“The pain never really goes away,” said most of the people I know who have lost a loved one, moreso those who have lost a child. A good percentage of you stumble upon my site looking for encouragement through a trying time in life, particularly through a season of grief. So, does the pain never really go away? Is it okay to still feel pain years after? Let me share with you a portion of my book, “When God Could’ve But He Didn’t” here.
It’s been two years, exactly. How time flies! I would have been captioning “don’t grow up too fast” all over, or pep-talking her into being a big sister soon, but two years ago I went home with a pendant and not with our firstborn. I look back and see the goodness of God carrying us through the toughest time in our lives as a young married couple, and even as individuals: from navigating through what became trick questions, sharing some of the bible verses we held on to during that season, being hope-full on Mother’s Day, dreaming, meeting friends with similar stories, going beyond grief and how things got better, hoping with others, not getting stuck in the past, to birthing a book and a 5-day devotional, and even sharing our story to our church community. God’s grace, love, peace, and strength never felt so abundant in our lives before then. Last December, when we were in Japan, the TV was on showing “Armaggedon” dubbed in Japanese. I watched to try to bring myself to sleep, until the end credits came and the song, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” played. It wasn’t long before my eyes filled with tears that eventually came rolling down as if I was watching tear-jerker end credits. It was a song in my head on the hospital bed two years ago. I wanted to sleep but I didn’t want to miss any second of our dear Berea Dannielle‘s life. So, does the pain never really go away? Is it okay to still feel pain years after? Let me share with you a portion of my book, “When God Could’ve But He Didn’t” here.
I look back and see my “progression to normal,” and hope that sharing this helps people who are going through something similar. Imagine drawing a horizontal line. That line represents your “normal.” Then abruptly it dips—the worst day of your life. The line continues to the right, but at the bottom of the page. The days following the worst day of your life will be tough, way below your normal. Sometimes, the line goes up a little bit, when you’ll feel like you’re okay. Then you’ll remember and it dips again to the bottom. Sometimes you feel like the line is finally going upward—you’re moving forward. Then one night it feels like you’re back at day one; the line dips a bit. Or even worse, the line goes back to the bottom of the page, or even lower. You face the world, you’re back doing the usual things you do. The line continues to the right, tilting upward. Once in a while, you’ll remember. There will be upward and downward strokes, like a line graph. This is the grieving season. But hopefully, through time, the overall trendline tilts upward. Eventually you’re back to your normal; the line has finally moved up at the level of your original horizontal line. Once in a while, you’ll remember and the line dips a bit and goes back up. Grieving needs and takes time. How much time? That depends on each person. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, there are strollers and runners, and we are not to force strollers to run nor runners to stroll. It’s normal that years after, you remember your beloved who has passed away, and yes it’s normal that when you remember, there’s still some pain and tears. Much like a heart-breaking tear-jerker movie that wells up sad emotions inside of us, the pain of losing a loved one will always be a heart-breaking tear-jerker true story that can well up sad emotions inside of us. What’s crucial is that there’s progress. It may be cyclical, but the cycles progress towards the “normal” and we don’t stay at the bottom our whole lives. How do we progress? I’ve written it in an earlier post, “Moving Forward”: trust God, and don’t pet the pain. Now the BS Psychology graduate in me reminds me that I need to call this out—there are times when the passing of someone affects people so dreadfully that it can be considered as a traumatic incident. It’s okay to get in touch with a grief counselor. God can use them too to help you heal.
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If you drew a line graph to represent your progress from the lowest point of your life up to today, how will it look like? #IWasAMom, #wGcbHd, #1007mom
It’s okay to remember, even years after. It’s okay to remember without pain and tears. It’s okay to remember with pain and tears. Don’t force yourself to run if you’re a stroller. Don’t force yourself to stroll if you’re a runner. Wherever you are in your line graph of progression, only one thing is crucial—where you draw your strength from. There is no self-help in grief. You need God, and you need people in your life who God can use to help you, to listen to you, to cry with you, to stand in faith with you that tomorrow will be better.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 ESV
God has always been reaching out His hand. All we’ve always needed to do was to open ours to His.
Today is February 28. While two years ago we were overjoyed to see our dear Brei, and hours after over-grieved to lose her, today, we choose to celebrate life and the goodness of God—two years of His faithfulness, grace, love, joy, peace, and strength. The Lord is good and more than enough!