Making space for grief was not part of the plan. Watching grief bump up against my ordinary life was not the way I thought it would go.
Grief is messy, hard, and never quite leaves once it takes root. When grief settles in and takes hold, your life changes in ways that you never expected.
Deep losses mark who I am. Scars remain from the deep roots of grieving and working toward healing. Transformation comes, but only after digging deep into the many questions you face at the loss of a loved one.
I am in the process of reliving my many losses. I am seeking a deeper understanding of how grief affects not only me, but others. This journey will help me as I sit with other women who have experienced loss.
Living Through Loss
In the moment of final separation from your loved one, grief feels permanent. Visualizing the next day without your loved one may even feel impossible. Making space for grief in that moment is only possible because you have people around you offering support and prayers. But what happens after the first or second week when all of the well-meaning people are no longer around? What will life look like then and how will you move forward?
I remember writing my mom’s eulogy and including a call to not forget the family that suffered the loss. Stay in touch, check in, or offer to just listen. The reality after giving the eulogy is that most people did not stay in touch and loneliness was the byproduct. Our culture celebrates getting over grief quickly. Two weeks feels reasonable, right? There is no timeline for how long to grieve and it is a disservice to expect that within a specific amount of days or months, you can move on.
Living through loss is exactly what it sounds like. It is a journey of learning how to live without your loved one, resuming your routines, and identifying the emotions that you are feeling. When we name the emotions and areas that become strongholds after a loss, we gain perspective and the capacity to move through what feels so devastating in the moment.
Remember there is no exact timeline and that is okay.
The Other Side of Loss
Loss stirs up emotions that we never thought to use to describe how we react to something. In my digging, I named anger and those who know me would never use that emotion in the same sentence with my name. It was a revelation that didn’t sit very well with me. But I allowed myself to name the anger and understand why it even rose to the surface.
I can safely share that I am on the other side of loss. I did the work years ago and realized recently that I had not worked through the loss of my mom completely. Life kept going and it ended up spiraling me into deep anxiety–panic attacks and all. Sitting with a group of women these last six weeks has been the best gift in my grief journey. Making space for grief has led me to knowing myself better and how the relationships of my loved ones, who have passed, direct us even in our grief.
God grieves with us. He walks with us. God loves us through to the other side of loss.
How Do We Make Space for Grief?
In our grief, Jesus weeps with us (John 11:35). He feels what we feel and carries the emotions that weigh us down. Jesus wants nothing more than for each of us to release the swirling emotions and strongholds that come many times as a byproduct of loss. Trust me, when I say I am releasing often and asking forgiveness for picking up the very thing I just laid down.
God does not willingly cause us grief. He is the One who makes space for us to lay it all out and try to make sense of it. Let’s turn to God in our loss knowing that we cannot walk through it alone.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone. Lamentations 3:32-33
I am learning again eight years after my mom passed that processing grief is good, hard, and sacred. But processing by myself keeps me stuck in a narrative that doesn’t lead to healing. What if you chose community to walk with you in this journey that you didn’t plan and never wished for?Making space for grief is a gift from God and for yourself. The passage from grief to healing is timeless, unique to who you are, and a doorway from grief into a newly created life that is even more beautiful. Making Space for Grief Click To Tweet
Let’s celebrate grief and remember it is not the end, but a beautiful beginning.
Empowering women to walk in brave faith one heart at a time!
Writing about grief today was prompted by the work I am doing to prepare to work with women in grief recovery. I also am deeply affected by the shootings in Uvalde, Texas and the continued shootings that are occurring across the country.
I hope you will join me in prayer for the loss suffered by many and the division that is tearing us apart.
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