For the first time, I have no words, no plan, and no idea where this specific blog post will go. Unlike everything else that I’ve written, this post comes from a place that is still bleeding and intensely raw. I didn’t even know if I was going to publish this until just a few minutes ago.
I believe that grieving is a profoundly personal thing. I also believe that everyone lives a momentous life and that momentous lives deserve to be celebrated. Your abundant life demands to be celebrated because in your 22 years you touched so many hearts and transformed so many lives. You changed mine, and I am forever grateful for that.
There are no rules when it comes to wading through the deep pools of grief and loss, and there is no limit on how long you should be sad. Just because you’re no longer in love with someone doesn’t mean that you don’t love them at all. Everyone that has come into my life, whether for a season or the long haul, I have loved with my whole heart. Just because someone isn’t part of your everyday life anymore doesn’t mean that you stop caring about them. Even if you parted ways on less than stellar terms, that doesn’t mean that you magically forget the moments and memories that you had together. You can’t man-handle your heart into feeling a certain way; those emotions and feelings still live in your heart; they may have just changed shape and brightness a little bit.
No matter how many books or blog posts or inspirational quotes you read about how to deal with losing a loved one, your heart always seems to remain broken. Probably because we aren’t just “dealing” with loss the same way that we deal with a paper cut or a lost sock. Grief is not something to be dealt with, but rather something to be felt in every breath and synapsis because when we try to “deal” with it we reduce the feelings and weight of significant loss down to almost nothing. Putting on a brave face does nothing to help heal the hole being ripped through your heart. Pushing your tears back does nothing to ease the sorrow sweeping through your soul. Plastering a smile on our face does nothing to help release the pressure building up inside of us, just waiting to breakthrough.
Everyone processes grief differently, and each journey is one of harrowing juxtaposition. Beauty and ashes, laughter and tears, dark nights and brilliant sunrises. Some people turn to friends, to exercise, to screaming into pillows, or to reminiscing; and while I have done all of those I have found my sweetest solace in writing. Seeing my thoughts, fears, regrets, memories, and tears splashed across page after page is both comforting and cathartic. Knowing that they have a place in the physical world, not just in my mind helps my head and heart get on the same page, to see the same outcome: a slightly dimmer world now that you’re not in it.
So many people told me that grieving the loss of life comes in waves, and they’re right. Some days you think that you’re finally entering the shallow end and then all of a sudden you’re struggling to keep your head barely above water. And no matter how hard they try, no one else can pull you to shore or help you navigate your way through the waves. This is a journey you have to go on yourself. (Though I would like to ask where my songs, movies, and clichéd books are because I’ve looked and there are none about this particular topic.)
It’s easy to scream and yell and blame God for taking the life of someone so young, but is he really taking it away if it belonged to him all along? Trust me, hardening your heart towards the perfecter of comfort only aids in delaying the healing process. Instead, cry out to God. He hears you through the snot and tears, and he sees that your heart is breaking and he longs to wrap you in his embrace and soften the edges of your broken heart. It’s in the act of daily offering up our sorrow to God that we begin to walk towards accepting and embracing the new world around us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-7