Strength through Darkness
Grief is universal to the human experience. Every culture, nationality, age group, and race feels grief. How we express and cope with it varies from person to person.
Loss is felt most keenly in the first few days and weeks. As time goes on and we go through coping mechanisms most people continue on with their lives as close to normal it can be. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting. It doesn't mean you won't be sad anymore, it's about learning to live in their memory and in the faith that they are walking with Christ and you will see them again someday.
Life can resume its onward pace and then you're crying again because you find a picture of them at the bottom of a box. You come home expecting to tell them about your day and then feel the pain fresh again. You never finish that TV show you started together because it hurts too much. Every holiday or family event is tainted with a bit of sadness that they aren't there to experience it with you.
Grief is an empty hole, it feels like you can fall back into it at any moment as your heart heals and reopens again and again. The darkness can feel overwhelming.
When we had a family friend pass away my eldest daughter called me again extremely distressed several days after we had given her the news. This was the first person we had lost since she was old enough to truly understand death. She wasn't sure how to handle the feelings. She felt like she needed to do something, to fix it and make it better for our friends left behind, but knew that she had no way to bring him back from death or to wipe away the grief in her heart or her friends.
My wife and I cried with her because crying is therapeutic. It is a release of chemicals from your body that allows you to feel better afterward. Then we helped her understand that the most we can do to help is to support and pray for the family. Listen to them and love them just as much as we always have. Then we reminded her that it was okay to feel sad for a little while but we need to remember to keep living our lives too. Ask God for the peace you need to keep going.
Psalm 34:18 promises that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
The Beatitudes in Matthew 5: reminds us the "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
Even now several months later my eldest still cries for our friends who have lost someone so dear but our family stands with theirs through whatever may come.
When you are in need of rest from grief, anxiety, pain, loneliness, stress go to God. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28