Frozen Tears: Dealing with loss during the holidays!

It’s been only a few days…

Christmas is the day after tomorrow, yet, with grandma not here, it doesn’t feel like the holiday is close at all.

The grieving process is different with Grandma Price.  The timing of finding out about her cancer…the quickness of her departure….the approaching of the holiday season…

I find myself…
…not broken down
…not frantic
…not consumed in emotion.

I’m, well, “reflective.”

It’s the only word I know to use right now.  It is the only adequate word that can describe my state of spirit.  I can’t say her death has dampened the holidays.  I think it’s given much more perspective than ever.  So, with a couple hours to write, I thought I’d ramble a bit before the funeral.

5 thoughts from the past few days…

1 – Allow people to grieve.  Grief is a very natural and perfectly acceptable thing for us as humans to feel. Eugene Peterson said,

“We don’t become more spiritual by being less human.”

Not sure why people are against the process of grief. Grieving isn’t a lack of faith in Jesus.  It’s the expression of sting that death leaves upon our flesh.  Grieving may include tears.  It may not.  What you need to do to process your grief may not be the same as other people.  It doesn’t mean it’s wrong (or right for that matter). As long as it’s not destructive/harmful, let people grieve the way they need to.

My grief over Grandma Price is different from what I went through with my other grandparents.  I don’t understand why it’s different.  I had moments of tears shed in private.  But, publicly, the emotions have been at peace.  My family, as individuals, are responding differently.  None of the responses are wrong. They’re different.  And that’s okay.

2 – Grief should be a place to visit and not to live. The death of my grandmother should not and cannot be allowed to rob me of the life I have left.  There is a season for everything, Within Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we are told,

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die

I miss hearing the loud voice of Grandma speaking over the other family members because she couldn’t hear to well.  I’ll miss seeing her fall asleep in front of the TV.  But grief is not a place for me to stay.  It’s a season I must go through.  It’s a season that, in the world, is inevitable. But the promise we have in Christ is there is joy on the other side.  (Psalm 30:1-5).

3 – There are no magic words to make grief disappear.  I understand the scriptures.  I’ve studied them, preached them, counseled with them, and encouraged people with them.  They are a comfort in the midst of grief…but they don’t HIDE the grief.  The scriptures give me PERSPECTIVE through the grief.

God’s Word is more reliable than what my feelings. It gives me the vision I need to have when my emotions/feelings are everywhere.  I lean on the scriptures to help align my heart and mind with the promise of His presence.  Grief is the result of brokenness.  God is never so close to us as when we are in the place of brokenness (Psalm 34:18; Matthew 5:4).

4 – Life is short…embrace people.  Life is too brief to live in bitterness and anger.  I’ve heard it said,

“Bitterness is a like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Drama is stupid.  I won’t play that game. Lingering on old issues, makes you, well, old.  Bitterness takes years off of your life and harden’s your heart.  It wears on your soul.  I’m convinced one of the greatest unsaid epidemics that is killing individuals, let alone families, is unforgiveness.  It’s time to move on and let go.  I’m thankful for the amazing wife, children, and family that has been a tremendous source of encouragement and strength (not just to me but to others).  I’ve seen family members step up during this difficult season and go above and beyond to be there for grandma.  They’re an amazing reminder: embrace people, shun the drama.

5 – The presence of Christ cannot be underestimated and/or replaced.  Life hurts.  Sometimes it just sucks. But he is Emmanuel, God WITH us. As stated on Sunday, he is not…

…God someday with us
…God sometimes with us
…God hopefully with us

His is WITH us.  Never abandoned.  Never alone.  I have moments of not sensing His presence and not hearing His voice. But those are not sufficient proofs that I have ever been alone.  Peace is recognizing the presence of God is with me regardless of what I feel or what I sense.  My joy isn’t built on the fault-line of my feelings.  It stable on the rock-solid foundation of who He is.

This Jesus is who Grandma Price trusted in.  This is who I’ve given my life to.  And He is the one who will lead us through and lead us forward.  Today I head into a service to honor her. But, even more importantly, I move forward into a life that honors the savior that she and I both live for.

I love you grandma.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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