Last night I wrestled with grief, yet again. It was a rocky weekend for unexpected reasons. Writing helps me work through my grief, my process, my faith. I finished a blog that was, in my humble opinion, pretty well written. But I did not post it.
I thought, I’m tired of writing about grief! I’m sure my friends are tired of reading about it. I’m not sure I should post this. I know that this is what I’m walking right now and writing honestly about what you know is the most powerful form of personal story. But wrestling with grief is exhausting. It’s heavy and it saps your energy. I want to write about funny or sweet again. I want to shake grief off my shoulders like an ugly coat. I want to write about sunshine and unicorns and butterflies. OK, maybe not that last sentence.
I started today trying to shake the heaviness of feeling low by exercising and going to coffee with a friend. I shared with her why I hadn’t posted what I’d written. She agreed this must be exhausting. It’s exhausting for her just walking next to me and helping me through this. She wasn’t complaining but she understood.
And then God sent me a reminder of why I’m still writing about my process of grief. It came in the form of a Facebook message from a stranger. Tears filled my eyes as a woman in Florida whom I’ve never met but who teaches my niece and nephew sent me a note of encouragement.
“…I have kinda kept up with your story because of your sisters. I started reading your blog just because they had shared it with me and I was interested. I have laughed, cried, and ran the gamut of emotions. Your way with words and total honesty had me floored from the beginning. I have learned a lot about the grieving process through you. Funny how God gives us what we need before we even know we need it. Exactly 2 weeks ago, my sister received the devastating news that her husband was killed on the job out of town. I went into immediate action & drove the 3 hours to be with her. We traveled to North Carolina to retrieve his belongings and I talked about your blog along the way. Because of you I knew some things to say (& not to say) and knew how to help her with the terrible tasks that needed to be tended to. I have shared your blog with her & I know it will begin to help her heal…little by little. I just wanted you to know I appreciate you & wanted you to know YOU are making a difference.”
Oh how I needed that today. And as I finished reading it I was reminded of the other people who have told me they know someone I don’t who is following my blog. There’s the friend in Michigan who asked my advice on what NOT to say to a friend suffering loss. There’s my late-husband’s cousin in Indiana who is reading it, I’ve heard, as she struggles through a different kind of loss. The tears could not be contained but now they were accompanied by a smile.
I share her note not to brag about my abilities but to point to a God who brings us what we need, when we need it. I was feeling this might be pointless. I was feeling my words might be, well, actually, annoying. God whispered today a reminder into my heart that He is using my pain to help others. That has been the cry of my heart from the start. If I cannot use what I’ve gone through to show others how faithful He is, what is the point? If I cannot show that Jesus runs to the brokenhearted, then this struggle is meaningless.
So I guess I might post what I wrote last night. Because somewhere there is at least one mom struggling to deal with the sudden loss of her husband as she shepherds little hearts. Maybe she needs to hear what she’s feeling is normal and there is hope. Maybe she needs to hear from another mom that this will start to get better but that it takes time. Maybe she needs to hear that Jesus loves her and is willing to walk through this with her.
Oh that God would continue to use my words to help others dealing with grief. That makes it a little more bearable. That lightens my load.