Chapter 11 – When Mourning Comes – The Burden of Grief
Well I must admit as I began to read this chapter I felt as though Lucado was reading from my heart and soul. I thought to myself “Lucado truly gets this” – read on.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…….Psalm 23:4 NKJV
The 1st paragraph of this chapter killed me. The words gripped my heart, touched me beyond all measure and made me believe even more that my purpose is to write and my grief, your grief, our grief.
“….the black bag of sorrow is hard to bear. It’s hard to bear because not everyone understands your grief. They did at first. They did at the funeral. They did at the graveside. But they don’t now; they don’t understand. Grief lingers.” – Max Lucado, page 90
“As silently as a cloud slides between you and the afternoon sun, memories drift between you and joy, leaving you in a chilly shadow. No warning. No notice. Just a whiff of the cologne he wore or a verse of the song she loved, and you are saying good-bye all over again.” – Max Lucado, page 90
Those paragraphs above represent the very thing that motivates me to write. To explore with people who don’t get it – what happens to someone when they have a loved one die. The sorrow that won’t leave, it stays for a long time, never packing it’s bags and leaves – not even for a tiny vacation.
Here is the most profound statement Lucado makes in this chapter. I want you all to listen, re-read it until it hits you like a sledge hammer:
“Why won’t sorrow leave you alone – because you buried more than a person. You buried some of yourself” I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it until people get it – the day Brittany died, a little piece of me went with her. My dreams for her died and I buried them with her. My future as a mother, a grandmother – all buried with her. You can’t even imagine if you haven’t had to bury a child the immense amount of pain and sorrow that a parent carries as a result of burying not only a child, but their dreams along with them.
I spent a lot of time angry – some days I still do – anger lives in sorrows house. But as Lucado eludes to there is only one truth – God is a Good God. It’s hard to understand, wrapping my head around why Brittany died. But I do understand that God is good. I have to trust that His reasons for taking her so young at that time, was valid. How else could I see it. Right? Otherwise life would be pointless for me.
“Good people are taken away, but no one understands. Those who do right are being taken away from evil and are given peace. Those who live as God wants find rest in death” – Isaiah 57:1-2
“While we are shaking heads in disbelief, they are lifting hands in worship. While we are mourning at the grave, they are marveling at heaven. While we are questioning God, they are praising God.” – Max Lucado page 92
I so get that quote, because shortly after Brittany’s death I found a project she had done the year before in a backpack that was to have been cleaned out by family so I didn’t have to deal with it. When I was about to give it to charity – I looked through it one more time. There I found a gift that could have only been from God.
This project was about how Brittany wanted her last day on earth to be and how she would have wanted her funeral to look. Who she wanted to do the eulogy. What songs to be sung. OMG – I sat and cried as I knew we had done it just as she wanted. The last two pages were drawings of her sitting with hands held high praising God and the other was little pictures of what grief would look like to us, her family, her parents.
That gift I know changed how I grieved for Brittany. He became clear to me that God took her because it was her time and she may have been directed to write about such things, to draw about such things so that her mother and father would be able to see just how much she loved God.
Knowing this has helped me see that God is leading me through the valley and not around it. As I so often try – going around the mountain always looks better than over it or through it. But God’s plan is to go through it. And with Him at my side, I find I can move through it with more peace, not always understanding it, but peace is present.
In the beginning paragraph of the chapter Lucado writes of a 3-year-old who has just passed over into Heaven. I felt that sting of grief as I know the moment Brittany died, she awoke in Heaven. And I thank Jesus every day that I know she is sitting at His feet and praising Him, dancing and singing joyful noises along with many, many others we have loved and miss dearly.
Until next time,