This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"I Thought You Would’ve Gotten Past that by Now"

There are still days I struggle with baggage over my mother’s death. There was much left undone, unsaid, unacknowledged. Because that was how she wanted it. Her passing left behind things that had been hidden or glossed over for many, many years. Don’t get me wrong. She was a great lady who made a difference in many lives. But she (as are we) was human.

Sometimes I think I should have one big blow-out melt-down and be done with it. That that would wipe the slate clean and I could move on. The converse thought is that if I allow the melt-down I might never climb out of the pit.

One of my IRL friends has shared that she was surprised I was still not “over” my mother’s death. I guess it is coming up on seven months now. Mom had been sick for over three years and in this friend’s opinion I should be moving forward. As in done with it.

The problem with losing a loved one (or having any other large life trauma, like divorce, major health issue or job loss) is that it is your sorrow and not someone else’s. Life does march on and we have to keep marching or get left far behind. Our society we doesn’t dwell on the past much and our own lives are so complicated it is hard to remember the thorns someone else is trying to remove from their heart. We’re past it, we aren’t thinking about it, so it comes as a surprise that our (possibly close) friend is still struggling. We’re encouraged as a society to put a good face on it and this too shall pass.

My friend surprised me with her attitude because she is someone who others turn to for advice. But she is not a Christian and would never consider Christian wisdom a viable thought when addressing needs. So I suppose that plays into it. And since I’ve known her for over a third of my life and it’s not really a new thing about her, I’m surprised I’m surprised. But it caught me off guard. She’s a good person with some good qualities, but with very defined and rigid ideas of how things should be.

I think I am moving forward, but apparently not at the pace my friend would like. I have some really good “normal” days. And then I have some others. It’s only been in the last month or so I was able to start sorting photos to scan and many items my father gave me were left in boxes until I could face them. I tried, probably to early, to address some of this before and just wasn’t able. But with time and faith and a loving God time will move on and I will too.

17 comments:

DebD said...

The problem with losing a loved one is that it is your sorrow and not someone else’s.

I think that is the most important thing to remember. Take you own time, my friend.

Hugs and prayers.

luvmy4sons said...

Sometimes I think that it is the uncomfortableness of having your friend still grieve that makes another think you should move on. They don't know what to do with it. They think they are encouraging you when actually they are just wanting to alleviate themselves. As an ex-nurse we were often told that everyone grieves differently. And there is NEVER a set time for which to complete the process, for some it is always a scar that can unfold in certain moments. God will heal it all though in heaven. I know He will reach in and minister to you. 7 months is not very long at all!

Donna said...

People heal and grieve at different paces. You're not any different than most.

Barbara H. said...

I don't think anyone would be "over" the death of anyone close to them in seven months -- in some ways I don't know if you ever get over it. My mom passed away over two years ago, and though I don't get teary as often as I did, there are days I still ache with missing her and long to be able talk with or share an experience with her.

For me it has not been a steadily increasing healing but rather as you said -- better some days -- most days -- but still having some really sad days.

Coach J said...

I'm sorry these words hit you square in the face from your friend. I know a guy who told people that exact thing, until he experienced the death of a very close friend. It took him being there to see what grief actually does in a life.
If I were there, I'd hug you and sit with you and cry with you or laugh with you. Just know, you do have support for however long this takes you.

annie said...

I've had friends say things to me that "sting"... it's tough. I pray God continues to heal your heart.

Wendy said...

Grief is not a linear experience; there are stages of grief, but you don't necessarily go from A to B to C, etc. Grief also has a tendency to sucker-punch you with things you thought you had already come to terms with, and it leaves you wondering if you'll ever be completely "back to normal" again. I think the answer to that, frankly, is no. This is a quote I hold onto when I'm grieving: "Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute .... It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he does not fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German pastor & theologian martyred by the Nazis). Sometimes that "empty gap" and the memories that go along with it will be a comfort and sometimes it will leave you aching. But as Christians we have hope. I don't think I could face grief without hope.

Renee' said...

Julie,

We live in an age where everything is "instant." Grief is not like that and it truly has a life all of it's on. It can't be rushed. It can be driven deep down, attempted to be forgotten but it won't go away untill it's ready. If it is rushed, ignored or pushed aside - it will resurface later at the least expected time.

Your grief is your own and there is no specific time frame, no guidelines. Follow your own path and be gentle with yourself. You really are moving forward even when you feel you may have more bad days than good.

Grief really is a process that is ALL about the process- each of us finding our own ways of coming to grips with the loss of a dearly loved one and letting them go while finding balance with keeping them in our hearts and our memories. That takes time.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Jenileigh said...

((((((BIG HUGE HUGS FOR YOU))))))))

I am so sorry that you are in pain. I pray the Lord wrap His loving strong yet gentle arms around you and comfort you in a depth that only He can. I pray for your friend and that the Lord find a way to reach deep within her heart and stir it to a brewing warmth for Him.

It's ok to grieve. It's ok to not be over it. Take your time. This too shall pass but in His time not ours.

Much love.

Joyful Days said...

I am so grateful for all of your kindness & comments.

Thank you, dear friends.

Julie

Jennifer said...

Julie...Sending hugs of understanding...((((((hugs)))))

It was 18 months after my dad died before I felt anywhere near normal. At that point things got *better* rather suddenly, and they have been ever since. I still miss him terribly, and I still have occasional days when I grieve more deeply, but for the most part, we've adjusted to a *new normal*. But it was a very long, hard road to get there.

I was really blessed to have some really wonderful IRL friends (and my precious hubby) who were completely supportive during that time and did *not* make me feel like there was something *wrong* because I wasn't *over it* yet. But there were others in my life who made it clear that they felt that I should have been *over it* much sooner. As someone else said, you don't ever get completely *over it*. But you do adjust, and settle into that *new normal*.

Wish I were there to listen and share a hug!

Jen

Leah in Iowa said...

I agree with you completely, Julie! Thanks for sharing this post.

Heidi @ GGIP said...

Thank you for sharing.

freetofly said...

Julie, I encourage you to be as gentle with yourself as I KNOW you would be with any of us!

Grief is much like joy, it can't be contained, it is made to spill out a little. And we (hope) to help each other bear up, or at least to get back up, after a sudden crumpling...Crumple when you need to. We will pray for you to remember the good and be able to put to rest what ever hurts need putting to rest.

I agree with Leslie, that people who rush us in the process, are merely trying to make themselves more comfortable..because they just don't know what to do.

I am often amazed at the rigidity of people who do not have faith in Christ. And also pleasantly amazed at the expansiveness of what faith in Christ provides us...much room, much room to grow!

Sonya said...

It's funny you posted this because I'm having some of the same feelings, only more like your friend. My BIL passed away four weeks ago. His house sits, needed to be put on the market and cleaned out. No one has budged an inch to do that. My in-laws said we'd start last week. It never happened. I keep hoping they'll call and say they're ready to go get to work. I think the reason I'm so ready to get it done is that I need that in order to find real closure and grieve. Is that strange? I mean, it needs to be done because we can't afford to make the house payment on a house that no one lives in. I think I'm learning that people grieve in different ways and at their own pace. For some, it goes on for a long time. Others find ways to "work" some of the grief out.

Hang in there. I understand your feelings and it's hard when other people think you should be moving on. It's devastating to lose someone you love. It takes time. I'll be praying for you today, hoping that you can move forward and that the grief will turn to joy soon!

Alana said...

What they all said....

When we had death in our family, it took seven or eight years before things were better. Hang in there, and let yourself have as much time as you need to grieve.

sheryl said...

I know this is an older post (obviously I'm waaaaay behind on catching up w/my blogging buddies), but just wanted to comment on this. Grief is such a mysterious emotion in so many ways...I didn't really grieve about my grandfather's passing immediately...not like my siblings...but this past year w/so much upheaval in our lives, I've missed him so much...missed the wisdom and stability and comfort I know he would have had to offer.
I don't think any of us can tell another when "it's been long enough" or "you need to move on".
(((HUGS))) dear friend!