When you lose someone close to you, it means you lose someone you depended on to do life with. In some way, that person played an important part in completing you as a person. Now, there is a hole in your heart filling with grief and a very obvious void in your everyday life.
I have a friend who lost his grandfather and not only had to grieve the loss of someone he loved deeply, but he also grieved the absence of that steady wisdom and old fashioned love that he counted on to guide him for so many years. I have relatives who lost a parent way before they were ready to say goodbye. Now, they have to go to someone else when they need advice on life and how to raise their own children. I have watched a father and mother grieve deeply for their child. Not only did they grieve the future that they didn't get to have together, but they regretted the missed moments they could have had. I have even seen people grieving for their best friend and missing that special connection they shared for so many years, and now they are hesitant to get close with anyone new because they don’t want to be hurt again.
For me, losing my wife, Lyndsie meant that the grief was overwhelming and basically sickening. My heart was broken and if that wasn’t enough, I began to see the real, everyday impact her absence had on my life. The person I depended on more than anyone else was no longer there to encourage me and lift my spirits when I was down. The person who compensated for my weaknesses and helped me remember everything that I forgot was no longer there to do those things. So, not only did I feel broken as I grieved for my wife, but I felt weak and unable to manage my life well. My weaknesses and flaws were exposed and I honestly didn’t know how I was going to do it. I was so blessed to have the people that I trusted most, patiently and selflessly stand in the gap for me and the kids as I tried to learn how to do all the things that Lyndsie was gifted at doing. But it was a tough process even with so much incredible support. I had to learn how to prioritize what was most important and say no if necessary. I had to learn how to manage my time and actually put due dates and meetings on my phone calendar so I wouldn’t forget (still working on that one). I had to learn that it takes constant communication with my kids and the people in my life (still working on that one too). And maybe most importantly, I had to learn that it takes way more effort to apologize and make up for forgetting something than it does to actually get on top of things and get them right the first time!
But get this...there is a hidden gift in this process of grief. It's not a gift anyone in their right mind would ask for or look forward to, but it is valuable and gives so much purpose to the pain. That gift comes from being completely forced to get out of your comfort zone and do something about the weaknesses that are revealed through losing someone close. It may take awhile, but when you get to the place where you decide to take a step forward, you will start to find that you can become good at things that you may have struggled with before. You will be shocked to find that you have the ability to cook an actual meal or even grill something. You may even learn how to put your child’s hair in a ponytail or pick out clothes that kind of match. And you might even get up the courage to go new places and be bold and direct in ways you have never been before. These are all small things on their own, but each small victory will help you start seeing that you are going to make it through - and not just limping along. Small wins will become big wins and when you finally look back, you will see just how much you have grown through the toughest season of your life.
I have such a long way to go on this journey and I still find myself leaning on my people. But I would like to think that Lyndsie is proud of all of us for rallying together as a family and taking steps in the right direction. We are not done grieving or all the way better...I don't think you ever stop grieving fully...but I am seeing stronger people as a result of their grief and that is so encouraging.
So as you sort through the grief in your own life, I pray that you will be reminded that you will make it through this season and you will be stronger than you have ever been before!
1 Peter 5:10 (MSG)
The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ - eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good.