Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Grieving Right vs Grieving Well

 We've gone back and forth before posting this...but we attempt to walk with authenticity and sometimes it's messy.  We KNOW any of the comments below were meant well. We've probably said one or two of them before ourselves. Really, in the future when a friend is grieving, we will be more like Job's friends at the first...when they came and sat...before they began speaking. LOL  We will sit until God clearly shows the time is right to begin sharing "truth." Grace and truth. Together. Sometimes just waiting for the right time is the required grace. 

Photo by Carrie - dip netting! 

Dorothy, commented on FB that Michael and I seemed concerned about grieving correctly and it seems we worry about letting people or God down. Her comment made me think, and then it made US think together.  She's right. Why is THAT concerning us? 

We've been thinking about it all day. Why in the world would we even attempt to carry THAT burden at THIS time?

As a "professional," Michael has helped young widows, widowers and airmen through the process of grief. While we all say there isn't a right or a wrong way to grieve, there are stages and a process...and it's undeniable some people seem to heal better than others.  

Then there are the books, "Grieving GOD'S Way," for instance. If there is a GOD'S way, it stands to reason that would be the RIGHT way to grieve and, therefore, there would be an UNgodly way to grieve - which would be the wrong way. If there's a "Good Grief," there must be a bad grief. If there's a "Path Through Pain," or a hope of "Getting to the Other Side of Grief," one had better find the right path so as not to get hopelessly lost inside of grief.  (Note, these may be great books, I've not purchased any of them - just tried to figure out which may help and then decided I didn't have the energy to decide).

Then comments...well-meaning I'm sure, or maybe unthinking...

 "You're so strong, I could NEVER do this. " 

No. We're not. We're a mess. We're shattered. We're bruised. We walk with One who IS strong and we're pretty sure He carries us most of these days.   And may we gently ask, "WHAT CHOICE DO ANY OF US HAVE?"  Sitting down and saying, "We can't and we're not going to," won't change a thing. 

"I'm sure it's getting easier every day." 

No, it's not. 

"We don't have the resources to deal with so much grieving." 

Frankly, neither do we. We certainly don't want to be a drain. So, what should we do? 

"You should be feeling better by now."

Um...maybe we should, and maybe sometimes we do, but most times we do not. One friend reports she sat on her patio and went nowhere for a week after her dog died. She figures, and we concur, we're fine to be in a fog a bit longer than 3 weeks. And REALLY!?! 

"I could NEVER pray for my son's murderer." 

We hope you never have to. It's the hardest thing we've ever done.  The God who carries us tells us to pray for our enemies. While we are convinced the man is not our enemy - Satan is our enemy - we also know he's the hardest person we've ever tried to pray for, and De'Etta found it nearly too much to be next to his mother in court, though we didn't find out who she was until after the fact. The same Jesus who said, "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted," also said, "pray for your enemies." 

On the other hand, don't glibly tell one of our family they need to "pray and forgive," especially if you can't even be civil and forgive or show grace to the teenager who gets your order wrong at McDonald's.  

So...our profession, the books, the comments...all pushing relentlessly towards figuring out how to get through, out of, or off of the path of this grief... and add to this we are both teachers by spiritual gifting and practice. We take seriously the admonition to handle the Word accurately, and we understand we will be held accountable for teaching doctrines which are off-base or out-of-kilter. 

Yes, one starts to subliminally think there is a way to handle this heart-rending grief, and if we could just figure out the secret key, everything would fall into place. 

We hear it helps to "get back to normal" and we hear to "give yourself grace," and we wonder HOW...thus the prayer request from last night. Dorothy's observation was accurate. We have been trying to be sure we do it "right." 

We can't carry that load. 

We don't know how to walk this one out in a way that honors Jesus. We've never walked this way before. Oh, we've lost parents and that was some preparation.


We've never lost a grown son before. 

We've never grieved with a daughter-in-law and grand-daughter before like this.

Our children have never lost a brother before.

We've never had such violence reach into our family before. 

We can't carry the burden of what others say or think at this point.  If we grieve "wrong," we will pray for grace to have no one follow us. 

The only thing we're convinced of is we need to continue pressing into Jesus. We need to keep being authentic and honest with Him.  He CAN handle it...and we hope this post isn't too authentic. Our heart is not to offend. We're processing.

Yes, this has been a hard day. 

Three weeks, and he is not here and never will be... We will go to him. 

I, De'Etta, discovered photos of Josiah and Liv which made me smile and made me cry. (I'll post them in a different post). 

We've lost much.

We still have much. 

Both can be true at the same time. 

ONE THING: Our one thing besides grieving and spending time with Jesus was hunting down decor and gifts for four of our grandchildren who will be celebrating birthdays at this month's family gathering on Saturday. 

GRACE NOTES: (Tonight I'm thankful for...)

1. Lynette sent a recounting of a conversation she overheard at Josiah's Celebration of Life. 

2. We are hearing a tiny bit of the good God is working out of this mess. 

3. A sweet daughter in law who sent this photo at just the right moment. There is still so, so much grace in our lives. 

Noah's mealtime - photo by Larissa

4. No new snow today! 

We're trying to get the energy to build a sledding run out here!

5. Michael Nortune, the president of our denomination, Open Bible Churches, sent a very sweet and caring condolence letter to us on the loss of Josiah. 

6. The pumpkin is full...

7. Our kids started a family text-thread. It's good to laugh at silly antics in the midst of "this." 


Anonymous said...

Love you very much, my dear.

Anonymous said...

“Grief is neither a problem to be solved or a problem to overcome. It is a sacred expression of love…a sacred sorrow”. Gerald May
Holding your family in my prayers. ❤️

Melanie McBride said...

Continuing to hold your family up in prayer. De'Etta, I have always appreciated your transparency and never more so than now. Praying you'll feel the comfort only God can provide, that friends and family will be a balm to your souls, that joy comes in the morning each and every day, even in the midst of your deep sorrow, that you know you're loved by God for sure, but also by the rest of us. My heart aches for y'all. So I'll continue to do what I can... Pray. Love you, my dear sister.