“Please don’t ever tell someone to be grateful for what they have left until they’ve had a chance to mourn what they’ve lost. It will take longer than you think is reasonable, rational or even right. But that’s ok.”
— Kay Warren
DEATH AND LOSS are the trappings of a living death as we survive those who are gone, without a sense that we are surviving at all. What a tragedy it is that there is a life – lives, plural – that must live on past the loss. The Kay Warren quote – just an excerpt – marked the imminent approach of the 12-month mark since the loss of her and her husband, Rick’s, son, Matthew in April 2013. Of course, they haven’t ‘moved on’. How could they control their own grief process – as if they were God himself – and as if they could control the expression of their love for their son.
There’s something about loss that’s indescribable, irreconcilable, wholly mysterious, intensely private, and always underestimated.
There’s something about loss that’s untenable as we move forward, forever misshapen because of what cannot be turned back. There’s something about loss that mystifies and terrifies.
There’s something about loss,
As we lay, turn and toss,
It always takes far too long.
To recover from heartache,
Isn’t something you make,
Into anything ever right or wrong.
If we loved extravagantly we will grieve with whelps unending; our soul will always cry out, and that’s no unreasonable expectation. Loss is a requiem. It brings us into the present moment with every sense of heartache we can perceive. But, with time, and the reshaping of our identity to absorb such a thing – in our own time – our loss comes to mean something.
Love is an extravagant thing. It has to be. We wouldn’t get past the starting line if we protected ourselves against love, to relate in only safe and anti-relational ways. No, love requires our all. Yet, when that love has gone permanently, we have no recourse for redesign. Grief is a consequence of that love.
As we grieve with those who grieve, we mourn in commensuration for their loss, and to be a silent but supportive witness to their pain. We are there in a support frame without any sense to intrude. We are respectful, noting that silence is generally a very acceptable way of communicating.
Let us be there for the person who is mourning. God, help us to know how to interact in meaningful, non-intrusive ways. Make us to feel as they feel. And help us to get out of their way. AMEN.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.