Good Grief

Ecclesiastes 3:4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”

“How can something that hurts this bad, be good?”  That was the first question my wife, Joann, asked me when our youngest son, Johnny was born with “multiple unique malformations.”  At that point in time we had no idea how severe his health problems were, or if he would even survive.  We were caught completely off guard.  We knew Johnny was a gift sent to us by God, however, when he was born our world was turned upside down and our faith was tested beyond belief.  That was my first real experience with deep grief.

Grief is hard work.  What I mean is, that grief is painful and the process must be done on purpose.  I have read that,  “grief is the process of dealing with the death of a dream.”  We all have times of grief to different degrees and for different reasons.  We can grieve over the loss of a job, a diagnosis, a broken relationship and most commonly the loss of a loved one.

Feelings of deep sadness can flood our souls at any time.  Grief can sneak up on us, or we can expect it to be our companion during special times like, holidays, birthdays or anniversaries.  Many times we suppress our grieve because of the circumstances surrounding our sadness.  The holidays for example can be very sad for those in grief, as the event approaches we anticipate the impending doom.  However, for the benefit of those around us, we temper our grief, not wanting to influence the mood of the day.  So we spend the day keeping our feelings in check, putting on the mask so we wont ruin the day for others.  We will mourn silently and in our heart so others can enjoy the event.  Those of you that have lived through grief understand what I am talking about.

Recently the anniversary of our son, Johnny’s home going took place.  It was three years since he passed.  The anticipation of the anniversary built as the day approached.  I determined in my heart that I would purposely grieve on that day.  I planned to wake up that morning and allow myself  to experience the grief with no restrictions.  Can I tell you that it was the best thing that I could have done for myself!

Joann and I cried together, we talked all about how much we miss Johnny, we made no plans for the day and “leaned into” our grief rather than avoiding it.  There was no need to wear the mask that day.  It was a day to honor the memory of our son and let ourselves be sad.  It was a day of “Good Grief.”  Later in the day we went out, had dinner together and continued to talk about Johnny.  The decision to intentionally grieve was a good one.  It was kind of liberating, and I believe very healing.  Even after all this time there was a need to grieve hard.  I know that it was of great help to us.

Friend, if you are hurting today, don’t avoid the pain, acknowledge it, accept it, lean into it.  Allow yourself to grieve!!  You may be suppressing your grief because of the circumstances you are in.  Find a way to allow yourself to do the work.  The Scripture passage I quoted at the beginning of this post says there is a time to mourn.  Find the time to experience some “Good Grief.”  You wont regret it!!