Grieving and Grateful | #MyFridayStory №261

Elijah O’Donnell | Pexels

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

~ Job 1:21

Life is cruel. If you’ve lived the life of an average adult in this world, you’ve experienced tragedy and heartbreak. If you’ve escaped such misfortune, count yourself among the few. For the rest of us, the realities of life often hit us head-on and without warning. You can think you’ll be prepared and contemplative at such times, but you are a human with feelings and emotions. Those feelings and emotions often take preference, especially in the face of death.

Dealing with grief and the anguish of the loss of someone we love is complex and confusing. There is often no way of making sense of death, especially the death of a baby. The anguish of a parent who has lost a child must feel unbearable. There is no space for reasoning or explaining why. Just an overwhelming feeling of grief. A feeling of utter loss. The uselessness of it all.

Responding with anger can make sense.

I had a little sister who died before her first birthday. My Mom was 8 months pregnant with my oldest Sister and my older Brother was only 3. By the time I arrived 7 years later, her death was never discussed. Not for a fear of raising a sensitive subject but rather because her death had been processed and parked in their memories. It was only when I was older that I asked my Parents about her life and sudden death. I could sense their deep sadness when recounting the day of her passing.

I can remember for a long time not understanding how my Parents ever got over her death. By the time I had my own kids, I shuddered to even contemplate the thought of losing a child. My sense of bewilderment continued until I became a grandparent. I started to understand how my Parents were able to remain grounded and balanced after such a tragic event.

They could process death because they embraced it.

As a child of God, you understand that life and death are united in an eternal embrace, and one is not the end of the other. They knew that God did not intend for her passing to signify His anger or displeasure at them, it was a beautiful new beginning for her.

As a grandparent, you learn to trust life because you’ve seen a lot of it. We’ve learned in life that who we are now is not the final stage, and this life isn’t either. As Richard Rohr said of being a grandparent. “I cannot imagine a true grand father or grand mother who is not a contemplative in some form. And contemplatives are individuals who live in and return to the centre within themselves, and yet they know that they are not the Centre. They are only a part, but a gracious and grateful part at that.”

My good friend and mentor checked in on me after the recent sudden death of my baby Granddaughter. I said I was struggling to process and approach the grief appropriately. His response was vintage.

“There is no way other than the way.”

The title of today’s #MyFridayStory is from an Our Daily Bread post of this past Wednesday. I found it to be pertinent. Discovering how to be grateful while grieving is not easy. Being in touch with your mortality and knowing this life is not the end is the start of that discovery.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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