Then, I read a life-changing book, a true story of two young people deeply in love. Sheldon VanAuken tells the love story of himself and his wife Davey in the book A Severe Mercy. (Spoiler Alert) When Davey dies, Sheldon is bereft. He describes what he does to cope with the loss of his beloved Davey.
As I read their story, for the first time in my life I encountered a man deep in the pain of loss who processed his grief with intentionality and purpose. Growing up I had seen the pain of losses, but no one talked about it, no one processed what had happened. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, I saw people debilitated for years by their grief.
A Severe Mercy started me on a journey to learn how to handle grief, when it came my way, in a way that would honor the person I had lost as well as heal the terrible hole in my life where that person had been.
Everyone grieves differently, so the way Sheldon grieved for Davey would look different from how I would grieve or how someone else would grieve. Sheldon's method was not important. The fact that he was intentional, that he honored his wife, and acknowledged and processed his own pain were the important lessons.
What has helped you to process your grief?