So, I am in new and uncharted waters as I find myself in a whirlpool of emotions as my family and I deal with a little thing called grief.
This is my first real experience of losing someone so close and the minefield of how to support my Lovely Mr B as he copes with the loss of his beloved dad.
Grief, I have often heard said, looks different for everyone and I am inclined to agree. I feel that grief very much fits in with our personalities and as an external processor I am someone who likes to talk things through. On the other hand, the Lovely Mr B is an internal processor and prefers to work through it quietly and doesn’t need to keep talking about it. This is where things can get tricky and as an external processor how not to constantly bother the internal processor with incessant questions!
I was reminded today, by a dear friend, that the love languages that I have talked about before can be really helpful during a time like this and I can help the lovely Mr B by showing emotional love to him through his primary love language.
During the last couple of weeks one of the things I have found difficult and one that kept taking me by surprise was seeing reminders all around the house. Shoes under the table, a hat on the back of the door, a cup waiting for another drink to be made and on and on. Just when you think you are feeling okay these things catch you off guard and you can’t prepare for that. All these things remind you of your own mortality and this stirs up so many thoughts and emotions, that you may never have thought about or felt before.
Thankfully as a family we all share a huge bank of memories from the lifetime of a man that loved so well and was always putting others before himself. The gathering together of family and friends to mourn and celebrate is a time of such mixed emotions as people who haven’t seen each other for years, although sad, greatly enjoy spending time together and catching up on lives that have changed and new lives that have been born. A time when people you don’t know well share stories of someone you knew so well can be so revealing and these moments are a sheer blessing and comfort, things to hang on to.
We had several of those moments as we found out that Mr B’s dad was a man of faith, more than we could have known and that he loved nothing more than sharing his faith with the young children at junior church. He was what you would call a man of quiet faith, who clearly loved Jesus. What a beautiful gift to find out the extent of his love for Jesus that brings a massive comfort to us.
The most difficult thing after the physical absence of someone is the aftermath and the impact on the rest of the family. Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still and life moves on which can seem so harsh. It’s a little like being on a moving train, where you can’t just get off between stations and you just have to get on with the journey out of a place called grief.
Another friend encouraged us to step towards the grief and not to be afraid to go there. Such wisdom, as pain left unsorted, unprocessed or pushed down can only lead to damage instead of into wholeness. When the moments come and grief rises and takes your breath away, feel the pain and grief until it passes again and don’t forget to breath.
Amid this grieving process I have found it tricky making decisions and have found myself feeling overwhelmed by situations that I would normally cope with. So, I am trying hard to remember that although I may look the same on the outside at the moment my insides feel raw and that I need to be kind to myself and to be honest with the people I work with, friends and family so that they know how to help.
My biggest comfort through the last few weeks has been the overwhelming love of my church family who are supporting us with prayer and acts of amazing kindness and thoughtfulness. For me the scriptures that have been particularly brought to life are:
Roms 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Roms 12:5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Having a church family, a community that we are part of has been amazing and a source of great strength. These guys are in it with us and in it for the long haul. We don’t have to put on a ‘church face’ we can be ourselves, whatever that looks like at the moment.
So, I find myself in a sea of grief but, there is a light shining in the darkness and that is my God. He is with me in this and is holding me up. There have been hurdles to get over in the last few weeks and I know without a shadow of doubt that prayer has literally moved mountains. God has shown himself to be faithful, a miracle working God, comforter, strength, loving, compassionate and my all in all. Today at church despite feelings of sadness I could sing my heart out because God is good in every season we could ever be in.
Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
For those of you in similar situations and in a sea of grief at the moment, know that God wants to be and is with you in the grief.
In loving memory of Raymond William Brown 15.8.1937-12.10.2016