This week marks another year gone by. Another anniversary marking the loss of Gerry, Dawn, Stephen, and Michael, and the dreams of what might have been. I have been blessed beyond measure in the years after their deaths, but the pain of their loss never leaves the corner of my heart where it has settled for all time. No one of us escapes the loss of loved ones. No one of us escapes the grief and sorrow of our losses. Yet, we can learn to live through our loss. We can learn to pick up the pieces and move forward. How? In Thessalonians, Paul tell us:
“…dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died,so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died.” (1 Thess 4:13-14 NLT)
Our hope in Christ allows us to live through our loss. God places people and circumstances in our life to encourage and guide us along the way. Other’s experiences that reflect our own can reassure us and soften the loneliness of our grief. This anniversary I would like to share with you some excerpts from C S Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed along with my commentary. I found great solace in his work and I hope it will resonate with you.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” CSL
To me it was a relentless fear that something terrible was about to happen, yet, it already had.
“There is an invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says.” CSL
Listening, it was as if people were speaking in a foreign language. My brain could not process what was being said. I would just stare blankly.
“I see the rowan berries reddening and don’t know for a moment why they, of all things should be so depressing.” CSL
Sights, words, songs, places, smells are just a few of the things that remind us of our loved ones and trigger our grief. This often happens when we least expect it.
“Tonight, all the hells of young grief have opened again. The mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed in tears…Am I going in circles?” CSL
Grieving draws us into a dizzying spiral where we are not sure if we are going up or down. Just when we think we are having a good day, it can turn into the worst one ever.
In time, “the face of nature was not emptied of its beauty and the world didn’t look like a mean street.” CSL
In the midst of grief, the world looks flat and everything is washed in a lifeless gray. It seems like we will never see color again. But, God, heals those who have a broken heart. (Ps. 147:3)
Slowly, the colors of the rainbow emerge in our healing. The skies are blue again, the grass is green and we are affirmed of God’s faithful presence in our life.