Acknowledging Grief

I enter the room, carefully maneuvering around the land mine of a familiar face, which I desire to avoid for fear familiarity will cause an explosion to my composure.

I make my way to a corner to hide in the wide-open, when the gracious host walks my way and asks how I am doing. “I am on the verge of a panic attack.” I honestly answer. She acknowledges my pain with words of comfort, and by pulling me close.

When I say something that instantly feels profound, “I want this more.”  As much as I struggle each time entering this room, especially after last week’s discouraging news, I want to be in that room more than allowing fear to cause me to flee.

Sometimes there are times we need to set grief aside for the better option, which in this case is community.

Yet, there is also a time to be still and acknowledge the deep sadness within and not run from her turmoil.  Like right now. The tears are fighting for release.  And all attempts to keep them under lock and key have me an anxious mess.

Release is important and necessary. It doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on miracles–not at all.  I send desperate pleas Heavenward on a nightly basis. Because truly the landscape is prime for a God-sized miracle as we are without human hope.

Still, to only believe that healing will occur and not allowing myself time to grieve is dangerous ground to tread. Maybe I’ve said this already, maybe I haven’t, but grief is a process that begins before the end of a life. And it is good to grieve.

I grieve when I see him pack away years of hard work into boxes and trash cans.

I grieve when I see him plan for our future without him.

I grieve when I lay beside him at night knowing that this may end sooner than later.

I grieve the day our girls walk down aisles without gripping tightly to their daddy’s Popeye-sized forearms.

Grief is perfectly normal as I reflect on how much this man means to our family.  To attempt to deny the affect his life has on mine would be disastrous to my wellbeing.

I saw a couple on Fox News one morning, a Christian couple I might add, who shared the heartbreaking story of the loss of their son.  I caught the story mid-stream, but guessing they wrote a book on their story.

Leaning in, I listen as my heart prepares to be empathetic with their hardship, I hear the words of the mom and instead feel agitation rise as I yell at her, “This is wrong. You are not grieving. Don’t you see that you are living in denial by not accepting his death?”

Cliff note version:  She says she refuses to use the word death to describe her son because he is in Heaven, or on the other side, or something of that nature. True.  But my issue is with what happened to him, not his whereabouts. He is dead.  Death is a hard word to say, I get it.  But, she needs to come to terms with it, not deny it. It won’t make it worse, it actually will make it better in the long run.  Because by denying this, I don’t believe she is fully grieving the loss of her son.

I know this because I once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. Seriously, I am Hospice certified in South Dakota.

That, and my sister died years ago, but because we never dealt with her absence by acknowledgement of her death, the hurt remained underneath the surface for a very long time.

It is healthy to make peace through grief when a loved one is resting in peace. It will rip your heart out more than you think possible.  It may make you throw up.  It is okay to not be okay.

I want this more…

I want to entirely feel even when the feeling overwhelms me to a point of collapse of composure.




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