Language of Grief

Language of Grief

Fellowship of suffering has been described as a combination of those who have suffered and those that are suffering. Recently Andy Stanley spoke about this during a message called Comfort Zone. In fact, I wrote about this in a previous post called “Cloud of Witnesses”. I have found this to be true from the moment I met my first mom who had lost their child. There is an undeniable bond that happens and I think it is because we understand the language of grief. We understand the pain, not their pain, but the pain loss brings when you hold your child while they cross over. Collapsing over their bodies and praying to God, screaming out to God because the pain and anguish of that moment is so horrific. It still brings tears to my eyes each time I revisit that moment October 13, 2006 at 6:55 am.

Comfort from those who’ve been comforted is life-giving to those who need comfort. – Andy Stanley

So that quote really spoke to me because it took me back to those early days and weeks after Brit died and had it not been for those who came and sat with me, sometimes not saying a word, but spent life-saving time with me – saved my life. Sharing the same space in time, no demands, and no expectations – just sitting side-by-side meant more to me than I could ever put into words. I was blessed beyond measure for those who did not give up on me. Their comforting made me feel like someone cared.

That being said now that I consider myself a seasoned griever, I have experienced life-giving purpose in writing this blog, in hearing from my followers, meeting moms in person and lastly praying for those who I do not know, but understand the journey they are forced to live out.

I don’t believe I have the answers, nor do I claim to be an expert in offering advice, but what I do know is that grief and I know each other well. It has visited me on many occasions and for a variety of reasons. God has worked in me to allow my pain to be a voice for others and I take that role very seriously.

I don’t want to sugar coat anything here on this blog. It is not my intention to give the impression that the death of my daughter was any easier because of my faith. It was not. It takes a mountain of faith to get through loss. My faith has been questioned, shaken and put to the test, but I have not lost my faith, in fact my faith has grown exponentially in spite of my losses.

Finding purpose to honor my daughter’s memory and to help me heal by helping others has been crucial to my healing. It will always be a work in progress. Eight years since the death of my daughter is different than it was at one year or two years and so on. Each year it changes it evolves into a mature grief. I still cry, sob and yearn for my daughter. I still question why. I still find tears well up in my eyes when I spend a moment thinking of my Brit. The pain is still relevant in my life. My faith has been tested, but not broken. I rely on my faith in God to help me find the purpose in all of this mess.

He comforts us in all of our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled,
we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:4

So on the days when I feel I can’t make it another minute, I remember the advice I got from someone many years ago in the early years of my grief. “Close your eyes and imagine you can crawl up into the lap of Jesus and allow Him to comfort you”. While that seems a little odd, it works. Spending time with God in prayer or in the fellowship of church – has been the very nourishment and comfort that has helped me get to this moment.

Our capacity to comfort is determined by the degree of which we have suffered. – Andy Stanley

I encourage you to watch the video link below from Andy Stanley. I get something new from it each time I watch. He also mentions my story and says my daughter’s name which I found touching. The whole series is also listed below.

 

http://northpoint.org/messages/in-the-meantime/comfort-zone/

MeantimeSeries.org

Until next time,

M

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Strength vs Courage

I follow a blog on FB called Mitchell’s Journey. It’s about a father who shares the story of the journey his family has been on from their son’s devastating disease to his untimely death. He continues to share their story as they move through their grief. One particular comment he made struck a chord with me and I felt like I wanted to share it with you. The excerpt below is quoted from his FB Page:

I was raised to accept the reality life is tough, because it is. And at some point the world tells us we have to suck it up and take it like a “man” or a woman, or a lion or a bear. But I also realized in the privacy of our bedrooms or the quite of our minds there is often an unspoken dimension to us . . . a part of us that is vulnerable and mortal; a part that loves deeply and hurts honestly. Years ago I stopped pretending to be a lion or a bear. I decided to be human – and that has been liberating.

I too was raised to expect life would be tough and while I’m a woman, I was raised with five brothers so the reoccurring theme was to “buck up” and be quiet. I saw a great deal of hurt growing up. I won’t go into any details; however life was far from easy and there were times I wondered if we would make it as a family. I grew up believing that I had a sense of responsibility to help my mom raise my brothers. Because my mom chose not to hide much from me, at an early age (8 or 9) I saw and heard things a young girl should not see or hear.

So when people tell me that I’m strong or that I have shown great strength, I have a hard time understanding that. Life has been hard and I’ve learned to just “buck up” and deal with it. But like Mitchell’s father, when I’m in the quiet of my mind, I understand that I not all that strong nor do I have great courage. What I have is faith. A faith that helps me rise above all that is negative so that I can see the positive. Not easy and I don’t profess to say that, but it is a choice. I’ve never known any other way to live. Life has just always been rocky for me.

That is not to say I don’t have things happen quickly or exciting going on it just means I’ve worked very hard to be where I am today. It’s never been a gift. Just plain work. I do believe that my life’s experiences has prepared me for the losses of my mom, grandmother and lastly my daughter. Losing my mom during my pregnancy was a hard blow to me. I took to an angry stage for a long time. My daughter was not like your normal every day child. She had disabilities due from a high fever she had at 11 mos of age. Years and years of therapy, medications, doctors and tests she ended up with severe epilepsy and crohns disease. I grieved not having a normal child. But now knowing the amazing young woman she became – I would have never traded her for anything. She was simply an amazing spirit who was sent to me for a reason. I told someone the other day that I truly believe she was sent to earth for a job and she got it done very early and then departed back to Heaven and God saying “well done my child”. That makes me smile.

So yes, I am strong, but don’t mistake my strength for healing. I’m still hurting. I’m still missing my girl beyond belief. I celebrate her life this week as we move into the 8th anniversary of passing. But I weep for her physical being because she was a part of me a part of my story.

Until next time,

M