Greg's unexpected death on December 19, 2020 was the beginning of my grief journey. There were times when I didn't think I could survive the pain of losing him. As time has passed, I've learned to live with grief. It has changed over time, but it is always with me. These are the reflections that I've written along the way.
I have a complicated relationship with mine and Greg’s story. There is so much beauty in how Jesus brought us together and all he did in our lives- but it is laced throughout with a lot of deep pain and suffering.
I've been reminded lately that God writes our stories not so that we hide them, but so that he can be glorified through them. So I’m trying to be brave, and trust God and embrace this story He is writing. That's why I'm sharing our journey with you.
If you do read our story, I hope you see above all else that God is strong when we are weak (2 Cor. 2:9-11 - one of Greg’s favorite passages).
June 29, 2020 - It's Not the Same
It was raining when we stepped onto the beach today. Not hard enough to keep us away, but steady enough that it couldn’t be ignored.
Somehow it was fitting because that’s what missing Greg felt like today too. Not so strong that it kept us from enjoying the beach, but steady enough that it couldn’t be ignored.
He was on both of our minds as we hunted for shells and remembered being with him at this same beach 4 years ago.
It’s good to be at the beach - but it is not the same. Greg’s absence is as hard to ignore as the steady rain that slowly soaked us.
June 28, 2022 - Blender & Waves
This grief journey has surprised me. Each step of the way, I’ve looked ahead and thought “surely I’ll be done grieving by then” only to be surprised by a new wave or a new facet of grief.
Clarissa Moll talks in her book Beyond The Darkness about grief being a companion. That perspective has helped me a lot. Instead of trying to get rid of grief, I’m learning to walk with it.
The blender of grief has changed into waves of grief. The waves may space out over time, but grief will always mark our lives. We will never stop missing Greg even as our lives grow and change and we become more accustomed to his absence.
I’ve also learned that I can experience grief and joy at the same time. Today can be a good day- and I can miss Greg. Those two realities are not mutually exclusive.
I can laugh at a joke and feel sad that he’s not here to share it with. I can go on an adventure and long for him to be by my side. I can be proud of the young man Paul is growing into and grieve the fact that his daddy isn’t here to see him grow.
I can embrace grief as a companion and live fully in this new life that God is creating for me.
And so can you.
June 24, 2022 - Death Will be Destroyed
In the last 24 hours, I've learned of three young women who have been tragically widowed. But really, every story I've heard from the growing number of young widows that I know is tragic.
No young widowed person has a story that you hear and think, "Oh, I hope that happens to me!". These stories take my breath away - they feel like a punch in the gut. Each death is a tragedy that rips apart the world of a family and a community. It wasn't meant to be this way.
One of the things I love about the Bible is that it's so honest about life in this world. It never gives us easy answers or tells us to look on the bright side or tries to put a bandaid on a severed limb (the best analogy I've heard to the completely unanalogous experience of losing your spouse).
And death? The Bible calls it an enemy - "the last enemy to be destroyed" (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death is an enemy. Let's call it like it is. We don't need to try to nice it up.
Your loss matters. Losing your loved one to death really is as awful as it feels.
While others might minimize your loss, Jesus never would. He faced death so that one day death will be destroyed forever.