Grief sucks.

Yes, I just said that. So you know I’m going to be honest here. This has been a really hard week. Grief is like that sometimes.

Those who grieve will take small comfort in knowing that even for nice, spiritual people, every day doesn’t end in a rainbow. Sometimes, grief sucks, life is hard, and you feel like you’re drowning, even while you’re believing that God is good and does good.

Jesus was called a “Man of Sorrows.” He wept so hard at Lazarus’ grave that the mourners stopped mourning to comment how much Jesus must have loved him to cry like that at the tomb. Jesus also wept over cities and crowds and critics and the confused. He wept a lot, so I’m in good company. He knows that my tears don’t say anything about my faith.

So when people ask me how I am doing, I try to be truthful, but I soft-pedal it a little so they don’t freak out and get uncomfortable. I say “Good” (aka Crummy), “Okay” (aka Not okay), and “Not so good” (aka Terrible). Can’t we all just give ourselves permission to be honest about grief? I miss my mom so much.

I must be taking solace in her belongings, but that has also brought me loss. This week her furniture arrived, at great expense and trouble. I opened the PODS to find out that the packers who packed (in my absence) weren’t good packers at all. And many of her things are broken and ruined, and I want to hit something, but I don’t. The worst is the mahogany table that belonged to my mother and my grandmother and my great-grandmother, broken into 6 pieces because it was packed by an idiot, and I think That’s exactly how I feel–broken, unrepairable. 

Yet at some point, I will pick up the table pieces (they’ve been enshrined on my living room floor for days), and I will find out how to put them back together. I will likely spend a lot more money to pay someone to put them back together. I don’t know if the table will stand again or not. Certainly, it will have weak spots, if it does.

Like me. Weak from loving and losing. Weak from saying good-bye.

I’m tired of saying good-bye. And not just to her.

My middle son leaves for college tomorrow. My oldest wants to return to Europe to work.

And my best and oldest friend in Richmond is moving away on Wednesday, all the way to Philadelphia. And I’ve been seeing her a lot lately and making a point not to say good-bye and not to talk about how I feel.

For you, saying good-bye might be putting a kindergartener on the bus or an aging parent in the nursing home. It might be a death, the worst good-bye of all.

I guess Jesus knows how that feels, too. One night in Gethsemene, He stared death in the face, and He wept until his pores bled, as he implored God to keep his disciples safe. He prayed for their lives to be spiritually prosperous. He said good-bye to them, knowing how much His death would hurt them.

I do trust God with my life, even when I’m hurting. I trust that loss will bring renewal and growth and crap like that. (Pardon my French.) But I have also told God that I don’t think I can take any more sadness right now. I just can’t.

I don’t need sympathy, but I wouldn’t turn down prayer. I know that some of you feel the same way, and reading this might cloud your eyes with tears that will spill down your cheeks, not because this is a great blog, but because grief is universal. You get it. And you don’t pity me or judge me or feel sorry for me. (Thank you, by the way.) People who get it, get it; they don’t have room for those other emotions.

All of our experiences are different, yet we all feel the same. I know that’s true because I’ve been reading your comments. You’ve been thanking me for writing about grief because you’re tired of feeling alone in yours. Sometimes you private message me or send an email because your grief is so raw you must express it, but you’re not ready for others to read it. I understand. (You have no idea what I’m not writing here!)

I extend my hands to you, and you extend yours to me, and we will pray for one another. We will pray for the sadness to end because we’re human and that’s the way we think. (Make it stop!) But we will also pray for endurance through the sadness because we’re spiritual beings, and we know grief doesn’t just stop. (Make me stronger. Make me kinder. Make me gentler.)

Admitting our sadness in no way reflects on the level of our faith. I am sad, but my faith is still strong. (It’s my heart that’s breaking.) My faith is strong enough to question God without questioning who he is.

I’ve been telling Him this is too hard. Nothing’s changed. But at least I know He knows. That helps a little. It also helps to know that many other people have felt the way I do, and they have survived. But the loss remains for all of us. I wish I could tell Grief good-bye.


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