I Will Not Look Away This Time

On my way ‘home’ for a funeral. Another one of the dear ladies who shaped me has passed Away. I used to go help her at her house over an incredibly difficult time in my life. I spent most of a day with her. Do stuff for her around her house. Help her walk laps on her porch which surrounded her house. Then she would take me out to eat at the cutest little restaurants. Her smile of delight when I liked the place as much as she did… I won’t soon forget. We would talk. And just have fun. I loved her dearly. She was hope and encouragement when I needed it the most. I will never be able to smell Japanese Cherry Blossom without thinking of her. I am sad I never actually got to introduce my little girl to her. That I didn’t make an effort to go see her on my trips back to the South. I can’t believe she’s gone. It feels like the end of so much… I knew she wouldn’t live forever but I wanted her to. It makes me extremely sad. I know with all my heart that she is with her precious Jesus, exactly where she has wanted to be for so long. I know she is happier than she has ever been before. But I am still sad that she’s gone. 
Grief as a Christian is such a mixture of bitter and sweet. You’re sad that they’re gone, happy they’re with Jesus, delighted that you WILL see them again, but you’re sad again that they’re gone. It feels like a part of your heart has been ripped out
A couple years ago, one of my dearest lady friends died. I did a really bad job of grieving that loss. I avoided it. Decided that my grief didn’t matter and that I didn’t think I had a right to grieve. I felt like I wasn’t close enough to her towards the end of her life. My heart hurt like no body’s business to watch her husband and her children place her in the ground. But it took me such a long time to finally grieve her death. I avoided my grief. And when it finally hit, it was that deep in the middle of the night wake up sobbing sort of devastation and loss. When I was finally able to grieve, I realized something. Grief is terrible and it hurts like nothing else… but it is such a gift. When you avoid it you can never truly come to grips with it. There’s a part of you that’s always exposed and raw. While the pain of her loss will always be there, I still cry cause I miss her and wish I could go to her house and chat like we used to… it’s different. I am realizing that until you let yourself hurt you will never be be at peace. Until you grieve your loss, you will never heal. 
And so… though most people will not understand my deep grief at the loss of this other dear, sweet friend of mine… I am still going to grieve her being gone. I am going to be sad. I loved her. She mattered to me. That’s my right to grieve. And I don’t want to hide from the healing that comes when I allow myself to feel what I am feeling. I won’t hide this time. 

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