July 2, 2019
A Bit About Grief…
The days are going by without my beloved and each day I miss him tremendously. I walk past the large picture of Glen that my friend took and stare at him. His eyes follow me as I move, but then again, his eyes always did follow me in life so this is not much different. Except he’s actually not here. I find that really weird. His passing to the next realm is still beyond surreal for me. I’m sure that I could convince myself that he’ll be home soon; that he’s just on a really long trip and there’s no wifi (just like when we were dating and I was in Europe)…but it’s not true. The true part is that this is a normal part of grieving. In many ways I do believe that he’s just on a trip that is unbearably long. The other true part of it is that he really went somewhere and he is more alive than we are here…and certainly happier than I am for sure.
I have come to some different conclusions with losing someone this important to me. These conclusions could be right or wrong – honestly I don’t know and right now I don’t care. (Although psychologically speaking…they are the norm…just saying…) The conclusions are getting me through the day. I know grief. I am well acquainted with suffering, loss and grief. I have many losses in my life through people I know dying (friends and family – a rather long list including my Mom who passed away from cancer in 2010); illness most of my life (contracting Lyme disease at age 10 but not knowing what is was until 2015 and then my son getting it from me through pregnancy); and other losses throughout life. There are many losses throughout life. Losing a spouse is hard. Really hard. Our love was pure, strong, radiant. We both rated our marriage at a 9.5/10 at the very least and that was only because we were trying to be modest. As one of my very understanding clients said today, “The deeper the love, the deeper the hurt and the pain.” Agreed.
So one of the conclusions I have come to about grief is that those who are grieving grieve hard. When a person dies, and then another person dies, and then another, the grieving can become more complicated. Each grief triggers the other losses and we grieve another layer of pain.
Those grieving are grieving their past, their present and their future with the loss of spouse or child. It all feels empty and we are not even sure why we need to keep doing the mundane things of life. We certainly don’t care to pay bills, wash dishes or in my case even eat. When I grieve I can hardly get food down because my stomach just really hurts. (Though, just to clarify, I am eating!) Others want to eat all the time for comfort and to numb the pain. There is a loss of discipline in life around food, family, exercise…just because we don’t really care and really, does it matter? I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, but the feeling is that it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters – yet it does. One doesn’t care – yet one does care. Deeply.
With grief there is an exhaustion that runs excruciatingly deep. Sleep is extremely difficult to come by. Most of us can’t sleep at least for the first year without the aid of sleep help in some form or another. For me, already struggling with insomnia since I was born and Lyme Disease robbing me of the rest of my ability to sleep – let’s just say that if I didn’t take something (herbal and zzquill or allergy pills or something!) I wouldn’t sleep at all no matter how tired I am.
There is also an increase in pain. Whether one is already dealing with a disease or something wrong or not it magnifies and increases the pain. Every symptom becomes aggravated and excruciating. When my Mom passed into Heaven’s glory I had forty people over three days in a row. When the week ended I collapsed and every fiber in my being was in mass amounts of pain. I was sure I had been hit with a Mac truck. With Glen passing…it’s still that way…except the pain is massively bigger. Unlike other losses, significant losses like losing Glen make the pain linger…longer…
One walks around with a litany of emotions. The dominant emotion is an underlying cacophony of sadness. It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t enjoy life. We still laugh and choose to live. We still have joy. We can still go whale watching (which I did on Saturday to help my friend celebrate her 49th birthday!) and have a blast going fast on a zodiac, totally enjoying every minute of being outside and seeing the magnificence of whales, but it doesn’t mean the sadness is gone. It co-exists and mingles with the joy of life.
Here’s an odd thing that’s happening…crazy or not I really don’t care…I talk to Glen all the time and most of the time I hear him answering me. Whether it is the Holy Spirit speaking for him or him speaking to me directly I do not know. I think it’s a combination. Perhaps it’s just what I think he would say to me because I know him so well. It doesn’t matter. What I have come to believe, through prayer and seeking the Holy Spirit on this matter in earnest, is that we are still bonded together as soul mates. The Lord has told me to lay aside what I think I know of heaven but still rely on biblical principles for my beliefs…and in all honesty I think we’re all going to be pleasantly surprised when we get there. I do believe that Glen and I have much more to accomplish together throughout eternity and that we will always be partners – this is just a lull in the partnership – my goodness I miss him! And just to make a note here, I don’t hear my Mom or friends, or aunts, uncles, grandparents respond to me like I “hear” Glen. I am bonded to Glen in a different way. “And the two shall become one…”
I did some premarital counselling tonight and was surprised I didn’t burst into tears while talking about my relationship as an example. The advice I was giving was to make sure you tell your spouse daily how much you love them. I’m a words person – I know, surprising. I told Glen so often throughout the day how much I loved him and he told me back. I didn’t want him to think I was being trite by saying it many times so I told him that too. Often, it was the only thing in my head. I would look at him and think, “God, I love him so much! Thank you…” so I would tell him that.
One more thing coming to mind. “I guess it takes a few years…” I hear people say. Yes. It does. Grieving someone you love, primarily a child or a spouse takes “a few years” and then some. Grieving is a LIFE LONG PROCESS. One does not just “get over it” so don’t ever say that to anyone who is grieving. We will continue to miss the person. Grieving just changes colors as the months and years go by. At first the pit of grief is dark and black. As we sit in it, as sit in the suffering, as we must do if we will ever climb out of that particular pit, we look around for the treasures and gems that we will find. We become stronger and emerge as different somehow. We don’t even know how we have done it but we slowly find the color of the pit of grief changing. It becomes a dark grey, then slowly a dark blue, and continues to lighten. There are still times of intense darkness and blackness and overwhelmingly missing the person as we are thrown into tears. I would trade all of this for having Glen back…all of us in grief would. When in grief we still keep living and choosing life. We “move forward” but we don’t forget and we don’t stop loving that person. Those people. Ever.
Grief is not something we choose. Grief is the result of a fallen world. God didn’t choose this for us either. God allows it because He has a bigger plan than we can even imagine. God calls His people home when He knows it’s their time. Their story is not finished yet. Our story intermingling with their story – those already called home to that realm just beyond our reach – it’s not finished yet. God is still writing it. Perhaps we need to get out of the way and let Him write… I know that God grieves with us because in Jesus’ death He suffered and took on Himself EVERYTHING that we have ever suffered. So we really are not alone, even if it feels that way.
God, keep writing…and come soon Lord Jesus. Come.