Good Grief it has literally been over a year since I have posted on this blog. Alas, long forsaken blog I am back.
Well, first let’s deal with the elephant in the room,why haven’t I written in over a year. Grief is the word my friends….plain and simple I have been walking a LONG season of grief. I have been unmotivated and uninspired. and just feeling blah. (I know a quality descriptive word)
Grief isn’t always pretty, actually it never is pretty…….but it’s process and a process you have to walk through. Sorry to bring the bad news right away….but let’s unpack this and see how it goes.
Curt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2010, and although technically he is still “here”, I lost my Curt years ago to the black hole of Alzheimer’s. Curt currently eats pureed food each day, he no longer talks or walks, he is very sleepy as of late and had a pretty significant seizure a few weeks ago, he is incontinent and while he does smile and laugh some….the athletic, humorous, and tender hearted, Godly man who played drums with a passion for Jesus has not been around for over 9 years now. And I miss that man….thus it is the loss of that Curt that I daily grieve.
My sweaty, hated to shave in the summer hiker is the guy I miss
Oh Grief, you pretty much suck….we have been unwanted bedfellows for some time now and that makes me feel pretty comfortable to use that word when describing grief.
But here is the good news in all this grief, I honestly have learned so much about angst, and loss…. the good the bad and the ugly, I felt I needed to pass some of it along. Are you grieving a significant loss? Do you know someone walking a journey of grief? Are you struggling with pain and loss? If so read on…..
First of all understand you have to walk through the pain and hurt. It helps to understand this early on and really grasp the reality of it. Early on in our journey I was always looking for a road around grief, I just didn’t want to deal with it……it hurt and it was so painstakingly difficult I just wanted to avoid it.
I was struggling. But I quickly came to realize I needed to be intentional and embrace grief for the monster it is and deal with it.
I wondered, like so many of you, will the paralyzing strangle of grief ever get better?
Fact is friends, Grief is the most painful of emotions. It’s easily the tallest and wildest ride on the roller coaster of emotions. It’s important to know, grief is a forever emotion, it will always be with you. It does not end with one outpouring of emotion, it comes back time and time again. It truly is a wild roller coaster ride, with emotions all over the place.
But…..the more frequently you ride a roller coaster, the more you start to get used to the ride, you get more comfortable with it and the ride is not as crazy as it was at first.
Thus the longer you live with the monster of grief, you do learn to manage it better and be more intentional.
It does get “easier” but that easier part looks so different for everyone. When dealing with grief “easier” is never really easy, it just becomes easier to manage and understand and is not as paralyzing. Does that make sense?
It will look different on your grief journey than on mine, each person will process this in their own way. But there are enough similarities in all grief journeys that it is important to understand what you are dealing with, and recognize it.
Crying yourself to sleep, wanting to isolate yourself, or wanting to keep busy, crying at random triggers, lack of motivation ,having trouble sleeping (and many other things) are all normal, don’t beat yourself up, accept that this is part of your grief journey.
One day I also realized, despite the pain of losing Curt, and all the other stressors that were overwhelming me, there were still some good things happening. I just had to be more intentional to see them.
People brought meals at the right time, a sweet, encouraging card or text arrived almost daily, God provided financially for care for Curt in ways I could never imagine, a man showed up at my door with a lawn mower after I destroyed mine forgetting to put oil in it (rookie mistake), some dear, anonymous soul sent me chocolate regularly at my job, our yard work was done every spring by so many different groups just showing us love….this list is endless.
It finally occurred to me one day that God was sending me encouragement and strength ON the road of grief and pain. I realized I had to keep walking ON that road and not detour another easier direction. I wanted to simply get off this stupid road, like let’s find a quick exit (A quick fix). Grief is NOT a quick fix. It’s a life LONG process.
I started to understand God wanted me to continue on the road and see the many ways he would bring encouragement, provision and faithfulness and GROWTH along the way.
Isaiah 43:2 says
When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not see you ablaze.
There are days you wake up and are so stricken by the paralyzing depth of grief/pain and you just can’t get moving, I want to encourage you to get up, get some coffee (at least that is what I had to do….coffee first) and cry out to Jesus, yell at Him and pour out all those emotions and seek after Him. Keep walking on that road, you must walk through the pain and grief to begin to see healing and restoration.
Remember that song “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns, I used to think it was just plain dumb. No one in their right mind could possibly truly praise God in a hard situation….no one!!
I also wrestled with this James verse (1:2-4)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Like are you kidding me, consider it pure JOY? Um….No
BUT……eventually I came to realize this is actually an achievable goal. As I started to see God’s hand in so many ways on the road of grief and chaos, I became encouraged in the middle of the depth of my grief. Now keep in mind my grief did not just go away.…..it’ doesn’t. You don’t ever get over the loss of a loved one…as I said it’s a life long emotion.
But it began to become a bedfellow I could now learn to live with and I learned to be a more active participant in understanding the beast I was daily captured by.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
Have you been at a point of despairing life itself? Did you feel that you had received the sentence of death and despair? I know there were points where I did……but it’s that last part of the verse that speaks to me every time……..that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.
Plain and simple friends, you can’t do this grief journey on your own.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong
Do you see that in verse 10? For when we are weak, Christ is strong. And that is really the only way to keep walking this grief journey.
If you are walking a grief journey, get some good walking shoes because it’s a hard road, but please know Jesus is walking this journey with you. He is our strength. That is what brings healing and such a deeper understanding of the love and grace of Christ. Dare I say… Grief can be Good.
Be encouraged, if you are intentional you can see God’s hand and beauty in your grief.
It has taken me walking at least 9 years on this road of grief, but i can now say…..
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I am here for you too.
Be proactive….as I always say if you do nothing, nothing will happen.
Seek out others walking the same journey
Keep seeking after the Lord
Seek out a good counselor/therapist
Much love to those walking this journey…we are in it together friends. Hang in there dear grieving friend.
More to come on this subject….and yes that means I may actually update this blog much sooner this time! I will also update on how Curt is doing, there has been a few changes in the last few months.