Frequently, I hear the question posed: “Does it ever get better?”…and I cringe. It would appear that there are a handful of folks that do find a way to rise above it all. But every time I have gone deeper with such a person, they eventually admit the pain still exists. Those that seem to do the best are either in a position of having someone very supportive in their life, being essentially care-free, being able to travel, or they become very entrenched in a church or ‘mission’ of some sort. But pull them out of those circumstances, and the grief soon re-surfaces.
At the onset, we are protected by our security blanket of denial. The harsh reality hasn’t yet set in. Additionally, we have folks that seemingly appear out of nowhere upon hearing the news, and while our head is spinning we are temporarily rescued. Then we attend to all the practical matters. From the funeral through the burial, the picking out of a headstone or urn, we are kept busy with paternal obligations in caring for our child, though now deceased. Once the people drift away, back to their own lives…once all the practical matters have been attended to…our eyes are opened to the reality that as long as we journey on this earth, our child is gone. There is nothing more we can do for them.
Our arms ache to hold them; our ears strain to hear their voice, their cry, their laughter. But emptiness and silence are all that remains. The pain and anguish are excruciating. As every Bereaved Parent will tell you, there is no ‘getting over it’. We have been forever changed. From the very depth of our being, we ache. We do keep moving forward, but now with a heavy monkey on our back. A relentless thorn in our side acts as a goad. If we try to fight against it, the deeper it goes. Our child’s demise becomes our heavy Cross to bear. We have no choice but to carry it.
Luke 14:25-27 (MSG)
Figure the Cost
25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
Some will turn away from God, at such a time. But here’s the thing that occurs if we do: we now are without our child and without the only One Who can see us through it all. The only One Who has truly born His Cross for us, the only One Who truly understands and can offer us any real Hope, we have forsaken. How does that make our journey easier? How does that lighten the load we carry? How does that offer us any Hope?
I have been at this for 18+ years. I am no expert; I often stumble in the dark. What I have done is explore many options, often to my own detriment. I’ve weighed the good and the bad; I’ve considered all my alternatives…all of them. Every detour I have traveled has been a dead end. Don’t believe me? That’s OK, you won’t offend me. I’m simply hoping to spare you additional heartache and wasted time. I don’t want to see you make the same mistakes I did. My heart hurts when I meet someone on a dead-end road, or a road of no return.
Is there any Hope?
With time, the horrendous moments of pain do come farther apart as the waves on a calm summer day. The duration of their intensity when they do come crashing in, shortens. However, the incessant pain remains constant; the torturing malaise remains constant. Though time does not erase, it allows us intermediate breaks.
On another level, a Spiritual level, we come to understand that our time here is truly short…a vapour (James 4:14). That there is something far far better for us who believe (1 Cor. 2:9). That there will come a day when all our tears will be wiped away and all sorrows shall cease (Rev. 21:4). That we are citizens of another Kingdom, an eternal Promised Land (Phil. 3:20).
Forgive me if I must turn away if you have chosen one of the alternatives. Seeing such only adds to my grief. I will hope, though, to see you again. I must choose the only road that offers me Hope. It took me some time to understand that although we are all on the same journey, we have not all chosen the same road.
Matthew 7:13-14 (VOICE)
13 There are two paths before you; you may take only one path. One doorway is narrow. And one door is wide. Go through the narrow door. For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad; the wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it; but the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death. 14 Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))