Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Death Is The Worst & Attributes Of A Sloth/For Those Who Are Grieving

I think I might be ready to frame it. That photo. Similarly like I am not ready to wear a locket I made with Amy and I's baptism photo, I haven't been able to frame my favorite wedding photo of the two of us taken 14 years ago. Boy was she happy that day. Exuding joy and peace. There is so much to say about those days, but I need to talk about these days.

There are so many ways this world is broken and we were not made for ANY of it, that is why we can't handle "bad days" very well, it's why we struggle when hardships come our way, like divorce, abuse, financial ruin, and inevitably, death. And death is the worst of these because it is irrevocable, as one of my books put it. (I know "death has lost it's sting", but honestly, that's a different reality all together when faced with the death of a life long partner, friend and sister of 26 years. Fumbling around trying to make sense of death changes when face to face with it). In the other hardships I mentioned, there are second tries, do-overs and well, newness. And as I firmly believe in life after death and reigning forever and ever with our Most High King, it doesn't change the current status of the one mourning, at least not right away or anytime soon. Death is the worst. It is permanent. I hate waking up day after day after day with the same reality that she didn't make it. Still shaking my head, staring out the window, tears freshly falling from my sunken cheeks because my appetite is so low. God Almighty, how could she not make it. 

I somehow, just like some of you, have been forced to deal with a new normal in my life.

Just like everyone wants me to be well and "better", I actually want that more than they do. They think they want that for me, well I want that for me. I know they just don't like to see me hurting, and as my mom said, in the most loving way, "I just want my Gina back." 

Try being me. Try looking at the dishes from the couch, thinking to yourself, "Simple, just get up, walk over there and start washing." I wish it were that simple, and maybe one day again it will be. But right now, I feel like a Sloth. I mean I have been well meaning for weeks when it comes to making corn bread for my husband. I just can't get myself to do it. Sorry hubby.
I wonder if I could go in a cage with the sweet Sloth in my hometown at Como Zoo? I'd probably feel more normal there than I do here in my own home. Every move is an effort. Think it's easy to admit that? It isn't. I hate this sloth like behavior. Please, please go away.

Tasks just feel impossible. If I accomplish one it is a golden star kind of day. And the toughest part is acceptance. Accepting I am where I am, and trusting my books when the author says, "This will come to and end, you will feel better....." Ok, I trust you book, I think.

I am shedding less tears, and I made some break throughs on healing the last couple of weeks. I was stuck in the Bargaining Stage for what seemed like forever. But through my relentless spirit of wrestling, and not giving up, I finally found freedom with two things that were holding me back! I then, later that week, actually did a little jig in the living room, if you don't believe me, ask my husband. It made him smile and I'm glad of that because it can't be easy living with a griever.

When we rush to get past the tears and "get on" with our lives we actually short-circuit our healing. There is no quick way to get on the other side of this storm. The only way to the end is through it. Even our friends and family tell us or at least think to themselves, "get over it" and get on with your life. They are well intentioned, but ignorant, and just want our pain to come to an end. Lynn Brookside 

Although death is quite different than any other hardship, I have found that a lot of wisdom I gained from my past dessert months/years, still applies. God is still God, and although I wasn't finding comfort in His Word right away, I am now. I read that too, that it can be common to not find comfort in things you once did while in shock. Good to know I wasn't crazy for not wanting to read or hear God's precious Word. I thought something was wrong with me. 
But He is still God, His promises of hope, redemption, grace, mercy and love are still true! Just like those promises were true in my marriage, my health and my abuse, etc. they are true in the death of my best friend! 

In my weakness His strength is made perfect. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Like a woman in labor, whose pain is not 
pointless, our pain is an invitation that beckons us to experience the very presence of God. Raynna Myers

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to weep and a time to laugh, and a time mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Grievers--3 Things to Remember:

1. Don't rush things. Don't rush your feelings, don't rush. Take the time you need, and it does take time. Try to remember to be gentle with yourself in this process, and know that there is no right or wrong. Accepting places we don't want to be is the hardest thing in life, but practice acceptance, everyday. It's OK.
2. Pray and journal when you are ready. I found that wrestling with God, writing things out, again and again if you have to, help a lot. You won't find relief right away, but it will come and God will answer you and provide a way through it. 
3. Force yourself to get out. If days or weeks have gone by, aside from working, and you haven't gone for a walk, seen the ocean, or even went on a shopping trip, do it. It's important to be immersed in nature and feel the breeze and get your senses going.
OK, maybe 4
4. Don't let others tell you what to do, how to do it, what you should do, what you should think. Don't be influenced by their thoughts and words on the healing process. I have been in their shoes, I know how awkward it can be when someone you know loses someone and you not a clue how to act. Don't get upset with them or expect things from them. Some just don't know what to do, and that's OK. I too have ignored peoples grief in the past. 

So I continue on my road through grief, but with an acceptance that I don't have to have all the answers, God "waives" our need for having all the answers, as C.S. Lewis puts it, and I accept where I am in the process, even though it's not where I want to be, I want to be doing so many other things, but God is using this unforeseen reality to shape my life somehow. I don't know how yet, and I'm eager to know, but I will be obedient to the call of acceptance and grace, and a mighty endurance as I'm molded more and more in Christs likeness in this process. That is my goal in all of life. Even in death, even in grief. I never thought this would be me, as silly as that sounds. I'm still trying to transition to a new state, a new apartment and adjust to not being with my family and friends, and then pow, this happens. I have to trust God has a greater purpose. He's big enough for that, and I'm small enough to stay open to it. Anytime now God.

Now for the perfect picture frame.


wandering said...

Thank you for this. The word "sloth" grabbed me. "That's it exactly" I thought. Grief is such a strange companion. I find myself balancing between trying to be normal and allowing myself the freedom to just be, whatever, without stress. However, to be normal, I need be doing more than I am motivated to do, but to be free, nothing gets done. I recently read a blog where someone tried to encourage with their experience saying, "give yourself time, it may take six month to do thus and such". I panicked. Six months! I'm at fifteen months and still have not been able to accomplish said task. I, too, consider it a banner day when I have accomplished one thing.
The first year of grief was a time of disbelief, shock, floating in a sea with no land in sight. This year is proving to be more painful. We vowed to walk together through good times and bad. His last year was the worst...and now he not here to tell me, "It's gonna be alright".
I'liken marriage to learning a dance. You practice and practice the moves to do it better and better. You work at knowing when to step, when to turn, and sometimes even, when to sit it out. You devote years and years to developing fluidity and grace and learning to feel your partners subtle gestures. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you don't. day...he's gone.
You have dedicated your life to learning a dance for which you no longer have a partner. The loss is stifling.
So I'm left feeling slothful.
However, I know there is hope. Hope that he is truly free and healed of earthly disease. Hope that, in time, the stifling heaviness of grief will run it's course and I will feel purposeful again. Hope that I will someday see God's great purpose in it all.
For now, I continue too wait and pray to see the beauty in this moment...and maybe learn to play his chord at a time.

Dusti said...

I believe Christ's death on the cross should have taken care of grief - if he took all of our sin so that we are now spotless before the Father, couldn't he also have removed the suffering we would feel on this Earth? Unfortunately, just as sin was not removed from the world, neither is our grief. So we wait until the day he calls us home, making us purely whole and removes the pain. What a wait. I think it is cruel to be told, "it's okay...Jesus died on the cross for this!" because I still feel it. Even when I cast my burdens, I still feel it. Even on my best day, I still feel it. Even though I know God is faithful, I still feel it. I would rather you not be going through this, Gina, but I'm thankful to glean from your words as a young girl who is also grieving: a broken engagement. A lost job. A father battling cancer. An unknown future. I'm scared and I'm broken, and I feel as if the world will never be right with me ever again. I physically feel my heart torn in two. I can't mask the pain, I can't forget about it, I can't just make it go away. I must feel it. So, thank you for your words. I never thought our brokenness could be a blessing to someone else, but your truth in this time has certainly been a blessing to me.

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