My Perspective on Grief
Today is the 14th anniversary of Connor’s passing. After all these years, I thought I would be able to say that I have grieved well, but I have been doing a lot of grief work this past year and have realized that I have only worked through a shallow part of my deep well of grief.
My perspective on grief has been revised this year. I realize that grief is someone we will all be introduced to many times during our lives. Sometimes, she comes unexpectantly, suddenly. Other times, she comes after dreading her expected appearance for a long period of time. Either way, she is not a welcome guest. I think we all treat her differently when she arrives. We may cry unceasingly, loudly, or silently. We may scream at her to go away. How dare she come!!! This was a good man, woman, or child. We shouldn’t be grieving for them. They should still be with us. I think for me; I ushered her into a very secluded room in my house where I didn’t have to notice her. She was easy to ignore as I hurriedly walked past her on my way to help my family and attend to all of life that pleaded for my attention. That was easy as there was much that needed my attention and time. To notice her would mean that I would have to face the pain of missing Connor and all that comes with it. Each season has brought fresh new scrapes and wounds to my heart. This season brings with it his friends’ college graduations and the beginning of their new careers. Some have even gotten married and started families of their own. A brand-new chapter of excitement and a sense of accomplishment for them and yet a sense of loss and grief for me.
I think it is very normal to view grief as an unwanted guest and possibly an enemy because I admit I have hated her. But I see now that God has a different view of her and plans for her. Grief can be our friend. She can be the one who ushers us into the very presence of God and His comforting and loving presence. It is as though she is the key who unlocks the door to this very healing and transformative process. Without her, who would introduce us to the Jesus who weeps with us as he did when Lazarus died? Who opens his arms to embrace us as our tears fall unrestrained, purging our pain and heartache? Without a wound, we cannot know the healing touch of the Great Physician. His balm that soothes and restores our very souls.
Grief demands our respectful attention. If we ignore her or don’t treat her with the care she deserves, there will be other unwelcome guests who follow her into our lives. Guests like anger, resentment, shame, fear, anxiety, doubt and disillusionment with God. I admit, they have all had a place at my table at different times over the last fourteen years. I have slowly been ushering them out of my home.
Grief also opens many cracks in our hearts that God fills with the comfort and love that only He can give. And as He fills these cracks, our hearts expand. They become larger, growing our capacity to love and comfort others. Our hearts become more sensitive as these newly filled cracks are healing so we can be more compassionate and merciful to others. And God has repaired our hearts in a way that it overflows with joy and gratitude to him as we realize that He, the God of the universe, has seen our tears and heard our cries and bent down to tend to us in our brokenness.
I am reminded that God loved me so much that He provided a way to usher Connor into his very presence on July 10, 2009, where he is experiencing such joy and love that I cannot even imagine. He also provided a way that I will be reunited with Connor again someday. All because of His love for me. For all of us. Grief is the one who makes me realize the precious gift of this great truth. Without her, I would not fully grasp the depth of God’s love for me.
I am learning to appreciate grief and view her as a friend. I am trying to not ignore her as I notice her sitting there waiting for my attention. She has the best intentions to help me understand God and his loving and kind nature better. As our relationship deepens, I will take her hand and let her lead me to the waiting arms of Jesus.