My daughter's neighbor died today. It was sudden and unexpected. He was a man in his early fifty's and left behind a wife and two children, a daughter of 14yrs. and a son of high school age. They are a nice family and my daughter feels the loss with them.
Although I didn't know this family I can't help but feel that aching bereavement for those left behind. I know the weight of loss and it never gets lighter. The irony is the person you lost is the very person you want to talk to about your grief.
Somehow, in those first few days grace carries us and we overcome the shock of it. We muddle through funeral arrangements and financial decisions and unknowingly gain an iota of strength. But in the aftermath true mourning begins.
We prepare ourselves for it to accompany us to anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. But when grief sneaks up on us and clings like plastic wrap it robs us of breath. The suffocating awareness and overwhelming stab of loss pierces our armor and we're left sobbing in the middle of a grocery isle, or other chance places.
That little bit of perceived strength we acquired immediately turns to water and our first inclination is to hide the tears. We're embarrassed and vulnerable. Grief doesn't follow the rules. It doesn't come with an expiration date and it isn't kept out by a 'No Entry' sign.
It's been nearly nineteen years since my daughter passed away suddenly, and the grief still strangles me sometimes at the softest whisper. If we are going to survive the agony we must give ourselves permission to grieve. No matter -- public or private. No one, not even ourselves have the right to speak into our lives about processing grief.
Sometimes in the midst of that crushing sadness a humble human comes along. We're shown compassion and kindness. Our spirit is once again lifted to a place where grace is free and strength doesn’t need to be earned.
Other times we will walk the path of grief alone at our own pace. But we will come into our own peace, in our own time. And there is love and comfort in Jesus who is near to the brokenhearted and comforts those whose spirits are crushed.