Sixteen years ago today, our lives were forever changed by the death of our youngest son Jamie.  As our minds tried to grasp the shock and horror of what had happened – grief instantly flooded the room.  On that day, and for many days and years later – grief filled the room.  Over the years there have been times when the grief was so strong that it acted like a bully – intimidating me with its’ power and control that it wielded over me. Doing its utmost to convince that this was all there was and that our lives were over.

It filled the room in such a way that it caused isolation from others, which led to anxiety and depression.  For me, grief has taken on many forms over the years. Some of which included – staying in bed all day, crying uncontrollably, unrelenting brain fog, sleepless nights, struggling to eat, irritability, numbness, shutting down and no desire to live.

Earlier this week our family got together to enjoy a meal and some fun fellowship together.  I couldn’t help but think of how different my grief now looks.  Grief was still in the room, but grief no longer had the power to isolate me from others in the room.  Grief no longer made the conversations awkward.  Grief was still in the room, but the tears were no longer uncontrollable.  Grief was still in the room but the space it occupied was much smaller.  It was no longer able to control me.  Because while grief was in the room, so was love and joy and laughter (without guilt).  I remember the first time I truly laughed after Jamie died and grief did its’ best to convince me that I should never laugh again.

The love that I had felt for other family members had never really left the room, but it was diminished at times simply because grief doesn’t respect boundaries – it overshadows everything.

Since relationships are the only thing we carry with us to Heaven, I believe grief never really ends on this earth, but it can and should change over time.  Paul encouraged the church in Thessalonica to “not grieve without hope.”

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” 1 Thessalonians 4:13, KJV

I chose to grieve Jamie with Hope – the Hope that I had put in Christ since a young girl.  Grief mocked my hope.  To hold on to that hope meant working through my grief over the years to find a state of peace and acceptance over the loss our family suffered.  It has required a lot of mental, physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual work.  Because grief is hard work.

Grief is still in the room with me today, but it looks so very different.  There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t shed a tear over the life I once had.  But grief no longer keeps me from living the life God has called me to. My Hope in Christ keeps me from spending the day in bed to now having a calendar that stays quite full.  Some days my grief takes on the form of hiking, bike riding or journaling.  Grief is still in the room, but I control it – it no longer controls me.

If you’re grieving the loss of someone today, let me encourage you to do the hard work that grief requires.  So that one day you will be able to tell grief just how much space it can take up in the room.

 

My Hope Endures,

Laura Holmes, LPC

Founder/Ephraim Ministries