His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." Then David comforted his wife... ~ 2 Samuel 12: 21-24
There really is no book, outline, or correct way to grieve. Years ago while I was completing my fellowship at M D Anderson Cancer Center, my supervisor talked to me about the grief I was experiencing.
My stepmother had died the previous year from leukemia following a somewhat brief illness. Although I knew that I was grieving her loss, I couldn't understand some of the things that I was feeling and how I was reacting to some things going on in my life.
He shared with me that "I can direct you to a ton of self-help books, including books on grief, the steps of grief, and how to recognize grief, but I can't necessarily tell you HOW you must grieve, and how to get through this."
To this day, I really don't know what answer I was hoping to receive. There is simply no correct way to grieve.
It wasn't until a year later that I realized as another anniversary passed without her presence in my life that I suddenly realized that she was never coming back. After another year of wanting to pick up the phone and call her to tell her something my children had done, or to ask her thoughts on something, while even the home that my parents resided had been sold, I had to accept this reality and somehow "let it go" as some friends had advised.
I couldn't. It was at that point I realized that for some things in our lives, grieving is a life-long process. It's not that I don't manage her memory better, and instead of getting depressed at the the thought of her passing, I instead focus on the person and how thankful that I am to have had her in my life.
So often our grief over the loss of something creates our own "valley of the shadow of death," that we find it hard to move through it. David after loosing a child, tries to return to a "normal" life, while taking time to be present for his wife. The loss shared by these two, would be a reminder to each of us that when we have suffered loss, the need for one another must be realized.
We all grieve and we are reminded to turn that which we mourn into a type of dance. While there isn't always a clear place and time to point to when this happens, we can always invite God to help us.
Hoping that each of us may learn to dance while we mourn our losses.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, while we all have experienced loss of some kind in our life, may You be present to help us turn our mourning into a dance that brings healing. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.