Updated: Jan 3, 2021
No matter how old you are, how much you pray, how much time has passed or how connected you feel you are to God there is just something about grief that will have even the strongest person weak.
Grief is unpredictable.
There’s no timeline or manual on when or how to grieve.
It’s possible to go days, months and sometimes even years feeling like you are finally “getting over it” and then BOOM! The tears start coming, the anxiety is back and the pain is so real it feels like it’s happening all over again.
Sometimes all it takes is a song, a phrase or an interaction to activate that gut-wrenching pain, the shoulda coulda woulda, the if I just had more time or the feeling of resentment that’s left unfortunately left behind.
Often times we only associate the act of grieving with death but this emotion isn't only present after death though.
Grief can appear after the loss or drastic change of anything that happens unexpectedly. The emotion of grief can be present after the loss of a relationship, job, financial status and or lifestyle.
I've personally had my fair exchanges with this fight in balancing grief.
Over the past three years, I’ve experienced tremendous loss. From multiple tragic deaths that literally took my breath away to a complete life transition.
For me, it was very easy to become robotic when operating in my grief. While expected to balance the demands of everyday life it was very difficult for me to find the time to be vulnerable, to cry or even reminisce.
I was so afraid that if I allowed those feelings back in I wouldn't be able to control them.
I never imagined living a life where I was able to control my tears at the mere thought of my sister. I honestly didn't think it was possible.
It wasn't until recently that I truly developed an understanding of the difference between living and existing. My survival depended on balance and in order to find any bit of purpose in tomorrow, I was forced to deal with my grief.
I addressed each emotion as they came and I had to accept a few things.
There are things that I will never understand.
There are questions that I will never get answered.
And there isn’t a soul that graces this earth that can understand my pain better than God.
These things not only in time brought relief but it also eliminated the expectations I placed on my family and friends.
Today, I choose to see the value and purpose of my grief.
Although these practices didn’t happen overnight and weren't easy to transition into the habits that I have created and my undeniable peace is very attainable.
All you have to do is,
When something happens unexpectedly, without warning or sign it HURTS. It's absolutely normal to feel pain. It's even more normal to not be “OK”. It's apart of who we are to be able to experience any discomfort, hurt, denial, physical sickness and or emotional strain. It might sound crazy but even if you have to verbally admit that you are grieving, I suggest you do just that. Identify with the fact that you are hurting. I look at acceptance as one of the biggest steps in the healing process. Once you've admitted and accepted your current emotional state you are now in control and are opening yourself up to healing.
When my sister passed away I was literally a walking zombie. I’d never experienced a literal heartache. If you’ve ever had any severe chest pain then you can kind of relate. I was completely useless. I couldn’t eat, sleep I mean I could barely talk. I was at a literal loss for words. Completely broken. Although I wasn't much help with planning the services or making the arrangements my brother made me make him a promise.
His only request for me to be present.
Yes, be present.
Out of all the tasks that I could have been given this one was going to be the hardest and here's why.
This was my baby sister! The frick to my frack. The ying to my yang. The peanut butter to my jelly. My go-to. My voice of reason. My accountability partner. My perfect verse over a tight beat. The quiet to my storm. My purpose.
Not only was she gone but her death was her choice.
I had literally talked to her hours before her departure and my promise to come to rescue her didn’t happen soon enough.
My brother was asking me to be present, not to just be physically present but emotionally available. To refrain from drinking, smoking or being dependent on a substance that would help to numb the pain or mask my emotions. As hard it was and how deeply I desired to quiet my mind and stop the pain. I honored his request.
I was there very present and in pain. I had some rough nights and some long days and tons of trying times but looking back that decision saved my life. If I would have allowed myself to experience a temporary escape I would have been chasing that high for the rest of my life. But little did I know on my search for relief I would find a dependency in God that would not only bring me perfect comfort but soothe my pain without expiration. There is such importance in being present so even if you are completely broken just be present.
Live in it:
Embrace the pain. Some seconds, minutes, days, months and years will be better than others but allow yourself to live in it all. Don't suppress any emotions or ignore any feelings. Cry, scream or shout if you need to. Don't allow anyone to tell you how to grieve or place an expiration date on your pain. I don't focus so much on wanting the pain to go away anymore. I'm more focused on the power that is in the ability to feel. Not only do you now know exactly what area of weakness to pray for but the strength that you are building in the midst of your pain will be life-changing. That makes it even more important to live in your pain so you are able to identify it's power.
Now that you have identified what's missing and you are allowing yourself to feel the pain it's time to fill the void. Since you now have taken steps to move forward in life without this person or thing it's time to start to think about what things or routines you can incorporate into your life that will bring you complete fulfillment but what cost you anything.
For me the desire to be closer to my sister was undeniable. Since I am a believer and I believe that heaven is real I was on a journey to making sure that I could see my sister again. As of late, it is now more important than ever that I am spiritually in tune. There is nothing in this world that has provided me with more comfort than being in touch with my spirit. So I encourage you to began to fill the void that's left behind with things that won't just bring comfort but an eternal guarantee.
Since you now understand that you have been given the gift of grief and you've accepted it, your present in it, your living it (feeling it) and replacing it. It's time to find a purpose in it.
I'll give you an example of what that looks like for me. After lots of prayer, reading understanding and tons of confirmation the purpose of my pain is to seek a deeper understanding of our identity. Not just who you think you are but who God says you are. (We will get deeper into that later.) It's so very important that while you are in the midst of your pain that you sit still so you can see the things that God is trying to show you. Sitting still will allow you to clearly see how to use your pain to push forth to your purpose. It's time.
Don't get me wrong I’m not suggesting that any of this will be easy or happen overnight but what I am suggesting is that the pain you are experiencing is not for a reason unknown or by pure coincidence. There are people who never experience tragedy and or live life and never experience grief.
and then there’s us.
I stand as a testament to the fact that nothing happens by mistake, everything has a place and purpose and I'm here to encourage you to find the purpose in yours.
Your creation of balance is essential to your survival.