|Image from relationadvisors.com|
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Growing with Grief
It has been four months since I have made a new friend - Grief. Not that I ever welcomed her into my life, or that I asked to hang around, but she decided to make herself comfortable and stay on.
I soon got comfortable with her and somehow I realised that till the day that I die, she will be my constant companion.
Many don't realise it and tell me that with time, she will become a stranger and slowly fade away. However, those who told me so, probably have never lost a piece of their hearts before. There are both good and bad things about grief. The good, I always tell others, is that life will never get worse. The bad and saddest thing is, unfortunately, life will just go on.
Since my last blog entry, I said that I was staying in my tomb for quite a bit. Being in my tomb was probably like being at the bottom of the mountain, seeing and learning different views which being on the mountain top will never be able to help me see.
1) We often credit God way tooooo much for our own good.
In the past four months, I kept hearing people commenting about how God has a better or greater plan for me. Like how He will never give me a cross way too big for me to bear. *Rolls eyes* (apparently my sarcasm did not die with Philip)
That initially made me wonder what did I do so wrong or so right that God decided to give me such a big cross. (I mean it would be wayyyyyyyyy easier to love God if He could just reward me with a big lottery win) But it seemed that because humans need to have an explanation for everything, we console ourselves by telling us that God can't be that cruel to us.
Or how maybe God was just doing me a favour by saving me a greater heartache and taking Philip to a better place now. (Of which I smiled and decide to walk away)
Unfortunately, I didn't do anything right (or wrong) to have what I got. It was all the while going to be my life. God didn't give me the cross. He did however allow it to happen and with it He gave me the right people to journey with and watch out for me. The right enough raw ingredients of hope, faith and grace to recognise that there is something to look forward to even if I were to die tomorrow. (Which obviously I hope I don't) And from those raw ingredients, hopefully it will grow and become a testimony that He had never abandoned me.
2) Grief was never meant to imprison a soul
I shared with some friends whom I still meet up with that "Call me if you need me" is probably one of the worst lines I would want to hear in times of grief from a friend. Not many realise that the person whom they say it to hardly use that "call me" card.
Many friends thought I needed time and left me alone. I don't blame them for personally death isn't something many are comfortable to deal with. The unfortunate thing was, not many realised that I didn't need time alone or to be left alone... I needed them. Unfortunately, being in your own tomb, causes one to look inward, at one's pain, one's misery and just at oneself.
I became selfish and excused myself from many of the gatherings they have organised. Afterall, I thought whether I appeared or not, the gathering would still happen, so why should I go? The gathering seemed to fulfill their need of void of boredom rather than comforting me in my loss.
Yet, I learnt that the purpose of grief wasn't to highlight the unfairness of life, but to emphasize the importance of joy. It does seem ironic, but people seem to appreciate the gift of joy more when it comes from someone who would be filled with pain. It was as if many aspired to want to be joyful than be cynical.
Just like because of Easter and Good Friday, we can appreciate the gift of Christmas (cuz if not, it's just another baby's birthday?) And so with pain, one learns the magic of joy.
3) Life is better when you don't need answers
After Philip died, I wondered if I had done enough. The memories of having him in my arms broke my heart, but the "what ifs" I had killed me. "What if we decided to do chemotherapy?", "What if we started treatment earlier" or "What if he was around still?". These questions get worse when you grief somehow.
Till now, I can't tell you why Philip was given to me only for 6 months. I can't tell you also why God decided to allow one to go through disasters or any calamity. And for the rest of my life, I would probably be pondering on that just like how Mary did till the day she died. She who survived through the death of her spouse and son would probably wonder what did she say yes to. She was afterall (just) doing God's work and she got everything seemingly against her.
But her doubts, questions and heartaches never made her think twice in who she believed in. And the sooner one realises that one can never answer (and not need to answer) all the questions in life, the sooner you will be able to appreciate life and its surprises better.
Letting God be God was one of the hardest thing I learnt in 2019. It probably gets harder as we age because we start to attach job scopes and images to what God has to be in order to be "God". But we forget that we are not God and everything is a gift. All my life I have been taught to pray and get what I want, but now a wise priest has told me to start wanting what I got.
I learnt though that what He has taken will never be greater than what He will give. So be comforted that He is a wayyyyyy better God than the one we have in mind.