The tragic singular moment we find out they have died is only just the beginning of grief. Many want to force us through the process, and mistakenly assume the hardest part is that singular moment in time.
The sorrow and grief compound when, every day, we realize they are never coming back; when we are smacked with all the things they will not be here to experience with us, and us with them. We are taunted in the back of our minds by the “what ifs and if onlys.”
THAT is the real face of grief.
It never ends.
It absolutely changes, just like seasons of the year.
It isn’t just an emotion or a feeling. It’s not all “ups.”
It’s not all “downs.”
It is the trying and testing of the foundation of a life built with subpar materials that just keeps collapsing. We attempt to rebuild in the form of tears and screams and questions; in memories of laughter and special occasions and the picture of their beautiful face and the song of their voice and laugh.
Then finally, hopefully, the structure stabilizes, via the hard work of counseling, therapy, prayer, reading, calling out to God, asking other fellow grievers questions.
We can breathe deep again, stand back, and admire the work, the exhausting work, and sit inside the structure with the form of our beloved that we have constructed, and will live with, till we meet again.
Make no mistake about it—grief lasts a lifetime. It’s up to you and me what form it takes, how we will honor our loved one—how we rebuild after the tearing down…if it will take the form of despair and sorrow, or hope and love and honoring their legacy, filled with gratitude that we knew them at all.