It has been said, “After great love comes great grief” (Betty J. Carmack, 2003) Does it ever end? You wake up and the reality hits you, it DID happen. You try to, or just long to, run from it. Just run! Yet you can’t run fast enough. It’s like something is on you and you can’t get it OFF!! It burns; It cuts to the core of your being human. It sits on your heart like a lead brick. The tears come, the groans come, and the wailing and screaming begin and then end. This is GRIEF! The emotion I believe we dread the most, yet we still experience it.
As a child it was a distance cousin. It came, but was never completely understood. As we age it comes nearer, and we cannot run far enough to get away from the grief we must face. We suffer our share of broken hearts and deep disappointments in life and each time we find a strength inside to cope. Still, it is a wave that relentlessly comes again and again.
Christmas is to be a time when we celebrate the true meaning of the season, and the faint smell of joy in the air appears to block anything that might hint at such a unwelcome emotion. Somehow it cannot be right. We question all that we believe, and why, just because grief caught us off guard on Christmas Eve? When we lose someone we have loved most of our lives the world suddenly seems empty and silent. Not the familiar ‘silent night’ we sing, but a hushed stillness that makes all that we perceive around us somehow darkened. The safe arms are gone, the wall of protection has come down.
Suddenly we long to be a little child again, praying for everything to go back to the way it was before we grew up to experience tragedy in full measure! We long for a time when life made sense to our innocent hearts.
And so our faith is all that can hold us now. It does not make the pain less intense, but we just have to know there is a way out of all this pain. Heaven is closer now. We rally all the strength we have inside us for the sake of those who are also hurting as we are. We watch as the quality of life in those we love has diminished. We watch as close family members grieve in their own unique way. We watch and come to realize that hope does float. Sometimes it treads water, but then it really does float. We’ll be on top again, somehow, someplace. We wonder will we ever feel joy again? Will the angel’s sings on high and things make sense again? We can’t get away from the pain, but we can hold on to a strength that is greater than we.
Yes, the list of those we lose has begun to lengthen. And, it will get longer. All we have left is God. What would we do without HIM? There are three guarantees in this life; birth, death, and grief…..
*Dedicated to the memory of my precious mother, Aileen Meadows, who went home to Heaven on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2014.