As with the blossoms exploding in Spring or the leaves turning neon before their last journey to earth in the Fall, the seasons usher in unique offerings for different times.
So it is with grief, the onset of pain while saying goodbye to someone or something dearly loved. It is a process that is baffling and tailored to each individual going through it. It can be harrowing and cathartic; unrelenting and abrupt; avoided but necessary.
This has been such a season for us. The season (about 18 months) has seen a beloved parent pass, as well as friends, relatives of friends and dear pets who are as much family members as if they walked upright on two legs.
Grief also seems to beget grief. By that I mean that a new passage of grief has fragments and echoes of earlier grief journeys so that the mourning process is often a confusing mosaic of heartbreak for the current loss as well as reliving walks down the corridors of earlier losses.
This is not meant to be a melancholy or angst ridden-entry. On the contrary, I’m one who believes that grief is very necessary for the human condition. And I’m one who avoided it for a long time and had to re-learn that grief must be passed through. It cannot be circumvented or avoided for very long. It always catches up and demands to be dealt with.
As I often do when experiencing difficult or even joyous times, I turn to the written word. Writing has helped me immensely when going through hard times in my life. It makes tangible that which is often confusing or amorphous.
So, to comfort my own heart as well as to hopefully bring a kernel of peace to those whom I hold dear and who are walking their own grief journeys, I offer these words along with my prayer for a metaphorical arm-around-the-shoulder as their lives re-adjust to the vacuums they are now dealing with…
“There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” ~Winnie the Pooh
“Grief is itself a medicine.” ~William Cowper
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” ~William Shakespeare
“Grief is a statement – a statement that you loved someone.” ~Barbara Baumgartner
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me. ~Psalm 18:16-19
I cried out to the LORD in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. ~Psalm 34:6
In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.” ~Robert Ingersoll
“Hope is grief’s best music.” ~ Unknown