I shared last week the happenings in my life and the lives of my children during the month of March: the miscarriage my son and his wife experienced the week before my daughter’s daughter arrived six weeks early.
A little over two months ago, a loss so profound was experienced by two amazing people who I love so deeply, but with whom my history of being me has created a yawning canyon of separation of woundedness and lack of emotional safety.
Yesterday, they each shared their grief, pain, and loss publicly and, whether they intended to or not, with such courageous vulnerability. I don’t pretend to know what they are experiencing. I can’t possibly know. I’m not them and I haven’t experience what they have. What I do know is that we are told to mourn with those who mourn.
The fact is that in the midst of the everyday demands of my life and in the lives of those around me, there has been little time or opportunity to share in their mourning. Truthfully, my heart aches. It aches for the sorrow, grief, pain, and anger they must experience in unexpected times and ways. Feelings so desperately dark that sunshine must scorch their tears and the joy of holding their niece may be turned to ash by the bitterness of their own loss.
Their loss is also my loss. The loss of hope for who their child would become, a grandchild to hold, help nurture, and love in new ways I’ve been learning to love.
Grief and mourning feel isolating. It feels as if part of you had been ripped away, leaving shredded, shattered, broken pieces of yourself scattered on the ground, to be kicked aside and trampled on by everyone around getting through their everyday lives.
A new friend posed the question;
If your child died, how long after would you still choose to celebrate that child’s birthday? My response was however long I needed to acknowledge and honor that child’s presence and impact on me and my life.
No one gets to say when it’s time to be done with grieving. Sorrow, loss, and pain are part of our human experience and little or big things can and will flip the switch and pull the trigger on it at inconvenient times in uncomfortable ways, which may cause us to feel out of sync within our own minds and bodies and out of step with those in the world around us.
The only way to move through it is to experience it in all its discomfort and messiness and to allow those around us to be with us in it.
The only way to handle someone else’s sorrow and grief is to simply give them the room, time, space, and grace to experience it without trying to make their tears stop flowing or telling them they’ll be okay and happy again, in order to feel more at ease and comfortable within yourself.
“Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”