Recycled Grief

Grief

Today is hallowed in our home. Unlike most calendar days, February 2 isn’t measured by appointments or to-do lists but by memories both sweet and sorrowful. A holy ground where life and death, pain and peace, coexist under in a weighted blanket called grief. Since saying hello and goodbye to our son Carter six years ago, I approach this day with the same strange mix of anticipation and foreboding.

How will grief show up?

GriefWhile I can count on grief to be present, it never looks the same. Every February, grief comes anew—recycled and repackaged.

Some years, it has been small and compact, easily managed as we celebrate Carter’s life through rituals our family has established. Other years, the grief has been large and looming, a crushing weight that leaves me raw and listless. We have both surrounded ourselves with loved ones and escaped. We’ve been silent and stoic, wild and weeping.

But no matter what form grief takes, it’s always there.

I’m learning to just let it come. Ben and I have stopped trying to put expectations on the day or determine how we should feel. In fact, we try to take the word should out of our vocabulary altogether. Grief is what it is—unpredictable and always changing, with the power to both hurt and heal. But it is not to be escaped.

Grief may stop us in our tracks, but in it we find rare moments to peal back the curtain and peak at what’s happening behind the scenes. Because where there is grief, there is love. Where there is hurting, there is healing. And when we lift up our eyes to see God through the haze, we discover that His grace is abundant even in our greatest pain.

So let grief come. Let it wash over us and remind us of our love and just how loved we are.

“Grief is neither a disorder nor a healing process; it is a sign of health itself,
a whole and natural gesture of love. Nor must we see grief as step towards something better.
No matter how much it hurts—and it may be the greatest pain in life—
grief can be an end in itself, a pure expression of love.”
– Gerald May, psychologist & theologian,
as quoted in Dying Well by Dr. Ira Byock

Happy 6th birthday, sweet Carter Benjamin. You are loved.

Grief and Child Loss

Read more about our son Carter and our family’s journey with child loss:

 

feature image: public domain via pixabay

6 comments on “Recycled Grief”

  1. Alisha says:

    Thank you for sharing. It’s exactly how I feel. To know that our boys are the same age and we share the same grief is horrible, yet nice the same. I sure hope that they have gotten to know each other, like their momma’s have. Praying for you and your family today.

    1. I hope they have too! That’s such a comforting thought. And thanks, Alisha, for your prayers. Much appreciated.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hello,
    We have a mutual friend, Tracie Reed. She shared your blog with me today and I read this one and Cupcakes, Baked Potatoes and The Purple Box.
    Our son was born on January 3rd of this year and we have talked several times about doing what you do in your “rituals” blog. Our son was alive for 40 minutes and when we got out of the hospital, I made him a birthday cake and we went through his memory box from the hospital. I love your tradition of eating what you craved and having his siblings be a part of it. We have talked about doing all of that several times.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. It helps me heal to share mine as well.

    1. Even though we never met, there’s something healing in meeting and talking with mamas who have also lost. Thank you for taking time to connect with me, and please feel free to stay connected over email. I will say a prayer right now for you and your family in the days ahead as you develop your new normal and make space to grieve. May you know God’s presence and abundance fully.

  3. Cheryl says:

    I have just read your story about your son. I got this from a friends Facebook comment. I have lost 11 family members in 3 years & 10 months included in that # is 3 grand children. So my heart knows how you feel. As the most recent lost was my Dad. May God Bless you.

    1. Oh, Cheryl…my heart aches for you. That’s so much grief to handle in such a short amount of time. I pray that in your raw state you will see God in a new way and know His presence intimately. Thank you for taking the time to share your story and reach out to me.

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