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Grief Is Okay

I'm thinking more on the topic of disappointment. Disappointment and grief are separate, yet connected because grief is filled to overflowing with major disappointments involving that grief.

A disappointment is when the store closed 2 minutes before you got there.

A disappointment is when that event you were really anticipating gets cancelled.

A disappointment is when a buyer you worked with for months buys a house through a different agent.

These disappointments are real but can be overcome fairly easily by keeping on the sunny side of life.

Grief is different.

Grief happens when long-term expectations are broken, sometimes irreparably, and can sometimes encompass great amounts of regret. Even when we can see the end of something approaching, the moment it actually happens can be shocking.

  • A loved one dies: they're not coming back. You can't visit with them anymore. You can't show them how much you love them. The earthly relationship with that person is just over.

  • A divorce or break-up of a serious relationship: you'll never have the happy home with that person that you imagined you would. No companionship; no laughing over inside jokes; no connection anymore.

  • A miscarriage or still-birth: you won't get the smiles, birthdays, milestones, or the adventures you imagined when you were carrying that baby.

  • A closing down of your business: you poured your heart and soul into something, then you needed to close it later. It doesn't mean the business was wrong or bad, but that season of life had passed. And having personally experienced that, it takes the same mental process that a relationship break-up does.

  • Missed opportunities: not every opportunity comes back around. This ties into everything above, but it can also be as you get older and look back on life, wisdom will show you all the things you shoulda-woulda-coulda done.

In my own life, I've seen the episodes of grief that I've experienced have never really gone away. I keep them in different boxes in my mind.

When something first happens, the grief is out--all over the place. Then I end up moving the grief over to a corner so it's not right out on the table looking at me every second of every day. Still easily accessible, but not always in my way.

Over time, I pack the grief into a box in my mind and put it up on the shelf. It's still there when I need to pull it down and look at it.

And every once in awhile, someone or something bumps that shelf and all the grief boxes fall off and have to be reordered.

Sometimes, I pull out a box of grief when I'm standing at my brother's or grandparents' graves. I cry over them; I remember all the good times with them; I wish I could have had more time with them.

Then I eventually put the box of grief away after I've had time to look at everything in it again.

Ignoring grief is wrong, I think. Suppressing it, never acknowledging it, or feeling guilty for even feeling grief are all unhealthy reactions in the long run.

So is bathing in it day in and day out for years on end.

Grieve, mourn, remember, cry all you need to, then when the time is right, live life again. It's not betraying the memory of that person to enjoy life after they are gone. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

Love keeps us remembering, and one day, Jesus will wipe away all the tears.


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