Grieving is normal but don’t let it dictate your life. We may not be able to fully control what happens in our lives. We all experience loss and tragedy in very different ways. But we do have control over how we allow our experiences to grow us.
This week, Cody and I are talking about grief in the face of loss and tragedy. As you may know, one year ago, Cody lost his mother to her battle with alcohol. Now, we are discussing what grief looks like after time and how we learn to cope with our emotions.
The truth of the matter is that everyone grieves. But there isn’t a specific timeframe for this or a specific way to we must grieve. There is no specific cycle of grieving. You could be sad today and happy tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving. It’s all at once and can repeat itself. For some people, that grieving process takes a week and they feel like they have fully grieved. For others, it can take ten years before the grieving process sets in to fully have an arrange of emotions.
It’s never easy dealing with the loss of a loved one, especially when it is unexpected. You don’t know how to grasp the situation at hand. Your world starts to slow down and you’re left with trying to figure out what to do in the situation, only to feel helpless. It’s hard and it hurts and you almost feel numb in the moment.
I’ve always loved the way one of my favorite authors growing up explained the sudden loss of a loved one:
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” – Lemony Snicket, The Reptile Room
The way Lemony Snicket addresses loss as a metaphor of thinking there is one more stair than there actually is spot on to how you feel in any given moment. I know for Cody and I, it wasn’t easy getting a phone call around midnight learning about our sudden loss. We felt like our world was just barely turning as we just sat in the car in silence.
Over the course of the next few months, things got a little easier over time. I won’t say things got better or the situation was easier to deal with. But, I will say we were able to understand that we have full control in how we deal with loss and tragedy.
Grieving is a normal process that everyone experiences throughout life. But as we are upon one year of Carol’s passing, we have learned quite a bit about family, love, life, and the importance of community. Grieving isn’t easy and it isn’t fun. Visiting her gravesite even after a year still isn’t any easier. But time has allowed us to grieve. I’m sure that even years from now, the grieving process may not be fully over. And that’s okay. Because the beauty of grief is that with death, comes new life. There is healing and love that comes out of tragedy. God’s mercy and grace and abundant love is healing and allows us to grow.
We have full control over how our experiences shape who we are as human beings. Grieving is normal so take as long as you need to. But, don’t let what happened to you dictate what happens to your future.