Friday, April 16, 2010

No Two Griefs Alike

This week's theme at Grief Share was The Uniqueness of Grief. The video last night was really moving because they interviewed people who had lost a loved one to suicide, murder, an accident, or negligence. The amount of pain and heartache in this world is incredible. I know it's not healthy for me to diminish my own grief, but when I hear about situations like that I know that there are much worse things. There are things for which there are no acceptable answers or justice. We see it on the news every day, but we rarely see the aftermath of those who suffer in the wake of such tragedies.

I have been heavy hearted since then, and I had stupid, weird, upsetting dreams last night. When Michael wasn't here with me in the past, if I had a bad dream I would call him and we'd talk until I felt better. Now there is no number I can call to reach him. That's not to say that I don't talk to him, but the conversation is terribly one sided. How I miss the sound of his voice.

Speaking of his voice and phones, it was a sad day recently when his cell phone was deactivated. If you knew my husband, then you knew how attached he was to his cell phone - especially that iPhone. He had so many apps. And being the social butterfly he was, that phone rang all day long. I asked for it to be deactivated because I didn't want to pay for it when I didn't really need it anymore, but it made me sad to do so. That's one of the few things I've dealt with of his. I am not ready to go through his clothing or all the boxes in the garage. Not at all.

Anyway, earlier today I was completing my "daily exercise" in my Grief Share workbook. At the conclusion of the exercise there was a section that encouraged the reader to remember that grief is unique and that the length and time one grieves is dependent on several factors:

  • the type of relationship you had with the one you lost - my husband
  • how close you were - he was my everything, second only to Jesus
  • the manner of death of your loved one - prolonged illness
  • how strong a support system you have - I have a wonderful family and friends
  • how well you deal with trials and conflicts - I try to see things from an eternal perspective
  • the number and intensity of past losses and whether you've healed from them - my grandparents, and a former coworker and college classmate who committed suicide
  • your relationship with the Lord - this makes all the difference for me as I believe he works all things together for good
These factors do impact my grief. Michael was my husband and my best friend. He was always just a phone call away when we couldn't be together. His illness made me think about his mortality months and months ago. I cried hard over what I was losing many times before he went to Heaven, oftentimes with him. I began thinking about my future without him many weeks before he passed. So, my grief did not begin on March 7th. Even though I was holding onto hope for his complete healing, I knew that it was likely he would succumb to his disease. It happens all the time. Cancer is pure evil. The only thing that gives me hope for the moment and for tomorrow is knowing that God is good all the time. My situation, my pain, my loneliness, my loss, my every thought are known to Him. I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future and He is worthy of my trust.

Nevertheless, the house is too quiet in the evenings, the bed is too big, and there's too much time between now and when I'll see Michael again.


  1. Joannah, you express things so beautifully. I have not dealt with what you are dealing with, and yet I can truly sense, understand, and feel your deep sense of both loss and eternal hope. I'm so glad you are seeking out help and finding it, in this group and with old and new friends. Love you!

  2. Oh, is so very, very hard...I often say that those I've lost have simply gone on a long trip...and there's no cell phone service... But really, it is so horrible...and yes, no two griefs are alike...but there do seem to be some common patterns...and it seems that the worst journey takes place during the first two years after the loved one dies...hang onto that...You'll never stop missing Michael...but thank God, as you already know, it won't always be this are so incredibly wise, and walk so closely with God...and have such a firm handle on all of this! You are truly incredible. And even though we have never met, I love you. Praying and thinking of you daily...Janine XOXO

  3. The cell phone was probably the hardest for me. We called each other a lot during the day. The finality of knowing i would never see " honey " appear on my phone again just broke me. I hear you! Will continue to pray. Denise

  4. There are those unexpected losses that will continue to creep up on you. The cell phone is one and, of course, there will be others. This is why grief is so complex and so personal. Take all the time in the world to move through each feeling you experience. Really take the time to feel. Thinking of you every single day.

  5. Those moments, unique for each person, are what make grief so complex. I'm so glad you have Jesus to walk along beside you through this time.


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