Good grief? Is that even a thing? I found out the hard way that grief is a natural, human response to pain. Learn to sit with your grief.
This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!
Living in a Dark Place
“Mama,” Sarah whispered, so close I almost bonked heads with her when I woke up. “What’s for breakfast?”
Breakfast? Oh, yeah. Saturday morning and I’d let myself sleep in an hour. “What time is it, sweetie?” I asked.
“Ten o’clock,” she answered.
“My!” I exclaimed. “I really slept in! I’ll get up in a minute and make some pancakes.”
“We haven’t had pancakes in forever,” Sarah sighed in contentment while I struggled out from under the covers and reached for my robe. I never slept in.
Tomorrow I’d make sure and get up on time—Pedro would return from California in a week, and the whole cancer thing would fade into the distance. I hoped.
But I could seem to shake the fog. I hadn’t cleaned the house in…days? Weeks? Months? I couldn’t remember. Surely, I had gone grocery shopping since July…but I couldn’t remember, and February lurked around the corner. I went to work every day and taught classes, but I lived for a chance to fall into my bed. A real bed, unlike the Naugahyde fold-out chair supplied by the hospital for family visitors.
Obviously, I needed to get my act together. But I couldn’t. Grief kept me tethered. During one of the most joyful, celebratory times of my life, grief wrapped its insidious fingers around me.
So I did what any logical person would do. I strove harder to put on a happy face. When people exclaimed at Pedro’s miracle, I joined in the celebration. I slid further towards the pit of depression.
Chastising myself for my ungrateful feelings of grief when God had obviously bestowed a miracle on our family worked. Sort of. Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed. Years passed.
The Long-Term Effects of Not Taking Time for Grief
“Teachers should move to level three after no more than four years,” the school law professor intoned.
Tears erupted from my eyes, and I quickly tried to brush them away. After all, who wanted to break down in a classroom full of fellow educators? Over seven years had passed since Pedro’s miraculous recovery, and I had taken time during the summer to work on renewing my teaching credential.
The professor’s words triggered an unexpected reaction in me, and for the next week I cried without warning. I journaled furiously, trying to figure out what ailed me. Finally, the pieces fell into place.
For the first time since Pedro’s cancer diagnosis, I had started to express my grief. Grief over missing my girls’ piano recitals. Sadness because I missed our annual Christmas tree hunt. Grief over our changed circumstances and plunge into financial straits due to the ever-mounting costs of cancer.
My health suffered because I didn’t deal with my grief at the time. I gained weight, had mysterious chest pains, and couldn’t handle stress well. All because I didn’t take time for grief.
You can’t choose what grieves you, but you do need to acknowledge your grief. Read the Psalms—they contain some of the most grief-stricken verses in the Bible. David knew how to lament.
Don’t bottle your tears (God will do that for you Psalm 56:8 NLT). Journal your grief. Acknowledge your grief. Ask for healing. We all feel grief differently, and we don’t have to lose someone close to us to feel it.
It can happen over a lost job, a precious possession breaking, a hurting relationship, or myriad other things. Don’t deny it. Allow yourself to experience good grief.Take time for good grief. Your body will thank you. #grief #depression #caregiver Click To Tweet