December looms over me like a dark heavy cloud. I know it's so early in the process of grieving a loved one, but I find myself wondering, Does this ever end? But I don't think it does. It changes, ebbs and flows, life grows and continues, but grief and sorrow remain. Like Jerry Sittser said, the death of a spouse (or other loved one), catastrophic loss as he calls it, is by definition without hope of recovery. It is not a broken limb that can be fixed. It is an amputation, a limb cut off, never to grow back again.
Today, I also find myself wondering, Can I allow my soul to grow through this month of December? Can I embrace and endure this pain in a healthy way, so my soul is bigger, stronger, and healthier on the other side? I suppose all things are possible. But I cannot do it alone.
I am in a new season. December 2nd marked the close of a sacred season of grief that I will never forget and will never have again. The lingering presence of my beloved husband, his scent, his things, his love... sacredly tended to by a bereaved wife and grieving children. I needed to withdraw, to grieve my husband privately as only a wife could. Though the world around me grieved and lived and carried on, time for me stood still. I sat in the sacredness of my husbands death. I love him so much.
Today, though, I am aware of a shift. I've started longing for my church family and community, anxious to return (however hard it may be)... The numbness and barrenness of shock and trauma have given way to a muddy puddle of wretched tears. My strength, motivated by my love for my children, has diminished into a quivering weakness. I am hurting, wounded, bereaved, and needing to grieve in the presence of others.
And now, here you are :). My church family has waited three months... They patiently and graciously honored my need for space and quiet and reflection... for sacred grief. But now I need you, and you are still here :) Thank you.
There is only one problem with this... I am not easy to help. Oooh my, it was hard to let friends come into my chaotic house today and clean!! I'm embarrassed by my weakness, a total people pleaser, don't enjoy crying and breaking down in front of others, and still very introverted... all of these "qualities" make me a source of trouble for my family and friends :) I am going to struggle in this season. I am going to struggle in my grief (it was way harder than I anticipated decorating our Christmas tree, pulling out nostalgic ornaments, seeing the four Christmas stockings strewn about the floor...), but I am also going to struggle grieving with friends and family... being open and emotionally vulnerable. (Funny that I'd struggle with that after putting some of my most intimate thoughts on the internet...?)
I hear my friend Liz's words to me, Allow the flow, Natasha. Allow the flow. :) And so that is my prayer, that I'll allow the flow, and that God will bring healing in this heavy season of grieving with and leaning on others.