We all feel it, we all experience it, we all find a way to deal with it. Some seem to glide through while others seem to get stuck in quicksand. But no one gets to avoid it. Grief is something we all encounter at some point in our lives. Someone we love passes away and we are left with a void which cannot be filled. If that is not enough, we can find our grief compounding. Little things which would not have otherwise hurt us much now make a huge impact. Small changes have a much larger meaning. Changing our home or getting new neighbors can throw off the whole dynamic. Larger changes have a much larger impact. Divorces, health problems, children or grandchildren going off to college, or job changes can all pose a greater challenge. They can evoke emotions we are not expecting. To top it all off, dealing with the pandemic layers on our grief in an often unbearable thickness. When we are forced to change our regular habits that order our day, it can feel devastating.
If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. What you are experiencing is normal and expected in times like these. You have lost someone you love. You are trying to figure out what it means to move forward without this person in your life. It can feel like venturing through a strange and unfamiliar land with no map and no clear direction. Anything that you approach can feel even more difficult. It is okay. You are not alone in your journey. This is not unusual. These times may be difficult and unusual, but you do not face this alone.
As you travel this journey of grief, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to grieve. Know that it is okay to be angry about your current situation. It is okay to be mad that things are not normal and that your normal has been balled up and thrown in the trash can. It is okay to feel lost and not know where the next step will take you. Don’t try to move too fast through the journey – it isn’t helpful. Don’t worry about other people’s timeline. It doesn’t matter what a family member did when she lost her spouse. It doesn’t have any impact how quickly he was getting out and doing things after losing his loved one. You are not them. They are not you. You are traveling this journey in your time and in your way. Other people’s journey and timeline does not impact you. You are okay. Go at your pace. Find your rhythm.
On this grief journey, it is helpful to stay tuned to the goodness that is around. There are small yet powerful ways that God speaks to us in our grief. It may be the song of a bird that reminds us of our loved one. It may be a sunrise or a gentle breeze. It may be the sound of rain on our roof or the majestic thunder that awakens us to life. There are so many subtle but powerful ways that God is reminding us that we are not forgotten. We are not alone. We do not travel this journey without God by our side.
For me, most importantly, know that God is with you through it all. He does not adhere to social distancing. He speaks to us when we cannot hear any other. He has ways of reaching out to us when we don’t know where else to turn. I pray you feel his presence today. I pray he fills you with his love and reminds you of just how precious you are. And I pray he brings you peace on your journey – if just for a moment.