After spending the last six and a half months walking through the valley of grief, I need to give a shout out to my cheering section. There are days when life seems to be pretty normal. There are days when hiccups hit me out of nowhere and make me lose my balance. Or there are days when huge waves of grief return to crash on my shores and I’m left soaking wet and feeling lost.
Since the first moments of my nightmare I have not been alone. Yes, I know that God was here. I know without any doubt Jesus walked that dark day with me. But He also sent me others, so many others.
As the weeks and months passed, there have been many who have promised me they are not going anywhere. And they didn’t. That’s an incredible credit to the people I have chosen as friends and the family God gave me. Many people dealing with grief seem to sense that everyone in their support circles vanishes after a few months. I’ve heard of those who feel an expectation to just let it go already, hasn’t it been long enough?
I have received none of that from anyone but myself.
One of my biggest cheerleaders in this process started cheering me on 20 years ago. Kraig said he saw in me the strength he wanted in a wife. His greatest fear was that he would die, leaving his wife and children as his own father had. He wanted to be wise and choose a wife with the strength to keep going, keep living. I am and I will.
The Bible paints a picture in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 12 that has always made me smile. “For we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses….” The image of the giants of the faith and loved ones who have gone before encouraging us to keep going, cheering us on in our faith, is one that makes me smile. But I think I’m also blessed with my own cloud of witnesses here, now, as I have struggled to tackle the unexpected and keep moving forward.
When those bumps in the journey have arisen, I have been blessed with some of the most encouraging words from several friends and family. Words like:
You are doing amazing!
There is nothing wrong at all with how you are handling this.
Now (months later) is when you need us to still be here.
You are not alone. What can I do?
Of course you can always call me/text me.
I’m so proud of you.
That last one is my favorite. I guess the pat on the back in those words is sometimes all I need to keep moving forward. When I have no idea if I’m making the right parenting decision, I sometimes need to hear that it’s OK. When I’m having a good day but one of my kids gets hit by grief, I need to know I can call someone or text someone and tell them this stinks without being a burden. When I start feeling as if I am a burden to my friends because it’s a bad day, I need to hear this is in my head. I am not forgotten.
I do not spend my days wallowing in a dark room. I do not spend my time lost in grief and unable to function. That’s not the woman my husband married. That’s not the mother my kids deserve. Maybe that’s why it’s easier for my friends to be here and cheer me on. I’m not lost in a morose world looking for others to pull in. I spend my days asking God to lead my steps and making sure I’m still taking steps forward. When grief hits, I let it but only for a while. It does not own me. It is my temporary traveling companion and once it has done its work to help me heal, I will send it on its way. But it does not determine where I go. It is along for this small portion of my journey as I follow Jesus.
So thanks to my cheerleaders. And if you aren’t one of mine and you are reading this, be one for someone else going through grief. Give them time to mourn and encouragement to keep attempting to live life at the same time. Help them find the joy in the everyday and let them weep when they must.
Blessed are the cheerleaders for they are being used by God to help me keep moving forward.