The Multiplication and Division of Grief

We are at a point in our home where neither my husband nor I can help our son any longer in math. When he came home talking about quadratic equations, my eyes rolled into the back of my head. But even without being proficient in this level of math, there is some basic mathematics I am familiar with. I call it the multiplication and division of grief – the calculation resulting from death.

Would you have ever imagined that grief has anything to do with math? Probably not, but since my daughter ran ahead to heaven, our lives have been significantly impacted. Plenty has been added, subtracted, multiplied, and finally divided in our lives due to her death.

From my elementary perspective, it goes something like this:
Addition: Getting pregnant and having a child; meeting your soul mate and getting married
Subtraction:
Child/spouse dies
Multiplication:
Increase in anxiety, fear, loneliness, sadness, insecurities
Division:
Loss of friends, family, and finances; differing opinions on how we are handling our grief and where we should/shouldn’t be by a specific time

Life is a series of equations, and we don’t need to be master mathematicians to see how all the calculations meter out. As grievers, we miss our certainty and assuredness of who we once were. We miss the person we used to be. This can leave us feeling lost and unanchored.

Often our friendships change because our part of the circle has been altered, and we are no longer the same as we once were. It’s sad because we lost not only our loved one but also those friends who were part of our life.

But there is hope – even if we don’t feel it today, life is not over.

Many who are much further ahead of me on this journey have gently shared that there does come the point when a sense of peace begins to enter. Perhaps it’s when we can start to release the “old” me and embrace the “new” me. We begin to accept that our lives are different now, and perhaps we can go back to the beginning of the equation and start with addition again. Maybe we begin by adding new friends, interests, and ministries – ways to help others. I can see how God can use this to make beauty for the ashes.

Although we cannot change others, we can do all possible to seek comfort and solace from those who understand. Perhaps it’s a Grief Share group, a private counselor, or joining a small group from church. It helps to connect with those who have walked in our shoes and gone before us. It’s not an easy road, but there is always hope during loss and we must always remember that we are never alone.