December 8, 2023
Are you ever prepared for the reminders of a story that didn’t end as you planned?
I put all the boundaries and laid a framework to guard my heart and protect my emotions as we prepared for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I attended a grief support group to learn about surviving the holidays. I applied the practical tips and felt safe as we shared our mutual grief and heartache as a community of those experiencing loss.
Two days later, I was sent to the emergency room after visiting with the school nurse.
While in the ER, after speaking with the medical providers, they performed several tests and lots of blood work, and the diagnosis caused me to pause: “a grief reaction, prolonged bereavement.”
I really thought I was healthily handling my grief.
I have been able to communicate when I am having bad days and express gratitude on the days that aren’t so bad.
I don’t move away from the emotions I feel–I cry when I need to and if a memory brings joy to my heart, I acknowledge that as well.
I recognize that I was also forced to navigate this crucial time in my life differently than I would have liked to; however, those things were out of my control.
I had to admit that I had initially suppressed the grief because “I had to get things done.”
It all caught up with me…and it has caught up with me several times, quite unexpectedly.
As I sat on the side of my bed on Thanksgiving day, I was very mindful of David’s absence, but I also recognized other emotions were coming to the surface.
In the middle of the grief, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the beautiful memories that we were blessed to experience throughout the years.
It is possible to experience grief and gratitude–equally and at the same time.
Acknowledging both feelings simultaneously is an important step for moving toward healing.
There are parts of this journey that I could never prepare for, but there is one thing I have learned and I am grateful for this lesson.
The same God who is with us in the good days is the same God who holds us up and sustains us during the not-so-good days.
And for that, I am grateful.