Those first nine months of my grief, I hardly knew what to think much less to ask for… All I wanted was to keep those around me from feeling as bad as I did. I felt as if no one on earth could either understand or relate to how I felt.
Those months were filled with well-meaning and loved friends and family offering their advice, their comfort and their services to me. All much to no avail. Nothing helped. One evening I sat at my computer IMing an “Internet pen pal” when I got an email. It was from a young woman I attended church with, worked with and mentored through women’s ministry. Her words: “I need to help you, you need me to help you… Tell me what to do to help you.”
My emotions tipped the Richter scale as I responded in as nice a way as I could muster. In short, there are some parts of my journey that I will have to make alone, some parts that are intended for me to share with others and some parts that are still even hard for me to imagine at a time like this. I wrote from my heart: “What I need is for people not to tell me what I need right now. This may be hard for you to understand, but you ask what you can do for me and all I can say is this: Unless you can bring my son back to me, I don’t know what I need. But if you think you might like to go for ice cream one day – call me I may need to get out. And, in the case that I don’t feel up to it – it’s not personal… It’s just where I am. Sorting out the messiness of grief with God.”
I so desperately wanted to be alone in my grief that I know I shut people out and shut my emotions down in public. People close to me knew my grief was palpable. They saw it in my eyes and expressed in a strong embrace. But, as much as I didn’t know what to do with the loneliness, sadness and anger… They didn’t know what to do with me.
At Christmas, a friend hugged my neck as I was weeping bitter, sorrowful tears at the end of the service. She tried to sooth me as I gushed, “I just miss him so much.”
Time felt as if it stood still, and my heart felt as if it would split right in two when she responded: “But, he ain’t missin’ you.”
Perhaps I needed to hear that, but I didn’t want to – I didn’t want to think that a moment of life in heaven passed for Justin without him being joyfully aware of how much he was missed and loved by his mother here on earth. He just has to know that… He just has to. And, he does. He was made perfect in Christ when he came face to face with Him in heaven. He has perfect knowledge and the truth of that comforts me, but it is bittersweet.
So it is with the many things I have discovered about life and God in my grief. One thing I know for sure – it is true. Though my God doesn’t like what I do at times, He never leaves me and He never forsakes me. Though I forsake Him and grow angry or disillusioned with Him – He stays close, and walks along behind me until I decide to turn around and acknowledge He is there. He then will take me up in His strong and loving arms and comfort me as only He can.
He strokes my hair and rocks me as He sings a soothing song in my ear. “There, there Beloved…” I hear the gentle whisper of His voice say to me, “I know your sorrow is great. That your suffering is breaking your heart. But, have faith, My Child, I redeem the losses and make good the suffering. I mend broken hearts and carry your tears in a bottle marking each occasion that you have cried. You are My Child, and I love You, as much as I love My Son… So, I also love You. I know how You feel, sweet Child, for I gave up My Son for You. Your son is safely in my care and he will be here, in your cloud of witnesses. And when the time is right, his voice will be one of many calling to you beckoning you Home.”
YOU MAY WANT TO WRITE DOWN OR PRINT OUT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS. Share your answers if you are comfortable. Mostly allow these answers to resonate in your heart of hearts and allow God to bring His truth to your pain.
How do you relate to the desolation and the loneliness of grief?
How have you learned to deal with your anger in grief?
How has God proven to you that He will never leave you or forsake you?
Has someone who meant well said or done something that ended up making your grief worse instead of better?
Have you found the grace to forgive them?
At this point in your grief, what brings you the most comfort?
Share one thing that you are thankful for or a special memory of your child.
SALVE FOR OUR WOUNDED SOULS:
“Praise be to the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort,
4 who comforts us in all our
troubles, so that we can comfort
those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves have received from God.
5 For just as the sufferings of Christ
flow over into our lives, so also through
Christ our comfort overflows.
6 If we are distressed,
it is for your comfort and salvation;
if we are comforted, it is for your comfort,
which produces in you patient endurance
of the same sufferings we suffer.
7 And our hope for you is firm,
because we know that just as you share in
our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed,
brothers, about the hardships we suffered in
the province of Asia. We were under great
pressure, far beyond our ability to endure,
so that we despaired even of life.
9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence
of death. But this happened that we might not rely
on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope
that he will continue to deliver us,
11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will
give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted
us in answer to the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (NIV)