In 2002 I began to awaken to an awareness of grief flowing through the experiences of my life. In typical Dar fashion, I wanted to understand it, so I began to study grief. My learning was primarily at an intellectual level at this time. I read books about grief, particularly those written by people who had experienced profound loss in one form or another. As I read, I reflected in my journals about what I was reading and learning.
With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I am thankful for the reading and searching I did at that time, yet, as is often the case, the theory and the reality were different. As I have experienced deeper losses of my own, I learned lessons of my own. The books, others’ stories, had given me a foundation and perhaps words to label my experience. Still the experience was not an intellectual thing as the learning had been. The experience was emotional--painful and at times overwhelming. Things I expected based on my reading didn’t happen and things I didn’t expect took place. I realized the truth so oft repeated in grief work – everyone’s grief is unique to them.
One lesson from my reading, learning, and contemplation brought theory into reality in a positive and helpful way. I had observed that those who accepted the reality of their loss and were able to courageously face it and do the hard work of grief were also the most able to continue on and have a healthy productive future after a significant loss. In the face of my own loss, I found this to be, for a time, a draining task, hard emotional work, and yet, I am thankful to have been able to process my grief in a way that honored those lost and that deepened my life, my soul.
However, I am getting ahead of myself. God had more grief experiences for me to observe, to feel as a peripheral participant before I faced my own deep losses.
“Part 3 – What is God Doing?” will explore some of those grief experiences.
Has a particular book or person's story helped you in your journey through grief?