When the journey of grief has just begun

While perusing my 2005 diary for anything unrelated, I was drawn to the following entry from August 24:

“The grieving process has just begun and I will anticipate its steps now. I had an anger event yesterday. You know, with everything I have (the girls) I still wish I wasn’t living my life right now. I feel like a fool… Let me say it again, I feel like a fool.”

I read those words and feel how sad they are. My three daughters were the only reason I didn’t make an attempt on my life nearly two years earlier, when another season of deepest wrong had begun. I found then, and even now, the foolishness and confusion of having three beautiful daughters, and yet their presence didn’t seem enough. How the hell could that be? Who and what would I have been without them? (Of course, my daughters were enough, but this loss was because of something I didn’t have and couldn’t have right now.) as we struggle through a quagmire of confusion, guilt, and fear on our way back to a sense of mental, emotional, and spiritual normality.

There is an insurmountable and most discouraging nature in the beginning of a grievance. And it’s worse when we’ve delayed the process for years only to acknowledge that we haven’t made any progress because significantly important details weren’t addressed. In fact, we can feel very foolish for having wasted those days or years!

We’ve all heard that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but the pain of affliction marks a beginning like defeat before we’ve even begun. It’s all so overwhelming, and there are levels of being overwhelmed that compound the enormity of the long road ahead of us. And the most overwhelming is the current tsunami of wanting this reality to end.

However, still, we must begin. We must move away from the past in such a way that we recognize it as the launch pad for the active present and the anticipated future. We must believe for a future that is held back by hope. We must begin the honest journey of grieving our feelings and all the maladaptive responses we will experience. We must know how messy it will feel and how ugly we will feel.

And we must have the wisdom to live life one day at a time, and know that this too shall pass.

Finally, we must muster a supporting cavalry, a guiding assembly, a cohort of fellow travelers to help us endure all the way through such a truncated journey.

There is something good about the beginning of a grievance trip. We put the stake in the ground. Like the times in my life when I’ve wondered what was wrong and why I was depressed; What a relief it was to say, ‘I have depression!’ because it meant that he was beginning a journey to get out of it.

In the beginning, we finally have sight for the journey, and where there is a beginning, we believe for an end.

When you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, you realize the grievance is just beginning. The first time feels like a hole we can’t get out of. But God has given it to us so that we can learn, as others have, how to do it, through the slow but sure passage of time.

Beginning the grievance journey is a crucial means to an inevitable end: we arrive, more healed than when we started.

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