Checking In On My Grief Journey
Deborah M. Jackson, MDiv
The Lord never leaves persons on their grief journey whether it’s 2 months or 10 years. It’s hard for me to believe that in a few days it will be 10 months since my mom’s death. There is no time for me, where I am not painfully aware of my mother’s absence from me in this world. No matter how many times I thought about her death, no matter how often I talked to the Lord about what was ahead, He knew there was no way to prepare me for what it would feel like when she was gone. God sees the beginning, middle and end of every situation, and not a single thing could buffer the pain of losing her in my life.
Even with the thousand losses I experienced on the dementia caregiving journey, she was still with me. I must admit, even in the most trying of times, the anguish in my heart, the parts of me that were lost by being immersed in her care – God still spared us so many afflictions. Mom always knew who I was, until about 3 weeks before her death she was still ambulatory dressing herself, she still would peel the potatoes and talk to the dogs. I find myself grateful for the small things and the time God chose to give us. That may be your situation too. Maybe amidst your loss no matter when it was, you can still tap into gifts in your grief. It may take some time, but as you become able, the Lord will comfort you in those sacred spaces.
As I write this, I am tearing up because of how close the pain of losing her still rests on me. Nothing I do is far from her absence. At times the grief pangs come so strongly I feel as if I’m right there at the beginning all over again. The pangs are physical pains that hit my heart and gut reminding me of the vacancy left behind by her absence in my life. I shared with you in a previous article “Figs to Formation” about lessons from our fig tree. It focuses primarily on our forming into the character of Christ. God works in three dimensions, and I gained even more from that ole fig tree. I had shared how Each season the figs would start to develop then fall away prematurely, I wondered why. Well, our fig tree is still flourishing. Please remember, it takes time for God to prepare the foundation in us; it takes time to pilot our recovery too. With grief, there are no setbacks. It’s like a wave we must ride. Grief escapes no one; it cannot be rushed. It is the seasoned, well planted us that will not whither under pressure and severe storms. He’s using the low places in your recovering and your calling. It’s a journey where all that happens on it is meaningful even when it looks grim.