Why do we have to grieve? Why does it take so long to feel better when a loved one passes? Why does it have to hurt so long? If someone could just give me a date when this grieving period will be over then I can make a paper chain, pull off a link every day, and it will make it go faster.
My son passed away six weeks ago. I am getting up every morning at my normal time, making up the bed, getting dressed, leaving the house, smiling, and taking care of my business. To those who don’t know, I probably just look like my normal self, maybe just a bit quieter. If you didn’t know about my loss, you probably couldn’t tell that I am heartbroken on the inside.
The definition of grieve, according to Oxford Living Dictionaries, is to feel intense sorrow; to cause great distress. In a world where we order fast food through a speaker, read our news from the sidebar of our Facebook page, get our new shoes from Zappo’s the next day, expect our computers to instantly give us any information we want without having that stupid circle thing spin and spin for what seems like forever, we have become impatient. We can’t wait for anything. No excuses. We are impatient without regard to other human beings and what might be going on with them. Why wouldn’t we be impatient for an unpleasant feeling like grief to pass?
Impatience is a human characteristic. A quick Google search on” What does the Bible have to say about impatience?” (See how I used my phone to quickly pull up what the Bible had to say about impatience because I am too impatient to get up out of this chair at the computer to go get my actual real Bible.) Anyway, I won’t bore you with actual passages because you can Google them just like I did without having to move. Bottom line, impatience is not a good quality for us to possess and one of the reasons that difficult things come our way is to teach us how to be patient. Our time on earth is to make us more Christ-like.
So let’s get back to me. My son passed away six weeks ago. Y’all, this grief stinks. It hurts. I don’t like this feeling. I want this heavy feeling in my chest to go away. I don’t like not being able to text or call my son when I want to. I feel sad that he won’t be here for the holidays or the upcoming wedding in December of his brother. I had been planning a trip in my head for January to Boca Raton to visit him for a few days. The trip in my head was going to be so much fun with him and it would be 85 degrees. Living without him is hard. When will I feel better?
I feel like I have lost a part of my body. I could theoretically have my leg amputated. It would be a major life change but I could get a prosthesis and learn to live my life in a new way. It wouldn’t be the same as before but I would make the best of it. What choice would I have? That is how I am going to have to view my son’s death. It is a major life change. It is going to be an adjustment. It will never be the same as before. I will have to learn a new way of living. It will not be as good as before but I have no other choice.
So here I am. Grieving, with a side helping of impatience. A thought came into my head this morning. What if I died and no one grieved? Wouldn’t it be sad if no one missed a person who died? I realized that I am supposed to be grieving and I am supposed to grieve the rest of my life for my son. It should be hard. He is not replaceable. He was here for almost half of my life.
What would the alternative look like? We would spend a week planning a service, have a visitation, then a meaningful service, go to the cemetery, and then eat a meal that friends had prepared. Maybe take a few days to recoup from the break in routine, then go back to our routine. Wow, that sounds cold.
So my realization today is I am so lucky to have had a son that I am going to grieve. How horrible his life would have been if he had not had anyone in his life that would even recognize that he had been here? The fact that he has two parents who are never going to be the same means that he was loved. He was the air that we breathed. He made us unselfish. He was our first child. He changed us and helped on our life’s journey to be more like Christ. I am not saying we are anywhere near the pinnacle of that but we were no where near there before him. He taught us that our relationship to him is like God’s relationship to His children. He taught us how to love unconditionally. No matter what he did or didn’t do, we still loved him. He taught us how to give all that we had unconditionally. Whether that was our time, money, or love. He changed us. His siblings miss him. He mattered to all of us.
My mother passed away almost nine years ago. The first year, her death defined who I was. It was awful. It hurt. Then slowly over the years it hurts less. The memories of her death faded slowly and the wonderful memories of her life moved forward. I remember all of the funny things she said. I can remember all of the good times and the fun we had. I still miss her but the pain doesn’t feel so raw.
So I want to learn to have more patience. I need to learn to have more patience. I don’t need to hurry this grief up. I should be feeling this way. It should be hard. I want to always miss him. Not in a debilitating way but in a way that I always remember that he was here. He was worthy of being the object of our grief forever. I am thankful for the gift of him. In time, the rawness will go away and the wonderful memories will move forward. But I don’t need to hurry this up. I need to grieve for as long as it takes because he was loved.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.