As I woke this morning I realised that I am walking through a season of grief. In the last few months I’ve faced multiple departures of friends and family from my life. Each exodus has looked a little different but the emotional process is similar.
In April I said farewell to a great friend from work as she moved south with her husband’s new job. In May God mercifully took my Grandpa home. In October my friend Paul also went to heaven and my Nanna came very close. A week later I said good-bye to a good friend who went home to the US and farewell to 4 of my sponsor children. Then I grieved the loss of dreams as I watch others receive gifts I would have expected to have in my own life by now. And today I am processing saying good-bye to another friend and colleague as he is goes off to pursue the passion God has placed in his heart.
I discovered the art of grieving a few years back when doing temporary jobs. At the end of each job I would experience some level of grieving. For a one week placement the sadness may only be a minute or two as I realised I would never be in this place again. For a year’s placement it may take a few hours as I processed the realisation the friendships I had made were over and the comfortable desk space I’d created for myself would never be seen again.
While it was strange to realise that we can grieve even the smallest thing, it was a very useful learning tool. I’m grateful for the lesson.
It has helped me to identify the emotional process of mourning that I personally journey through, because for each of us it is a similar but unique journey. It has given me the courage to allow myself to be sad in saying good-bye, to have the confidence to cry when I need to, and to shake off the feelings when it really isn’t a big deal.
I’ve also learnt that it’s ok to be sad for myself and ecstatic for them, all in the same moment. I can rejoice with the person who is going to a better place, while processing my grief privately so I don’t dampen their joy.
I’ve learnt to draw comfort and strength from Christ Jesus who was “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Is 53: 3). That grief is a part of life and sadness is necessary. And importantly, that it is better to care and cry than to not care at all.
I’ve learnt that grief can put life on pause but it should never cause the stop button to be pressed. In being overwhelmed by multiple types of grief in one week I discovered my personal grief processing limit and how necessary it can be to press pause.
As I walk through this season of grief, I know that it is only a season. Like all seasons it will end. And like all seasons it will return again in the right time. I know that in the next season of grief that I face, the lessons I learn this time will help me walk that valley of sorrow better instead of bitter.
So today I thank God for this season of grief and His grace as He walks with me through it.
What lessons have you learnt through the seasons of grief you have faced? Please share them with us in the comments below.