Grief- we all experience it at one time or another. Grief can be deep or it can be shallow. It’s sting can stay a short while or it may last for a lifetime. Some try to run from it by pretending it doesn’t exist. Some hold onto it and dwell in it until their identity is lost in it. Grief can come on us suddenly- a freight train. Grief can come slowly with continuous stings over a long period of time- the slow removal of a band-aid from tender skin.
Grief is a wound that can heal over time but will always leave a scar. The deeper the wound, the more time it takes to heal. The more time it takes to heal, the more sensitive the scar. One touch can bring back deep pain instantly and empathy for other’s grief becomes deeper.
No two people will have the same grief timeline. No two people will even have the same response to it. The process for each of us is different. Some process grief through verbal communication with others. Some through music and art. Other’s need God’s words continuously poured over them. A combination of all of the above mentioned and journalling seems to work best for me.
Grief can come at different times too, not just in death. The parting of friends, the split of a church, the emptying of a nest, the loss of a job – all reasons to allow in grief.
There are many things we ought not embrace-irrational fear, self-loathing, uncontrolled anger- but grief is not one of them. By embrace I don’t mean to dwell in. I mean grab hold of and let it take place. Let it’s sting burn for a time. Let the tears come and release sorrow. To fight against it will cause an infected wound. A wound that will take longer to heal. Or even worse, never heal.
A Time for It
I’ve experienced deep, deep grief after the sudden passing of my father in 2002. Hit by a freight train is a decent description of how I felt physically and emotionally. My heart was left mangled and my mind numb. It was also the beginning of the deepening of my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
There are no words to describe how God’s love poured over me at that time. But, I can tell you this- as deep as the grief went, so also was He. He met me right where I was and breathed air into my lungs when I could not. It was a painfully sweet time.
It was the death of my father that began my relationship with grief. I say relationship only because grief comes and goes like an old traveling friend. He comes for a visit to remind me of my humanity, of my dependance on my Savior and Comforter, and of my empathy for others.
So, from time to time Grief will visit me. I’ve learned to let him in and let him make his stay. I give him a hug and tell him he can stay for a while. Then, the Lord reassures me he won’t stay for long and that Grief’s purpose belongs to Himself. He urges me to embrace Grief because it will speed along his departure.
Letting Grief in. Saying Goodbye to Captain.
Our beloved old buckskin gelding, Captain Jack Sparrow, had to be put down this past Tuesday. We decided this some months ago when we realized his quality of life was diminishing quickly. His old body was just giving out on him.
We had him from the time he was about 20 until 30 something years old. We never knew his exact age but the vet thought he was between 20-22 years old when we first purchased him. We bought him when our oldest daughter, now 21, was 12 years old. The lady we bought him from really loved him but just didn’t have the time for him anymore. She painted a picture of him and gave it to us along with some of his tack. I remember telling her he would stay with us until the end of his life.I’m glad we were able to keep our promise.
Captain was a great first horse for both our daughters. He had enough spunk for an old horse to make him a little challenging but at the same time completely safe. He was a “been there, done that” kind of horse. He had no spook in him whatsoever but he did develop an extreme fondness for our mare, Diamond after a while. He despised being separated from her.
I was pregnant with our youngest daugher at the time we brought Captain to our home. She’s known him since she was a baby. I remember putting her on his back when she was barely sitting up. Captain taught both of our girls how to ride and care for horses. Our son also enjoyed riding him from time to time.
Saying goodbye to Captain is like saying goodbye to a part of my children’s childhood. Captain will forever hold a special place in my heart not just because he was a great animal but also because he helped make fond memories for my children and myself.
Goodbye Captain. Welcome, Grief.