Thoughts on Grief: There Are No Coincidences
Yesterday was a very bad day for me. For whatever reason, I was very emotional. I was on the verge of tears for most of the day. Every time that I thought about crying, I tried to think about something else, to change my mind.
Needless to say, it worked about, oh, .001% of the time.
I haven't cried that much in a while. And I don't recommend it -- it doesn't feel good, it doesn't make you sound good, and it definitely doesn't make you look good.
I'm really struggling still. And I know that it will take a long time to get past it all, so I'm trying to be kind to myself. Yesterday, I talked to a priest for a while who said, "Well, you know those who have gone on are in a better place." I like to think that I know that, but I actually really don't know that -– and I think that's part of what I'm struggling with the most.
I'm really struggling with that.
I just sat here and stared into space for a minute and I really thought about it. I think the question I most afraid to ask is, "If the two people that I believe deserve heaven the most didn't get there, what hope is there for the rest of us?"
I think that's at the very bottom of the issue.
Last night, I had to go pick my daughter up from rehearsal. She was not at her typical rehearsal location, but at a church, a church with which I am unfamiliar. When I got into the car to drive, the tears I had been holding back all afternoon and evening came out. I did nothing to stop them -– I just drove and let them flow. I thought that maybe, if I let it all come out, I would feel better. I parked and walked into the rehearsal -– or what I thought was the rehearsal. Actually, I walked into the sanctuary and was greeted at the door by a friendly face who handed me a flyer and said, "Welcome to our service for those suffering from sorrow and in need of healing."
"Excuse me? What did you say?"
She encouraged me to go to an empty seat, and as I made my way forward, listening to some soft guitar music, I realized that, in my desire to come in and listen to my daughters rehearsal, I had been granted a far greater gift. The pastor stood up, and she spoke about the reality that this time of year is very hard for those who are grieving. Everyone expects you to be happy, to do the right thing with smiles and sunshine and presents -– but sometimes, you just can't do that. As I sat there and listened to her, I began to cry again.
I seriously feel like all I do is cry some days.
I listened to Psalms. I listened to readings, and listened to singing, and all the while, the tears trickled down my face. The pastor spoke about driftwood -- how it's rough and jagged and ultimately smoothed over after it goes through the storm. I've been through the storm lately. I feel full of jagged edges and sharp, splintery pieces. I thought about how it was a coincidence that I had come into the sanctuary. It was a coincidence that they were holding a service of healing, a service to support those who were struggling. At the end, we were encouraged to go into another area if we wanted someone to pray for us.
Typically, I negate that. I've never been a touchy-feely person, never wanted it, but yesterday, I felt completely empty, very raw, and more upset than I've been since the beginning of November. I'm so overwhelmed. I'm having trouble with a couple of my children. My mom is having a tough time with an issue. And I really, really just miss the people in my family who have died. I still come downstairs and feel almost slapped when I walk past my father-in-law's room. I still think about my sister-in-law and want to call her up when I need someone to talk to. I feel very alone in my grief.
I've got news for you. I know how much I can take. That line was reached probably, oh, a month ago.
Anyway, I went to the back of the sanctuary and two women asked if they could pray for me. They asked my name, and when I opened my mouth to answer, instead great, heaving sobs came out. I couldn't even speak. I just –- cried. From the bottom of my soul, I could not stop.
I was really embarrassed.
But they prayed for me, and when I was able to speak, I told him what happened. I told them that I cared for two people, doing things that most of the people in my life don't even know. Caring for them in large and small ways, and I told them of the void I felt in my life. The issues I was facing, the turmoil I feel, the distress and the angst -- and they prayed.
And, at the end, they prayed that I would find peace. That I would find encouragement. For my hands, that helped and served, for my heart, that feels broken and shattered, for my mind, that feels lost and cyclonic. For my family, to support me, and for me to find friends who would be there to lift me and hold me, guide and comfort me.
I felt ridiculous when they were saying these things -- I haven't done anything spectacular, nothing that any one of you wouldn't do faced with the same situation. I'm no one special, and the fact that I can't handle it all just proves that I'm weaker than most. I feel like I'm doing a TERRIBLE job of it all.
But there are no coincidences, and the fact that I walked in to a service for healing and prayer means that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.