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How to Live with Grief

Grief is a peculiar emotion. Yet, I’ve come to know it’s more than an emotion. It’s a journey.

There are days when this journey leaves me heartbroken. Other days I am able to avoid the tender places, but then I begin to feel guilty that I diverted my attention—that I didn’t let myself think about James that day.

The thing is, they still go hand and hand. Maybe one day I’ll be able to think about him and not get upset. But for now, it’s just not the case. Especially if I’m alone.

Grief is like a messy room in my house. I can close the door and choose not to enter, thus ignoring the mess inside. But the room is always there, and I know what awaits me when I open the door.

I move past the James room everyday. Just the mention of his name brings me right to the threshold of this room of grief. I brush past the door with a mental nod. I acknowledge its presence and move on.

I don’t have time to open the door. Not now. I can’t do this right now.

Because I know what awaits me, and it’s not simply a room filled with messy clothes. It’s a space full with the mess of my emotions.

When it’s quiet and I’m alone, I open the door. Sometimes I don’t even mean to, it just happens. I simply stand in the doorway and the memories wash over me like a flooding wave. His voice. Mad Libs at Christmas. Settlers. Laughter. The last hug. Seeing him in that casket, cold and lifeless. I’m unable to remember the good times without the inevitable ending. To experience the good memories, the pain must be experienced with it.

Presently, as I write this, I’m in the room. The grief is fresh once again. The loss is real. It hurts, and, as long as I sit here on the floor of this grief room, it will hurt. I have to get up off the floor and shut the door.

It’s just easier right now to stay out of the room. It doesn’t mean I don’t love James. I haven’t forgotten about him. I just can’t function while face down in my tears.

I just can’t.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'”

I’m thankful that God is with me. He dwells within my heart as my Comforter and Strength. He wipes every tear from my eyes and records every sorrow (Psalm 56:8). He is present in every part of my life.

Even the grief room.

Do you have a grief room? Have you experienced the comfort of His presence?

3 replies
  1. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hello Katie,
    My big brother died suddenly 23 years ago at the age of 40. I loved him very much. I have a beautiful picture of him holding my my now-24-year-old daughter – she took her first steps at his funeral. I wish he could see her now. I wish she could have gotten to know him.
    For years I could not keep a picture of him out in view because it would immediately open that door to the Grief Room. The worst time was at night when I would lay my head down on my pillow and stop the diversions and start weeping. It’s gotten better. I can look at his picture now. It gets a little easier, slowly. I don’t have the comfort of knowing if I will see him again ( I don’t know where he is) but I know that God is in charge of that, not me, and that comforts me.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Heather,

      I can already see how some things have become easier. In so many ways it still doesn’t seem real. I’ve heard that with sudden death, that is often the case.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  2. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    Oh, sweet friend. Just reading this today. You’ve been heavy in my thoughts this week, now I know why. Praying. Love you.

    Reply

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