I was thinking a lot today about the expectations of others for grief. Stages they say. Wow, wouldn’t that be nice to have some check list? As soon as the last category has a blotch of ink beside it, stick a fork in you because your done! All better.
Hmmm……does it work that way with the rest of human beings? They say in life we are going to feel pain, happiness, loss, joy, sorrow, anger, fear, intimidation, anxiety, and more. When we check all those, does that mean we’ve felt everything there is to feel, so it’s time to meet our maker? That would mean we’d all be dead by the age of two.
So it is with grief. I’ve heard stories of people who have checked every box by month three….and then they can’t figure out why they are still hurting so intensely. Just like we feel happy in ten different ways, anger in twelve, joy in fourteen, and so forth, there is not just a specific time you will deny, or feel anger. We may feel elated because we have moved past one horrible feeling and then we go somewhere, see something, or smell someone walk by and that same ugly feeling attacks us and grabs a hold of our mind and then our heart–because the pain begins again.
Thankfully it doesn’t always last as long, but sometimes it is more intense than even the first go round. The first time we may have been slightly numb because of overwhelming decisions that had to be made RIGHT AWAY–setting the feelings aside to deal with later. You walk away, glance at them on occasion, then when you are far enough that you don’t see them, you cross it off the “check list.” NOT. Those things, the feelings you thought you escaped, were just on “pause”. They will coming running when you least expect it and when you are convinced you have put them behind you.
I know that is hard for the people around us because as soon as they think everything is back to normal, CRASH, the bottom falls out and we are back to square one. Stink. Again, the second time around will more than likely be shorter, so please be patient with us. If you think it’s hard on you, just imagine what’s going in OUR heads. Yuck.
Why am I sharing this with you? I would love to not know any of this. I would have been happy sitting beside and supporting someone going through this. I would have sat quietly, actively listening, squeezing a hand and offering a hug. That was not the plan God had for me.
Hugs…..oh…. . Today Martha from work came up to me and talked about my “situation.” We talked and she shared that they were praying for me and then she gave me a hug and told me she loved me. Earlier Ellen had come in to check on me. I had started to leak and she crouched down and hugged me when I told her I didn’t know how to thank everyone at Heartfelt for how much they have sacrificed for Taylor and me.
Yesterday it was Emma Lou who comforted the broken-hearted.
Wow, you know what I realized today? Up to when I went to California I had at least one hug everyday from Archie. The morning I got back we were in the hospital, where he started chemo. Chemo made his skin super sensitive and any touch hurt…..so much for hugs. Three days before he died, sitting on the edge of the bed, he stretched his arms out to give me a hug. I ask,”Are you sure? Isn’t this going to hurt?” He smiled from ear to ear and said,”It’s ok.” We hugged–ever so carefully–and he thanked me for everything I was doing for him. That was the last hug I ever received from him.
I’ve probably written about this before….but it came up again when I received a loving hug from Martha, Ellen and Emma Lou. Taylor is NOT a hugger. She did a wonderful job at the viewing and funeral as the majority of people that came, were. When she got home she immediately showered. Not that she felt she had germs or “cooties,” she needed to take off the uncomfortable and put back on herself–complete with her “bubble” properly back in place. She is awesome, just the way she is.
James 4:8a”8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Sometimes through the hugs of tiny ladies with big tear-filled eyes who tell you they love you.
Those were my thoughts for today.