Good Grief

DSC00193I keep the names and pictures of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School on my desktop, alongside Thomas, Nick and Ryan, each one a friend of ours who died too young. When I look at these names and faces, mostly I think about their families who will always carry the grief of their loss. Some days, like mine yesterday, get hijacked; unexpected issues arise and I stop to think of those whose lives are forever interrupted.

Grief is unique for every person. Grief is not predictable. Grief encompasses a wide range of emotion, including anger. Even the closest family members and friends may not know what to say in the midst of our grief. We will need to forgive people often for comments that don’t seem to make any sense. We may not be able to express our grief to everyone, but it is vital to find a few people to share it with. Sharing our grief with those who have also endured a loss reminds us that we are not alone.

Perhaps most of all, in a culture whose emphasis is happiness, we need to give ourselves permission to grieve. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s thoughts are helpful for me, “When we lose someone we love it is very hard, it is nonsense to say that God fills the gap, rather God leaves it empty so to keep alive our former communion.”

The loss of someone we love is very hard, but grief is good.

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5 thoughts on “Good Grief

  1. thanks, dear Janet, for winnowing such an overwhelming human state of being into such an exquisite ENcouragement.

  2. Hi, Sweetie-Pie ~ You remind me to mention that I have found extremely helpful a new (2012) volume entitled HEALING AFTER LOSS: A Daily Journal for Working Through Grief, by Martha Whitmore Hickman, Peter Pauper Press, c. $13-$16 on line. The lead-in meditations and questions day by day are exceptional, attitude-altering sometimes, companionable. I write for about 10+ minutes at the beginning of my morning Quiet Time. Ms. Hickman also wrote an important book of nearly the same title back in 1996(?), but this is a journal. While it’s not specific to suicide, it’s been general enough to help me, and a review I’ve written will appear in the May issue of “Obelisk”, the monthly publication of L.O.S.S. (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide). If you don’t have it, I would love to send you a copy. RSVP. xxxxoooo Aunt Lynne

  3. I lost my father January of this year. I do miss him terribly yet I rejoice his home going. If you have the time checkout my post One Last Time. This is a very touching and poignant post. Thank You for writing this

    • One Last Time is beautiful. So glad for the grace that surrounded your dad through that time and that you noticed it. I hope your days of grieving are somehow touched by grace as well.

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