While my husband and children weren’t directly affected by the recent loss of my best friend, my grief has still been a family affair because it affected them. My family has walked this grief journey with me in amazing ways. Their support has not made the pain go away nor could they fill the hole in my heart, but their patience and acceptance of my journey towards grieving with hope is priceless.
Several years ago we lost my father-in-law to cancer, just as I lost my grandfather in 2003. It was my children’s first encounter with loss and grief. As a parent it was a difficult road to walk, especially since I don’t handle grief in the best way. They didn’t express their grief in the same ways that I do, but they still needed time to process their loss. My son clung to a few shirts that once had belonged to his grandfather, while my daughter held tightly to a statue of a puffin that belonged to him. The amount of time that each of them needed was different, because they are each their own person. Each of my children wanted to talk about the loss of their grandfather in different ways and at separate times. I had to recognize the moments when they simply needed space and when they needed a shoulder to cry on.
My husband’s loss was even more different than my own, mostly because we were both raised differently. I quickly learned that he needed quiet time to himself to process and didn’t require conversation to help with his grief. While I longed to be able to support him and talk with him about the loss of his dad, I learned that what I saw as support wasn’t what he needed.
How I’m Learning to Grieve with Hope This Week
When I lost my best friend this year, my children were the only ones home at the time I received the news. They saw and heard me at the most painful moment of my grief. Looking back I am amazed at how well they handled me locking myself in the bathroom and crying at the top of my lungs. There was no pressure from them to stop. They did not knock on the door or come in and ask me what was wrong. They gave me the space that I needed at that time.
Shortly after I began speaking of memories that included my best friend, my daughter brought me a drawing that she made me of her. It was a picture of her welcoming me to heaven, best friends reunited once again. It was given with so much love and support that it made me smile though my heart was still breaking.
My husband has been so supportive of me as I’ve walked this journey of grief. He has allowed me time to cry at what must seem like the most unusual moments. Late at night he has changed his routine to ensure that I’m comfortable before coming to bed. A favorite summer past time of ours is something I can’t even think about enjoying right now and he has been completely understanding. He has not pressured me in any way to move beyond my grief at a rate faster than what I can handle.
Grief truly is a family affair.
Even if not everyone in the family is personally experiencing the loss, they are still a part of it because the grief affects them through the one that they love. I have been exceptionally blessed to have a family that has supported me, even when they couldn’t directly understand how I was processing my loss. Their support has been key to my journey towards grieving with hope. Without it I could not have made the progress that I’ve made.
I’ve known for most of my life that I haven’t ever handled grief properly. That is why I began this journey towards learning to grieve with hope with my besties. We’re in the midst of our book study through Grieving with Hope, by Samuel J. Hodges.
Every week we’ll each be sharing our thoughts on the same chapter. It is our hope and prayer that as we learn to grieve holding tightly to the hope we have in Jesus Christ that others will be encouraged and strengthened that are on their own grief journey.