Grief

We said goodbye to Elijah today. The church was filled beyond capacity, spilling out into the hallways and stairs and onto the green outside. So much sadness, heartbreak, tears and grief. This amazing young man, who died too young, and his family… Loved so deeply by all those who know them.  We are grieving for them and with them.

The depth of this grief surprises me.  He was not my son. Yet he was all of our sons. They are not my family. Yet our community is a family.  So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me. Perhaps I should just know. We all lost someone today. We are all in mourning.

Grief also remind us…of past losses. It brings the pain and sadness we thought was gone, back into our hearts. And so our tears are tears of remembrance too. We grieve again for those we loved and lost.  Grief it seems,  is not something that really ever goes away. It’s within us always. It changes us, subtly and not so subtly.  It lingers in our hearts, forever.

Today, I grieved again for Michael. My husband, the father of my son Paul, who died from cancer when Paul was only six. The pain of that loss sat with me in the church this morning. It stayed with me all day. And the memories came back.

The memories of those we have lost are a part of who we are forever. Michael will always be a part of me and my life changed in many ways for loving… and losing him. I see him everyday in my son.  But I haven’t felt the grief again until today.

I wonder if there was still some grieving left to do?

12 years ago, in the blink of an eye, I became a widow. I also became a single mother.  We had just bought an old farmhouse the year before he died. Suddenly it was all so overwhelming. I cried every night. I took care of my son everyday. I remember wondering how I would do it all?

I think I put my grief on hold. I hid it away so that I could be a mother, a teacher, a homeowner, a daughter, a friend, a sister. I pushed it down inside.  Deep down where I thought it would stay. But grief is not like that. It must be felt. It must be experienced. It must be allowed to be.

My tears are for Elijah, but they belong to Michael. My heart is broken for Elijah’s family, but it is also breaks for my son.  I am in mourning. This time I will grieve.

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5 thoughts on “Grief

  1. Each new grief brings back all the old. I don’t think we ever truly stop grieving, we just put it away for awhile. It’s a privilege to have loved and to hold close to us the memories of those we lost. My heart goes out to you.

  2. I am saddened at the loss of the young man, your husband and others who have lost their special loved ones. I cannot imagine the amount of grief at someone younger than ourselves. I have experienced losing three preschoolers in my nine years I taught at a school in Mt. Gilead. Each time, I was very overwhelmed with grief, mostly for the parents, because my faith is such that they are in Heaven, painless and worry free. Two were due to health issues, one was an accidental drowning. I had one parent ask me, knowing I love to draw, especially children, to make an Ark with Noah and his arm around her son, Will. I did this for her, she sends me it on notecards each year on the anniversary of his birthday, I wrote these words: Will joined Noah on…. the date of his death.

    • That’s so beautiful yet so sad too. Death is never easy for those left behind but there’s something so terrible when it’s a child who dies. Faith is what helps us bear the pain. Thank you for your kind words Robin.

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