Moving at the Speed of Grief

Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:6)

The familiar Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief are intended to be a model, not a rule.  Grief is messy, violent, complicated and discombobulating.

People are unique.  The circumstances surrounding a person’s grief is unique.  So, it should be no surprise that the stages of grief are navigated differently by everyone who is forced to endure them.  There is no “gas/accelerator pedal” for the grief process. Duration for each stage is erratic, unpredictable.  And every individual moves at a speed that they are able to handle without losing their mind.  Despite the foolish statements by those “well-intentioned dragons” who suggest one “should be over it by now,” grief moves at its own pace. For example….

It’s been 16 months since I found my 19 year old son dead from suicide behind the locked door of his bedroom.  And just today (9/30) I took another “first step.”

There is a room in our home in which we stored Jordan’s belongings following  his death – his paintings and other works of art, his clothes, and all of those other items like his hats, awards & musical instruments that made Jordan “Jordan.”  I’ve not been able to enter that room without being seized with fear, sadness, anger, and loneliness – until today.  It’s taken 16 months.

I know that Jesus has walked with me every single time I’ve needed to enter that room.  I’m reminded of the Footprints in the Sand story.  Seeing the illustrative vision Jesus had provided of “two sets of footprints”, the individual asks, “Lord, why, during the darkest days of my life, are there only one set of footprints? Where were you?’ Jesus answered, ‘My love, it was at those times I carried you.”

In this crucible we call acute grief, I’ve discovered something:  there’s no going around our grief, nor under it, nor over it.  We must go through it.  For it’s in our grief that we find Jesus, who the Bible describes as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)  Furthermore, it’s in our grief that we find a Man who not only empathizes with our grief, but a Savior who absorbed it on the cross.  “Surely He has borne our griefs.”

Why am I sharing this?  Because I want those of you who are grieving to know that though there is now weeping, joy is on its way.  Today, for me, a 16 month “night” finally, and unexpectedly, came to end.  And Joy, Himself, I discovered, was not only waiting for me – He had been with me the entire night.

Jesus is whispering to you, “I’ve got this. Trust Me.”  Be encouraged today.  You’re making it.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick