The calendar of grief

I knew it yesterday. I knew it the week before. It was coming, this anniversary, this mark of dread, this day. This is the day my life fell apart, once again. My world shaken, broken, scattered into a million-gazillion pieces. The disbelief and shock remain. They haven’t lessened. In fact, my mom’s absence seems more unreal today than it did three months ago. I still find myself reaching for the phone to call her. I pull up an email and suddenly realize I can’t send it. Daily, I catch myself thinking, “I need to tell mom that.” I think of a thousand things I would have told my mom these past three months. My heart aches. I cry.

Mom and Dean’s wedding, May 2017

Some of my siblings are wondering how they’re going to get through today. They don’t want to be at work. They witness the “normal” other people have and are certain that, though they’re going through the motions, looking normal, they will never be “normal” again. They now know what all other grieving people know: “Grievers use a very simple calendar. Before and after.” Lynda Cheldelin Fell

griever's calendar

I remind myself that the way to get through today is one second at a time. One minute at a time. I remember that the best way to cope is to stay in the moment. Don’t worry about an hour from now. Don’t think about later today. Don’t replay tonight in your mind. Just take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

I pull all my resources together, and they become my mantra for the day.

“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With God’s help, you’ll get through this.” –Max Lucado

“Lean into your grief.” – Be honest with God about your feelings, your grief, your pain, your emotions. Go to Him with it all.

Find your people, those precious friends and family who “get” it, who allow you to share the raw emotions without judgement.

Repeat God’s word, those verses of truth and comfort. My “go-to” is Isaiah 26:3 (KJV), “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Turn on the praise and worship music. Find the songs that speak to your heart, that say the words you can’t find yourself.

Write, bake, run, walk, read grief books, or watch the movies that make you cry (or laugh). Whatever healthy form of comfort that speaks to you, do it. I told my sister to throw eggs today. Mine are already sitting on the counter ready to go.

I will not deny grief. I will not stifle it. I will not try to circumvent it or try to bury it with alcohol, mindless shopping, or endless work. I will lament. I will bring it to Jesus. I will be honest. I will continue to trust God even if I can’t see Him. Because He is trustworthy. He is good. He is faithful. I will praise Him through my fear and doubt. I will find things to be thankful for, but more than that, I will thank Him for His character, for His sovereignty, for His word. I will speak Truth to myself even if I don’t believe it. Because Truth isn’t a feeling. It’s a PERSON. And that person is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Like my mom, I choose life. I choose truth. I choose to go the way of Christ.

3 months. It doesn’t seem possible. Part of my mind still refuses to believe my mom is gone. I may go outside and scream when I throw eggs. And that’s okay. I know that God understands. I know that He grieves with me, for me. I know that He holds me, holds my sisters and brothers. I know that He will bind up this wound if I let Him, if I don’t shove away His hand of healing. I know that if I choose faith, hope, and love instead of bitterness, discouragement, and despair, my mom would be proud, and God will be glorified.




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