Friends of Grievers

Some days, life just comes at me hard. Ugliness is shoved in my face and my head is pressed hard into it. I am smothered by the pain, so thick I cannot breathe. I dream dreams of happiness. We are all together again. A family, complete. Smiles part lips and laughter bursts forth. Hugs are exchanged and I linger in that moment, all of me enveloped in loving warmth. And then, I wake. I slam into the brick wall of reality and all goes cold. The chill of deep loss courses through my veins. The burning ember of grief catches in my throat, threatening to gag me. Threatening to rip the life and breath right out of me. I ask myself, “is it really worth fighting? I feel halfway gone already.” I’m tired of longing for what I can never have back. At times, the hole inside me seems to empty itself even more, to the point where it almost consumes me from the inside out.

But I’m good at hiding it, maybe a little too good. Someone told me the other day that if they had never heard that my dad died, they would have no idea from being around me that anything was wrong. Their statement was quite unsettling. Do I really live in such a way that everyone thinks I’m perfectly fine? Because I’m not. I’m not fine at all. Sure, I can go to class and work, hang out with friends, run errands, even laugh and have fun, but that doesn’t mean I’m fine. Just because I’m not super moody and I don’t sit around crying all the time, it doesn’t mean that my heart hurts any less. I still need people just as much as now as I did then, probably even more so.
Tragedy is a strange thing, really. Death strikes and everyone from everywhere, people that never even talked to me before, all rushed to my aid, sending sympathy messages and offering any sort of help. But just wait. Give it two or three months, and you find that not many of those people have stuck around. They’ve moved on in their lives, which is perfectly normal and acceptable. But for me, the one grieving, I don’t get to go back to normal life after the dust clears. Instead, I’m forced to face the reality of being fatherless. To spend holidays without him there. To spend my birthday thinking of the trip he had promised that we never got to take together. To learn how to live again, albeit with an aching emptiness inside of me. Shock has finally begun to wear off and now the grief is more intense than ever. Now is when I need people. In the rubble of the aftermath is when grieving people need someone to love on them, to listen to them. To let them talk, relive memories, to give them a shoulder to cry on, to just be there. And us grieving people, we get that it’s awkward. You don’t know what to say or do, you don’t want to bring it up if it’s not on our mind already, you don’t know how to handle the tears, you’re afraid of hurting us more. Listen. There are no perfect words, so don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. We’re not expecting you to fix things or offer a solution, so you’re off the hook. There is never a time when it’s not on our mind, we just don’t always voice it. The way to handle tears is to simply be there. Let us cry and don’t feel like you have to try and make us feel better. What we need are not any special specific words, but your presence, time, and love. We’re not fragile and breakable, just sad and hurting. Love on your grieving friends. Trust me, they need it.

And for us grievers, we have some work to do as well. It’s hard for us to ask for help or to let you know when we really need someone. We don’t want to inconvenience people or make them feel like they have to drop everything for us. We don’t want to be perceived as the downer, the one who never has fun and is always sad, the one who is overly clingy and needy. We need to learn how to trust those we love enough to believe that they won’t view us that way. We need to be authentic and not pretend like everything is okay when it’s not. We need to learn balance between seeking help and dealing with some things on our own.
My life is completely different than it was four months ago. I’m a different person and not only do I have to adjust to that, so do the people around me. So grievers and friends of grievers, let’s be patient. We need each other immensely, and friends, you have absolutely no idea the impact you can make in a grieving person’s life if you are intentionally present with them. Don’t worry about getting it all right, simply be there. They need you, I need you, more than they might let on. Let’s work together to love one another well, reflecting Jesus in our relationships.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Plunkett
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 14:24:59

    Beautifully said, Katie! Thank you, Sandra, for sharing! Prayers going up for all of you!



  2. Linda Sewell
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 14:41:58

    My heart breaks for you, Katie. I am praying for you and your family.



  3. julie alain
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 20:02:03

    So beautifully written. Praying for each of you tonight and hoping that you feel the Lord’s comfort tonight.



  4. Aunt Cricket
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 21:17:50

    One of the most moving things I have ever read.



  5. Cheri Smith
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 23:39:47

    Very moving and so true. Continued prayers of peace and strength for you and your family.



  6. Cathy Goddard
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 02:01:32

    Thanks Katie. I lost my Grandmother this week. I am praying again for you all and this time with more empathy than before.



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