Does tragic loss occupy one chapter in your story or the whole book? Some of us are likely to respond quickly, “The whole book.” However, should grief encompass one’s entire story? Will each day of tears dampen all the chapters to follow?
I buried my firstborn after his death by suicide. Shocking, horrific, debilitating loss. For days, weeks, months I struggled, barely surviving. My son’s death cut me to the core and shattered my heart. How could I go on?
I don’t know how I continued to live, but I did. Now I’m grateful to be alive. Now my story has a purpose. You might wonder how that’s possible from where you are in your story. I get that. After lots of time passed, my story gained a purpose when my higher power asked me to reach out to hurting hearts like mine. I did and I continue to share my story. Now enough time has passed that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. You will get there, too.
My higher power is in my story. He has always been there. I just couldn’t see Him while in the deep throes of grief.
This may not make sense where you are in your grief story, but maybe it will one day. Months into my grief I thought I had finally gained some perspective. At that time I was inclined to say that my entire story was wrapped up in the loss of my child. I filled up chapter after chapter with sorrow. Grief-stricken for months on end painted my entire story in shades of gray. How could there ever be color in my world again?
The accumulation of years on my grief journey has refined my perspective. I think it is more accurate to view the loss of my child as covering just a few chapters in my story, rather than the whole book. Losing Greg to suicide created a sadness in me that colors every chapter that follows with painful reminders. It is rare for me to not think of my son every day and in every situation. He is a part of me, but should all the chapters in my story be sad? Is that how I best honor his memory?
My life was average, normal before I lost my child. Losing my son changed me forever. I couldn’t find my footing for a long time. Once I felt solid ground under my feet I had to find ways to live. Even live with joy. It’s not easy as all of us well know, but living is important. Survival is important.
I plan to live my best life until the end of my life. I think I do that best by living with hope on board. Hope in my heart lightens my grief. Hope reminds me that this is not the end of my relationship with my child. Hope suggests that we are experiencing only a break from each other. Breaks are hard. My “break” from my son is in its 15th year so I know the passage of time. It’s lonely. I am filled with longing, but hope tells me to be patient, hopeful. I have learned that living life with purpose helps time pass more quickly.
My life has gained a purpose as I blog to all of you. I am able to drop back in my journey to take the arm of a newbie and we journey together. You take comfort from my story and I learn from yours. Together we live in hope of eternity where we will never again be separated from those we love.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12
Verse shared from The Message (MSG)