I didn’t know myself.
I lived in a bubble that no one could enter. People would talk to me but their words rarely made sense to me. I found grief was a journey I mostly walked alone – even though I was surrounded by friends and family. I was fortunate to have companions along the way just to know that “normal” was going on somewhere. It was good to be with those who knew my loss and who didn’t insist on advice or counsel.
I learned to allow time to feel alone in the midst of people and to drive myself to any event so I could escape the minute one of the surprise packages opened. I was glad to go back home and simply sit in the enormity of the loss with the Lord beside me.
It was helpful during the holidays to let the unchanging truths speak to me as the ground of my life was shifting. Thankfulness would change my perspective more than anybody’s counsel. Lighting each Christmas candle of truth about God’s presence with me, His shared grief, His own anger against death and the fact that the Christ Child is the only gift given that defeats death allowed my tears to fall differently.
It was also very dear that during the holiday celebrations, time was given to savor the memories, be faithful to family rituals, enjoy the favorite foods and accept open conversation about how we were feeling. We had a bowl of sentence starters we took turns picking out and finishing…..I remember how I loved…..I wish……I admired………I am still angry about…I wonder……I am thankful……
I was glad that I was not expected to contribute to the fixings of the season and was free to help only if I wanted. I was glad that we were all given the opportunity to simply sit in silence if we wanted. I always appreciated a soft blanket to wrap in because I was often chilled by grief.
The grandchildren were a great joy to me and their honest reactions to the events of the parties helped me enjoy that time and space set aside like no other.
“If your cup is sweet, drink it with thanksgiving. If your cup is bitter, drink it in communion with the Lord.” May God’s companionship in your grief be a cushion of hope for the days to come. We will always walk wounded from grief and in so doing be of great help to others when it is their turn.