This is an old post I wrote in early 2020 and wanted to share here.
As I sit here reading about someone working through the grief of losing a parent, I (naturally) compare that of mine to someone else’s.
“At least I still have both my parents. Gosh, and I thought I had it bad. I should stop being so immature.”
Those thoughts aren’t wrong, per say. It’s unfortunate that it’s often in the most dire circumstances when life meets death that we’re compelled to re-evaluate the problems we create in our lives. But at the same time I realize that it’s this way of thinking that delayed my healing for so long. It was this mentality of be strong that caused me to wrestle with my grief for so long. Some battles within us are better defeated by letting them take their course and pass on, than resisting them with whatever strength we’ve got left in us. You’re fighting yourself, quite literally. And the stronger you are, the more of a battle you’ll put up.
Fortunately, we’re living through a time where mental and emotional health, coping strategies, are coming to the forefront. We’ve learned that emotions, including grief, must pass through the body in it’s entirety for us to healthily move on. We need time to let it out (cry it out!), so we don’t go on carrying it around! Seems pretty straightforward when it’s laid out like that. Maybe that’s why in the Bible, they had a period to grieve and then move on. I always found that weird.
But honestly, who wants to face that scary, sad, and sometimes angry part within themselves? Not to mention, the process also often feels lonely because it’s something we need to do and no one can do it for us. That doesn’t mean we have to do it alone.
There is no one way to do it, or handbook on how to be the healthiest version of yourself to live the best life. What may take a toll on one person may be negligible for another. The important part is that we do the work, whatever it may be.
For me personally, I could see there was something that needed working on when all my intimate relationships were failing (and if this doesn’t raise a big warning — they failed in a similar pattern). In addition, there were things I let define me that were buried inside me. When any words around the topic reached my lips, my voice would choke up and tears would fill my eyes.
Walking into that part of your emotions, thoughts, memories aren’t easy. It’s not fun. But even in the darkness, remember we’re not alone. The night is always darkest before the dawn.
As I’m writing that last sentence, this verse comes to mind “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” Psalm 23.
King David spoke about an actual valley, but who’s to say that this shadow valley can’t also be a valley we have to face within?
So, here’s to welcoming grief, embracing him or her with open arms. And like any house guest, letting them know when it’s time to go!