Grief is a natural response to loss. But does devastating grief have to last forever?
It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to denial, disbelief, guilt, and extreme sadness.
Just like the character in the 12th chapter of my book …
He’s not really going to die, she reasoned to herself, as she helped him into the minivan preparing for yet another doctor appointment.
Traveling to the medical center, she continued the self-encouragement. This time it will be different. This time, the medical professionals will tell us good news. This time, the tests will come back clear. “No more cancer!” they’ll announce. And then we’ll all celebrate. We’ll dance and cheer and tell friends and family it was a medical miracle! Slamming the van door with confidence, she walked boldly toward her dream, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, this nightmare would soon be a passing memory.
But it wasn’t.
Does devastating grief have to last forever?
She slammed the van door again, this time in livid rage. What’s wrong with those frauds who call themselves medical professionals? How could they be so powerless to stop this monster?
Steaming mad, she drove back to their home, doing her best to prevent the raging thoughts from interfering with her ability to drive. With all their fancy initials, and high-tech machines, and medicines for every blasted disease, why couldn’t they fix this? Why did they have to shatter her dreams…her hope? Didn’t they know that she would do anything? That she would pay any price? Whatever it took, she would do it – anything to know for certain that he was not leaving. Wasn’t there someone, anyone who could help them?
Arriving back at the house, she repressed her raging emotions. She needed to be strong for him. She needed to make dinner for the family. Later that night, after the dishes were washed and the children were in bed, when he was sleeping, lying where he always lay, snoring like he always snored, the anger returned to the surface.
Why couldn’t they just go back to the way things were before the death monster showed up in the corner of their room, caged at the moment, but always there, always waiting? She knew that the monster could break out of its cage and steal him from her any day. And there was nothing she could do to stop it.
How she wanted to escape this pain but didn’t want to be left alone. Sometimes she wished for her own death – to die when he died.
The fear of his death was ripping her heart to shreds.
She was broken.
She was vulnerable.
There was nothing else she could do…but to accept…accept the inevitable.
Does devastating grief have to last forever? She wondered.
There was nowhere else to turn. She had tried everything she knew, but the death monster was still there…waiting to attack.
She supposed it was time to do something she hadn’t done for a long time.
She prayed a prayer she had heard as a child in an old country church.
She wasn’t sure she correctly remembered all the words, but she tried her best, opening to the emotions she gripped in her soul. Gathering up all her pain and sorrow, all her anger and despair, she released it all in a silent, guttural scream.
“My God! My God! Why have you forsaken us!?”
…and somehow…in some unexpected way…when the words were finished and she breathed a deep, long breath…she felt comforted, tangibly comforted…in a way not easily explained. Although her husband still lay next to her unchanged, slowly dying…she knew, somehow, she knew…even if he died, she would survive.
Have you ever felt forsaken by God?
Are you asking yourself, “Does devastating grief have to last forever”? Can death help change your perspective in life?