An evening of struggling

Originally posted May 2015. Updated April 2017.

Warning: In this post I write about my horrible attitude one night last week. I know I was wrong and have asked forgiveness. Parts are raw. But stick with me to the end, please. And please understand that I don’t normally feel this way. This blog reflects one evening.

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Most of the time I handle my grief well, and I walk in peace, grace, and joy. But one night last week I was really struggling. It was just a few hours of intense grief.

I decided I had had enough of all this death, dying, and I-miss-my-baby crap that I see on Facebook. I was tired of reading about all the kids in heaven and how sad their parents are with them gone and how much each of them are struggling. I was fed up with reading about how much they are hurting. I was sick of seeing pictures of their cute kids and memes about heaven and poems about grief. So I unfriended most of my grieving friends.

(I told you I was struggling.)

I was just about to hit the button to leave the WWW group when there was a tap on my shoulder. I heard a still, small voice say,

Really? You unfriended those who have loved you? Those who looked at pictures of your Andrew and liked them? Those who commented when you needed them to? Those who encouraged you, prayed for you, and cared for you even though you have never met them? All because you are tired of grief? Really? That’s how you treat those who God has put in your life?

How would you have survived without them this past year? 

Do you not know that God sent them? God has brought you into each other’s lives to build each other up, to bear one another’s burdens, to comfort and encourage one another. 

Yes, they post about their child. Yes, they post pictures and poems and memes about grief. But they help you and love you.

And you can and must help each of them. You help them when you hurt with them, pray for them, and comment on or like their posts.  

You need each other.  You are the Body – many members, unique, but part of one Body.  The Body of Christ. Love one another as God  loved you, dear child. 

Jesus, too, knew loss and grief.

He is with you all. He is with you always. He loves you and He loves them. So go and do likewise.

Therefore, on the While We’re Waiting FB group I confessed my actions and attitude, and I asked my hurting friends to forgive me. And I asked them and others to “friend” me again.

I renewed my promise to pray for them daily, to love them as best as I am able, to look at their pictures of their children and see how beautiful their child was, and to read their posts. I committed to reading their stories and hearing their needs.

In general, most of the time, I have found joy and peace. My broken heart has healed. Memories are usually joyful rather than painful.  In my healing it would be easy to walk on and not look back, not stop to care for those so new to this journey in grief. 

But we who grieve need someone to listen, to hear us in our pain, in our grief, someone who understands because they have been there.  And if I walk away…if we who have experienced this loss all walk away…who will be there to help the mom whose baby will die tomorrow? Who will love that dad whose son will kill himself next week? Who will listen to the couple who will hear that knock on the door next month and find a cop standing there bearing news of the death of their adult child? Who?

If we, who have walked this road and found healing are not willing to walk with those who have just begun in their grief, who will?

Thus I choose to stay in the WWW group. To stand with others who grieve. To pray, listen, encourage, cry, grieve, and suffer with each of those who will unwillingly join our club in the days to come. Together we can make it and find peace, joy, serenity, and life once again. With the help of the Comforter and with compassion for each other, we can thrive.

And someday we will join our children in heaven. When I do, I want to hear the words “Well done my good and faithful servant”.

9 thoughts on “An evening of struggling

  1. Not yet two years, Kathleen – no wonder the wound is still fresh. It is only natural for you to allow yourself to feel what you feel and consummate away that terrible kind of emotion. Nobody knows how many years are being needed, but it all depends on everybody’s own work with oneself and the desire to make efforts for better coping.
    I am in no measure to give you this kind of advice – my pain (my level of understanding) is from having lost my father one year ago – and it still hurts. But I am working hard at washing my brain off the terrible thoughts that cross and assault my mind whenever one of my adult children is late in answering or when I totally lose track of one of them – they live abroad. I am working hard at panic and anxiety issues related to this, and they always get mad at me for being like that, so I don’t even dare to tell them what I have been going through while they forgot to contact me at the promised time.

    But, sooner or later, one needs to rationally come to the conclusion – like you say you just did – that things, even grief, need to meet with a natural end, and that life needs to be lived. This is not an option, but an obligation. Life is a gift and nobody is entitled to dedicate the rest of his/her lifetime to grief and sorrow. This should precisely be easier for those who have faith. If one truly believes in what he confesses to believe, life and death are just a natural succession of events, as God is everywhere. Christian faith is very specific on this: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (King James Bible, Corinthians 15-22). To me, it is a sign of doubt to keep “indulging” oneself in an unending grieving process – or even more, a loss of faith: everyone, absolutely everyone, child, adult, or elderly, is going to a greater reality and to a more real life when they are, as promised, “made alive” in Christ – besides, or closer to Him.
    I believe that it is very specific to our culture to see that we are here, on the better side of existence, in our material world, and those departed are “there”, in a sad and desolate place. I have been watching with a real great interest countless of different testimonies of people who’d had an NDE, and, just to hear their accounts – amazing similar!! – one can sense that it is us, in fact, who are living our lives in the desolate place.

    A friend recommended to me a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as6yslz-RDw) of a mother who had been through a near death experience in which she was told that one of her sons would die; I caanot imagine how she managed to live with this foreknowledge for all the time since her NDE and her son’s accident; but I can relate easily to her, as some of my experiences totally make hers credible to me personally. In an interview elsewhere she was asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” She basically said that they don’t. She said that things that seem bad are actually not bad in the broader perspective of God. Sometimes I try to imagine that this is truly the case.

    I wrote all this long response only to tell you that it’s ok – not only it’s ok, but it’s healthy, it’s actually a spiritual duty to make yourself go over it – when you are ready, I mean – in due time.

    BTW, a wonderful family you have there – may you all live in peace and blessings!

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    • “But, sooner or later, one needs to rationally come to the conclusion – like you say you just did – that things, even grief, need to meet with a natural end, and that life needs to be lived.”

      I believe that the grief over the loss of child or spouse (or someone very close to you) will not come to a natural end; it will eat away at you until it destroys you….unless you take healthy steps to heal.

      We need to feel the feeling. Be honest about what we are feeling/thinking. And deal with the feelings and thoughts in a healthy way.

      For me, this includes prayer and looking at what scripture says about life, death and heaven. I need to understand the character and sovereignty of God. When I understand that He is compassionate, gracious, faithful, loving and kind, I can trust Him to help me heal and find peace.

      And I have found peace.

      It is rare that I have thoughts like I did on the night I wrote about in this post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “…feel the feeling”, yes, you undoubtely do that, but, unless you want to deny the right to a normal, happy life to the rest of the family – they need that, you know, otherwise prolonged unhappiness and misery exposes the system to malfunction and therefore to disease. What is needed is not denial, but a processing of your wmotions. I believe you are doing just the right thing to go deep with your emotions and feelings, but sooner or later, this should be also processed rationally. Instead of allowing it to eat away at you “until it destroys you”, you chose, as you say, to “take healthy steps to heal” – and this is your greatest help and support to those who may see in you an example.

        I believe that the very fact that you chose to pour out your thoughts and feelings in that post already did you a lot of good and healing. But it opened an outlet to others who may feel the same: show them that it’s alright to have such feelings and that it’s alright to manifest an intention to move on.

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  2. Brought me to tears, Kathleen. Your honesty about this is valuable because you didn’t have to share it. I know beyond doubt that your words here will help someone out there who is hurting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.

      From the response I received on the WWW page, I am not alone in how I felt. After a while, we just get tired of the grief. I wish I could have a day off, a day when things were like they were before….but we can never go back. We go forward. And with God…well…He is still God: compassionate, loving, king, merciful and gracious.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know, and always share the real emotions only a grieving parent would understand. If people like yourself walk out of the grief journey of others, who will be there to hold their hand? I enjoy reading your blog because I know that you have lived it–and continue to live it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not saying that I understand your grief completely but I do understand that losing someone, whether in family or friends, creates a hole inside us that can’t be filled up by ordinary measures. Those who have lost their love ones need us, people like you, to comfort them, encourage them and above all help them when they need it most.

    All I can say is: Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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