Grieving the loss of someone you love is painful. Understatement, I know. The word grief conjures up images of heartbreak, crying and sadness. It can be a dark place where memories haunt and regrets taunt. But then mixed in is bittersweet joy as you recall sweet and happy times and you can feel their presence with you as if they were sitting right next to you. Grieving brings on a roller coaster of emotions without a lot of advance notice of the next dip or turn.
I found myself experiencing all of that this past weekend as we celebrated the life of my mom who died almost 2 weeks ago. My mom had a car accident in 1991 and was severely brain injured. She has been incapacitated for the past 21 years unable to eat, speak, or move her body with the exception of one arm. It has been an extended grieving process for those of us who love her. We have been preparing to let go for a very long time but when the final goodbye came, we realized that no matter how long you have to prepare you are never really ready.
What helped tremendously was having a ceremony. We organized a memorial – a celebration of her life. Our family gathered together and cried and laughed and went though pictures and told stories. Some precious friends that didn’t know my mom came out of love for us and said they left feeling like they knew her which warmed our hearts. Her grandchildren, most of whom weren’t born before her accident, got to hear and learn things about her that they didn’t know. We celebrated her legacy which I will write about soon. And it was good. Really good.
Woven through the sadness was joy. I realized how important it is to allow yourself to just be with the pain when you are feeling it, and allow yourself to grieve. At first I kept trying to rise above it but it wasn’t working. Once I really allowed myself to feel it, I was able to release it and move forward.
Right after my mom’s accident Psalm 27:13 brought me such comfort and I am now relying on it’s truth once again.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
I will see her again. In the land of the living. And although there is grief, there is also great joy in knowing that she is finally free and whole! It is comforting to know that I will carry her love and spirit with me until we meet again.