When we lose someone we love I think it’s absolutely natural to feel as though our grief will last forever. I know I have felt that way and have voiced this exact sentiment to others who have lost loved ones. But will our grief really last forever? I believe the answer to that is a resounding, Yes!
However, recently I read something that gave me a moment of pause. In saying that grief lasts forever what hope does that give us? For those who are in the early stages of grief I would never want you to think that the extreme heaviness you are now experiencing will always be this way. Since I truly believe there is hope during loss, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way.
For those of us walking this grief journey, our lives will never be the same. But it’s OK. The change that has happened within us is normal. Grieving is normal! Often times others who have not walked this journey are quick to judge. Some of the most common assumptions are:
- There is a time limit to grief. After “X” number of months or certainly after one year your grief should be gone.
- You should be the same person you were before your loved one ran ahead to heaven.
- Time heals all wounds. You will get over it.
All of these assumptions are just that – assumptions. Not one of these are true statements of someone who actually finds themselves on this road.
Which leads me back to my original question – Does grief really last forever? Although I’ve already said I believe it does, there is a caveat and one that is so important to know:
Grief may last forever, but grief does change over time. It evolves. The soul-crushing, heart-palpitating, can’t-catch-your-breath moments of grief lessen and eventually don’t come as often.
This is so important to know, especially for those who are fresh in grief and walking through the early stages of this journey. I hope you will cling to these words with the hope they are meant to deliver.
We will forever miss our children, our spouses, our siblings, our loved ones – but we can and will one day make it through the valley of the shadow of death.
I remember those early days after Melanie ran ahead to heaven. I remember walking around numb and in the fog of total disbelief. I will be forever thankful for those who surrounded me, lifted me up, prayed for me and were simply there for anything I may have needed.
Thankfully, I no longer feel the bone-crushing sadness I felt during the first year. I do have moments where I am peaceful and feel joy. Then, there are other days when grief is still hard. A piece of my heart is missing and nothing or no one can fill that void.
There are days when you may think you will never be whole again and you will never be able to function. I want to encourage you to be kind and gentle with yourself on those days. Don’t try to rush through your grief and don’t feel as if there is something wrong with you if you’re not doing as well as someone assumes you should be.
Grief is as individual as a fingerprint. We all need to take as much time as is necessary. We can hold on to the fact that others who have walked this road before us, although forever changed, have survived, and even thrived.
Jennie Lusko, in her book “Fight to Flourish” talks about growing in the place where God has planted you. Like a tiny seed that is planted deep down in the dark, moist soil eventually it begins to make its way up toward the sun. Grief is like that. We can be in a very dark place for a season but as time goes by, we can begin to grow and flourish once again.
Grieving forever doesn’t necessarily mean we will always be in that dark, soul-crushing state.
We will carry our grief in our hearts forever but know that it does change. You WILL make it through these dark days – they will simply look different.
I truly believe God will take our broken pieces and use them to make something beautiful again. He promises to make beauty from the ashes and perhaps one way to do that is in sharing our stories and lifting one another up. We may find it even helps to heal our own broken hearts.