I hear you. I see you.
I have a friend who has had a very hard season and finds herself in the midst of grief and the sad loneliness that comes along for the journey. I have been there, but at the same time I haven’t. Grief is so solitary and unique. The loneliness of grief is so different than regular loneliness because the person longed for is gone and the reality that they won’t be back creates an emptiness molded to their exact likeness.
There really are no words to share but I do know that God is the ever present Comforter. I also know that grief is not linear and the grief of some losses is neverending. There is no timeline and no right or wrong way to grieve. The ache is real and valid. It is okay to tap out, fall apart at any moment and be joyful and sad at the same time. The loss of concentration, the exhaustion, the memory loss, and the people who distance themselves is the unexpected addition to overwhelming sorrow.
Side Bar: Part of my personal grief process was learning how to have a relationship with the person who has died. I don’t mean in a creepy seance or ouija board kind of way at all. It really is just a realization that my relationship to Jim was not only in the past. My memories are connections to the past, of course. I thought, however, I would never be able to add anything again to my relationship with Jim. In a way I cannot but rather than just looking backward – feeling close only when I visited the places we used to go or did the things we would do – I often find myself noticing and appreciating the things Jim would have loved but never got a chance to experience. Does that make the loneliness go away? No, but there is also a sense of comfort in keeping his memory alive. I am grateful for the time I had with him and for the blessing that being his person was and how loved I was. Death cannot stop love. Thanks to a God who loves (and who died).
So, for my sweet and hurting friend, my heart breaks. I pray and I hope. I have learned to listen and try to hear what is not being said. I sit in the dark with her. I laugh and cry, curse and bless without giving up. Since I have become comfortable in that space myself, it is not an issue to try to push her to move forward. Life may look unfamiliar for awhile. While grief does send life sideways it does not make us weak. It actually takes an enormous amount of strength to put up with the stupid things that people do and say as though they have not experienced loss. There is not a person on the planet who has escaped the process of grief or sorrow. I long for that day when there is no more death, no more brokenness and no more sorrow. Until then, let’s get better at this thing called life and its accompanying side effects. Let’s live in light of eternity and with hope and love – carrying those on stretchers to the feet of the One who heals, who loves and who is in the process of restoration. 2 Cor. 5:17.