Learning how to grieve seems silly, but I am. As we drew closer to Zekey’s entering of Heaven, I started wondering, and often, “How would I grieve?” Would I surprise myself and go off the deep end, turning into a pile of rubble? I feared becoming an angry woman, causing earthquake-like effects with those who I loved most.
I desire to grieve true to how I feel so that it will not backfire on my husband and children. That wasn’t allowed, they’d been through too much – we’d been through too much. So, I took my wonderings and started praying. I asked God, even in the midst of chaos all around me, “Help me to grieve well and true.”
I felt God reveal to me directly to my heart and through people, that grief has a mind of its own and that is okay. I am learning not to have expectations on grief, even if others do for me. I concluded that if I want to cry and I cannot get it out, I need to focus on me and get to the source of what is keeping grief at bay. Since Zekey’s passing, this usually means crawling in his bed and letting myself miss holding his flailing legs and stroking his thick, beautiful hair. This is currently my favorite go to, but I know, it may not always work.
If I am feeling content just knowing where he is, that’s okay and I do not need to feel guilty about being ‘okay’ and even happy and relieved that he is home (Heaven, the truest home), even though that means he is not here with me.
I am learning to be honest with people right away and not let words that have offended stew too long. I even need to let other momma’s who have felt grief know that we will grieve differently and that’s okay.
For those around me, letting them in on what my needs are to grieve has been key to grieving well, so that they can at least understand my needs as a grieving momma and even help in tangible ways.
Grace. Grace for me, for others who offend me with their words or expectations. Grace for my husband as he will grieve differently. Grace for my children as they also grieve extremely differently from each other and myself and will their whole lives. Grace for when I hurt others in my grief…Lots of grace.
People who are grieving are at a highly emotional state – they can be easily offended. Give them grace because, heck, they’re giving you grace. It may seem like you are just one more person telling them you’re praying, or thinking of them but, really, they are hearing every word and phrases you pair that with, at least I am.
There will be triggers that could set them off. For example: “God will never give you more than you can handle” Uh, yes, yes he does. I cannot handle this on my own. Needed Jesus all the days, all the hours, all the minutes. Can’t handle loosing my son to Batten disease.
“God’s will is perfect.” Yes. Yes it is. And this wasn’t God’s will. God’s will is in heaven. Zekey is wrapped up in God’s will now that he’s left this, Jesus- needing world.
Your expectations on how I am to grieve. The depth of my grief, the sharing or not sharing of my grief. That’s up to me, not you, no matter if you have grieved before and especially not up to those who do not have significant grief under their belt.
Hope. When I’ve written about the hope of seeing Zekey again, I’m not thinking in the same way one would “hope to be a famous athlete” but THE HOPE that I KNOW I will see him again and for ever and ever thank you to Jesus. Sweet, precious Savior, Jesus.
To those comforting the grieving, take note:
Listen. Listen to the hearts of the one grieving. Do not make this a time to make a point, especially theologically. If you listen, and you feel the need to say something that happens to have a theology-driven response, only say things that you believe to be true as well as the one in grief. It’s completely selfish to do anything else but that.
Don’t assume the worst. I’ve said things about my boy and I have felt that even though I’ve given God the glory a million, trillion times over (because He deserves that and MORE!) if I forget to give it one time, and I’m just bragging on my sweet, sweet boy, just let me. I still know that he is a gift from God.
Give them grace because they are giving you grace. Those who grieve are, believe it or not, having to bite their tongues a lot in order to show love over revenge or setting you right. When our hearts are right, we know you mean well but sometimes, we are just too overwhelmed with emotion.
We don’t want you to be silent, we just want you to think before you speak. I am learning, too.
Above all else, love. If you listen, believe the best and pour out grace, you are choosing to love them well. And we thank you.