Wednesday, January 22, 2014

For those who find grief is a constant 'companion'

Diaconal ministry can may be immersed in the lives of those who grieve. A friend has experienced grief as a constant companion after the death of her mother in 2012. She writes poignantly and honestly about grief.....(and she chooses not to use capital letters!)
I'm sure i met grief some time before 2012, but he didn’t make a big impression on me. he probably came into my house and forgot to bring donuts... so he was dead to me. it takes a lot to get my attention.
the first time i remember acknowledging grief’s presence was when my mum began to lose things. her ability to play guitar. her ability to walk, to breathe, to sing. i saw grief sitting in a corner in those times of loss, but i was savvy to his ways and very skilfully didn’t let him too far into my head or my heart. i’m not good at relationships, and quite frankly didn’t have the time or emotional energy to deal with what grief was asking of me.
then my mum lost her life.
grief has been my constant companion since about midday on thursday the 28th of june, 2012. he was a persistent little critter and there was only so long i could hold him at bay. grief came rolling into my life like a steam train, showering me with gifts of sadness and emptiness, confusion and loneliness. he was lavish in his gift giving, and not being a big believer in confrontation, i didn’t have the heart to tell him that i didn’t want the gifts he was giving me. not once did grief offer me comfort or peace. rather, he wined and dined me relentlessly until i was so full of food and drink that i momentarily hated myself more than i hated my loss. in those moments, i let grief wrap me up in his uncomfortable embrace and wipe away my tears with his cold, grubby fingers.
i hopped on a plane... several in fact... to try and escape from grief. but the cheeky little guy must have had some secret savings squirrelled away, so he came along for the ride too. i thought for sure that if i did something really stupid and physically demanding he wouldn’t want to come. so i rode my bike a really long way over lots of mountains and slept on cold, wet, gravelly beds. it turned out grief was a fitness fanatic. he loved that trip.

grief & i taking a selfie on a gondola in canada*
(*grief not pictured)
people say you have to meet grief. that you have to let him into your life. but i don’t care for his ways. i don’t care for his tear-inducing, or rather, gut-wrenching-sob manufacturing abilities. 
i’m told that eventually grief and i might learn to get along. he may just quietly exist in the back of my life one day and not cause me so much pain. what a blessed relief that will be.
to my dear friends who have met grief this week... and to those who have been travelling with him for far too long... i wrap you in the warm embrace of my heart today. here’s to better days ahead...
A prayer for those who mourn:
Bless those who mourn, gracious and loving God, with the comfort of your love that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty that nothing can destroy the good that has been given. May their memories become joyful, their days enriched with friendship, and their lives encircled by your love. Amen. (1991 Vienna Cobb Anderson)

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