I was talking to my sister a few days ago, and she told me she was reading a book by a grief expert. The grief guru described grieving a loss, and how grief comes in like waves. You can do your best to stand strong in the water, but the waves of grief will not stop. Eventually, you will become exhausted, and the waves will knock you down. However, if you will open your arms to the waves of grief, and not fight the waves, you will find yourself refreshed in the process. My Mom used to say, “Tears are healing rivers.” I wonder if our tears of grief stream into healing rivers that flow into the ocean where waves of grief wash upon the shores of your soul. When you finally let yourself mourn your loss in the waves of grief, you find the waves you resisted were made of healing tears.
Giving into the waves of grief doesn’t mean the pain goes away forever. What it does mean is that your soul begins to heal. Then, you don’t have to keep looking for someone to fight, eat too much Waffle House, keep waiting for that person to come back around, or drinking Coke that’s actually bad for your teeth. Instead, you can start moving forward. Some days will just be hard, and that’s all there is to it. Amidst these waves of grief, I looked up and asked God, “Why?” I wanted an answer right then, just as I have wanted an answer for quite some time now.
God didn’t tell me why right then. Instead, God let me feel deeply, both the pain of loss, and the comfort on the other side. Sometimes, He doesn’t say why. What He did say that if you mourn, you will be comforted. Mourning is intentional. Mourning is accepting the grieving process. Mourning is deciding to let the grief in. These waves of grief aren’t something you have to stand against or try to run from. You can lean into these waves. You can lean into the pain. What if you will find the greatest healing when you let the healing rivers touch the deepest part of your pain? Maybe that’s what is waiting for you on the other side of this hurt. Your loss is both real and true. What if your healing can be real and true as well?
What do you do with loss? I don’t know exactly. I’m not sure there is a “right way” to grieve, but I have learned there are a lot of wrong ways to grieve. When my mom was first diagnosed with cancer, the diagnosis was stage 4. Three mornings later, she was going in for brain surgery. The night before she went into brain surgery I said to her, “Mom, I don’t know how much time we have together, but if it’s okay with you I want to celebrate what we do have instead of being afraid of what we will lose.” The void is still there. Some days I don’t notice the pain, and other days I can feel crushed by it. You don’t get to control when these feelings come and go.
We’ve been talking about loss for a few days. My Mom isn’t lost though. I know where she is, and I look forward to seeing her again one day. If you spend time with me, I hope you’ll catch glimmers of her joy and love in my life. When we lose someone, we carry them with us. For now, I’m going to be grateful for the memories, who I am becoming, and what lies ahead. May we all love in such a way that our loss creates a longing for the reunion to come.