In the past few months, two of E’s family members have died. One, a man in his 70’s, died of a suspected aneurysm. The other, a 39-year-old man, took his own life. I did not tell her about either. She would not remember. But she would be very sad.
Grieving these men I, too, loved without her grieving along with me has been hard. I’m sad she does not remember her family. Caring for her while knowing I’m not telling her everything is hard.
But not telling her was the next right thing.
The following article was originally published five years ago. In the next few months I will be posting some of my older blogs. They are still true. I hope the help others.
Platitude: Time heals all wounds.
Is this true? Does time heal our grief?
No. Time alone doesn’t heal, but, with God’s help, time spent doing the next right thing does help.
What is “the next right thing”? It changes. In those early days, the next right thing may be to spend time alone sobbing, making funeral arrangements, or helping our spouse and children accept their loss. Later, the next right thing may be going to church, grocery shopping, or attending a social function. Recently, I’ve had times when the next right thing was to mow ten acres, take a nap, and even pull over on the side of the road to sob. Many times the next right thing for me is to enjoy life, worship with joy, and laugh with my husband.
As for time…I agree that time helps us heal.
As we move further from our loved one’s date of death and all that happened in the time leading up to it, plus all that happened in the subsequent weeks and months, we gain perspective.
We see that we can survive. We see that the pain of loss gets a bit easier to bear over time.
And, for me at least, as time passed, I looked back to see the beautiful things God had done in the midst of my grief.
In the time since The Accident, I have seen young people change their behavior regarding alcohol and driving. I have seen many come to life in Christ.
I have seen a friend’s family restored after they realized their disagreements were petty compared to what could happen in an instant, compared to what it would be like to see their adult child die.
I’ve seen my own relationship with Christ move to a new, deeper level during the time since The Accident.
God promises to continue the work He began in our loved one and in us. He says He will carry that work on to completion until the Day of Christ Jesus. We begin to see evidence of that over time. And as we look to God for help and healing, as we do the next right thing…in time, we can find healing in Christ.
The Accident occurred late on August 12, 2013. Because of the remote location they were not declared dead until 12:30am on August 13. Here is the story of the Day My Life Changed Forever.
If you have experienced the death of a loved one, this book is an excellent resource:
If you have experienced the death of a child, here is a resource that may help you. Surviving Sorrow by Kim Erickson.