It has been almost ten years since my mama passed away. By far, that was the hardest circumstance in life that I have ever gone through. It’s a hard thing to lose a mama. Mom’s death threw me into a pit of grief that I didn’t think I would ever crawl out of. I wasn’t sure I could claw my way to the surface and see the light of day again. Only my sweet husband realized the depths of my sorrow. He asked if I needed to talk to someone – a pastor, a counselor. And tell them what, exactly? That my heart had been ripped out of my body? That my grief was a literal heart ache?
Dear one, if this is how Christmas finds you, please know you are not alone. May I share with you a few things I learned all those years ago?
ALLOW yourself time to grieve. Oh, I know, I know. Life goes on, the world keeps turning and you only get three days funeral leave. But don’t tamp down those feelings you have. Don’t push them aside. Give yourself time and space to grieve. Visit with your family. Talk about your loved one. Those memories you made together? Remember them! Look through pictures and share your stories. It’s okay to grieve.
KNOW that grief is a long, winding road with many twists and turns, hills and valleys. Many days you won’t be able to see the forest for the trees.
Grief is a slow process. The deeper the love, the deeper the pain. Grief will blindside you when you least expect it. You may be in the grocery store looking at bunches of bananas and suddenly burst into tears. Shoppers around you will give you strange looks, wondering if they should call the EMTs. But the thing is, those bananas reminded you of homemade banana pudding. It tasted just okay, but that banana pudding had cups full of love as the main ingredient. Grief rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. Know this will happen. Know this is normal. And don’t worry about the old man in the produce section who thinks you are a fruitcake. We all know it’s about banana pudding! If tears come, let them flow.
CLING to Jesus. Reach out, grab the hem of His cloak (Luke 8:43-48) and hang on for dear life! Hold on to Jesus with all you’ve got! Read His Word, even though it may not soak into your soul. Read devotions for those who are grieving. Pray, even if you have no words. Groan if you must (Romans 8:26). Grab Jesus and don’t let go! His grace is sufficient. It is a supernatural, enabling grace that will carry you (or drag you) through the darkest days of your life. It really is amazing grace.
Right now, your heart is tender and hurting. But ever so slowly, it will mend. Oh, yes, there will be a scar. Your fingernails will be broken and torn from clawing your way out of the pit. But when you cling to Jesus, you will see Son light again!
Please know I am praying for you, as you navigate this new normal.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
In memory of my sweet sister Honey.