It’s Good Friday, and today, death and suffering are near and present. Easter’s joy, blessing, renewal, and sense of hope are coming, but now we hang out in the pain for a bit.
It may be the time of year or just that I don’t handle holidays well in general any more, but for some reason, my tear ducts have gotten turned on lately and I can’t seem to turn them off. Thoughts of grief are resonating loudly. Not looking to be a downer by any stretch, but if someone out there is feeling similar things, I just wanted to take the next couple of minutes and hold your hand, if you will. Thanks for being here.
I honor and revere Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for paving the way so smartly about how grief comes in different stages. She nailed it; I have all of the denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I just wish there was some hopeful order about them. I would give my left arm if my grief could be gloriously linear so I could know what was coming next.
I find my grief comes in unpredictable waves. Some days I feel almost fine, and then it’s like I’m hit by a ton of angry bricks. I will see a picture of my mother and start cursing her out, cursing her for leaving us and leaving this legacy in this life.
Some days I am just angry in general. Angry with an unspecified fury that her death even had to happen at all. This is when it’s cool; I am filled with a capable rage that invigorates and fulfills. Throw the most skilled fighters my way and I could take them on rage alone. I am powerful; I am raging and it feels freakin’ awesome. Game on!
And then sometimes I crash. I crash in a ball of tears that feels so empty, so sad. There was a moment last week when I was sitting on the couch, watching a silly PBS show with my kids, and for some reason, the sadness just engulfed me. Who knew Super Why! could be so traumatic? I felt dizzy with pain. Could I even breathe any more? I just missed her so darn much.
I have realized that no one else on this earth can ever cheer-lead as well as a mother, albeit with all of her reasonable faults and imperfections. My heart aches that my children will never know this unconditional love of their grandmother. No one else is going to “get it” either. My husband is a wonderful man, but it wasn’t his mother who died, and he is human. He can’t possibly feel or remember the pain I carry each day. He will ask how my day was and I just say “fine” because how can you really put the random blinding moments of poignancy into words?
Once in a while, I feel normal. I feel real, and this life seems a possible thing to participate in. Getting back on my feet hasn’t been easy, and to be honest, hasn’t happened yet, but these moments of acceptance give hope. Things don’t hurt so much and beautiful things can be on the horizon.
This is where it’s at, my friends. These precious slices of hopefulness are what keeps us going. They are what will someday become our every day. In the meantime, we pray, and we thank God for loving us enough to die for us; surely if He did that, He can carry us through this earthly grief too. When it’s bad, it will get better. He loves us so much and Easter is coming. I carry on with this promise.
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