Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Loss Upon Loss

I wrote a lot about grieving after Sharon's death and then it's been radio silence ever since. But I've been journaling a LOT, and talking about all the feelings to people who can handle it. That's been helpful.

But it's not just Sharon's death. It feels like we're facing a season of "loss upon loss". That phrase really struck a chord with me. Reading Marilyn Gardner's post about "Death, Loss and TCK Grief" was quite helpful, especially since it was published on the day Ivan's oldest brother, Lynn, passed away. Lynn had been suffering from Lewy Body dementia and late stage liver disease, so while his death was not unexpected, that didn't make it any less difficult.

And now Ivan's mom has fallen and broken her hip (successful surgery yesterday) so she faces the loss of independence in the days ahead, during healing and rehabilitation, and we have no idea how long it will take.

Gardner writes: "As I've allowed myself to feel, I have opened the door to memories of other times of grieving and other grief patterns that are seemingly unrelated. But grief is grief, and loss is loss. They connect together like a dot to dot child's book, creating a picture that represents something much bigger than just one dot."

There is so much truth in that. 

While journaling, I've begun to see patterns. Something happens that, for some reason, causes certain feelings. I dig deep, trying to figure out why I've reacted the way I have, and what comes to light is something that happened during my younger years, and the more recent event triggered the same feelings as back then.

Life is filled with loss. It's inevitable and hits everyone with equal abandon. We can't protect ourselves from loss, and we can't protect those we love from it. I find it comforting that loss is talked about so much in scripture; honestly, no filters, head-on. God doesn't expect us to slap on a happy face and pretend everything is fine when it's not. He expects us to be honest about our losses, go deep into our grief, always knowing He's right there with us. I'm grateful He showed us His own grief and loss in the Garden of Gethsemane.

No, everything is not fine. And not to make light of things, but young Alexander hit the nail on the head when he said it was a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" and finished by admitting, "My mom says some days are like that". I'd like to add some months, years, even decades are like that. 

But it's hard to admit things aren't okay, that it feels like things are falling apart, that we're lost in our grief and loss. Part of it is our American can-do, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps culture, and I believe part of it is from our church culture that glosses over grief to focus on the joy, joy, joy, joy down in our heart.

Isn't it more honest, more biblical, to face reality as the men and women of scripture did? To acknowledge the depths of our despair, while clinging to the hope that He's hanging onto us when we don't have the strength to hang on ourselves? (Which, if we're honest, is all.the.time.)


The Bug said...

Oh amen & amen! I’m very bad at spending any time sitting with grief & loss - I compartmentalize & wall it off instead. I’m so sorry to hear about Lynn & Mother Hoyt. That is a lot of loss to deal with in a short period of time. I hope her recovery is quicker than might be expected.

rita said...

A memory that surfaced in the days reflecting on my times with Lynn, was the time we traveled back to the US together and I cried and cried. Now I realize that the saying goodbye to family bought up other deeper losses.
Thanks for sharing, Kim. Love you.