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Grief’s Ability to Hang Around

2008 March 18
by Mike

A friend of mine saw an 84-year-old patient and asked her how she was doing. “I’m a bit sad today,” she said. “It’s the anniversary of my daughter’s death.”

He immediately imagined what it must be have been like for her to lose her adult daughter. He wondered if this daughter had her own children and perhaps grandchildren.

“I’m so sorry. How long ago did she pass away?”

“Sixty-two years ago,” the woman replied.

Yes, grief is like that. She’d never forgotten that precious three year old who’d been struck by a disease that today could have been treated routinely.

– – – –

“Every Sunday I preach to at least three people who are dying of something. My general rule of thumb is this: any sermon I preach has to be worth the time they are giving to it.” Barbara Brown Taylor

13 Responses leave one →
  1. March 18, 2008

    When our son was dying I remember a friend at church who ministered to us. Her son had died 25 years earlier. I remember wondering then what it would be like to have lost a child that long ago. Now at 15 years later I have a bit of an idea and am now making an attempt at wondering what it will be like 62 year later. I’ll definitely concur that grief does indeed have the ability to hang around. It changes as you adjust to it, but it is always there.

  2. Jeff permalink
    March 18, 2008

    I don’t have any children, so I’m not sure I can relate to the concept of losing a child…

    But I do know from personal experience that guilt hangs around, also… I have done some terribly selfish things in my life (for which I have asked and received God’s forgiveness), but the memory of the selfishness hangs around like a shadow, ready to darken any day…

    So maybe that’s partly what guilt is, grieving for the person who never was allowed to become because of short-sighted decisions made in the past… Just like a mother grieves for a child who never had the opportunity to grow up…

  3. Greg permalink
    March 18, 2008

    I just finished reading “The Shack” and his phrase “The Great Sadness” has really impacted me. Though I don’t feel sad all the time, I certainly feel the weight or waves of sadness that I now label as “The Great Sadness”

  4. March 18, 2008

    I’ve started writing this comment many times. Nothing I put in this box touches what I want to say, though. I wish I had worthy words.

  5. Springfield permalink
    March 18, 2008

    Today marks the day my mother would have turned 58. We buried her in June 2005 after cancer had worn the flesh down after 14 long years. As I rejoice in her salvation, I grieve her loss. It amazes me each time grief reminds me it is still hanging around, peace and hope are always there to meet the challenge of the day.

  6. Leland permalink
    March 18, 2008

    Viktor Frankl’s book “Meaning of Life” and all his works have deeply impacted my unanswered questions of suffering and grief.

    He survived 4 concentration camps in WWII and he lost his wife and numerous relatives during the Holocaust. He writes with an authority, realness and humility in his ability to find meaning amongst inhumane suffering.

  7. Craig permalink
    March 18, 2008

    As always, thanks Mike, and for sharing your friend’s story. And equally impacting were the previous comments, like Jeff’s, which took us in a different direction. And Greg, I’m near the end of “The Shack.” It’s pretty weighty, too, isn’t it.

  8. March 18, 2008

    Grief is suffocating, real true suffocation – but the suffocation lightens as time goes on, but the void and pain, the memory of losing part of oneself doesn’t. For some of us, it’s too difficult to talk about very much.

  9. Leland permalink
    March 18, 2008

    Frankl’s book is “Man’s Search for Meaning” not as otherwise indicated by me, “Meaning of Life”.

  10. March 18, 2008

    What I do want to say is that I am thankful for a God who understands grief, great sadness and heartbreak, even the loss of a child, in a very real and personal way.

  11. March 18, 2008

    about 12 years ago, my wife and I were preparing for our first child when we suffered a miscarriage.I was surprised at the depth of grief that I felt at the time and still feel even all these years later. Even though we have 4 beautiful children now I still miss the one who was never born.I think you can reconcile yourself to grief but it will never completely go away.

  12. Peggy n Texas permalink
    March 19, 2008

    There are those that greive more than others. There are those that have lost more than others.

    My mother lost a baby at a few days old. My mother lost a foster baby at 6 years old. My mother lost a grown, married son at 36 years old. She still greives today in a different way for each of those loses. Yet, she continues to function in her role of taking care of my dad and living her daily life.

    I, on the other hand, nearly fell apart when a dear friend moved many years ago. My husband helped me realize that it was better to have had the friendship and then she move and it change as opposed to never having had the relationship in the first place. It was hard to lose that close connection, but I have to say that we are still close friends, just the relationship has changed over the years, probably deeper on some levels than it would have been otherwise.

    I see death of a loved one in much the same way. I am thankful for the years with my brother and miss him. But I would rather miss him now than to not have had him in my life at all.

  13. March 20, 2008

    so true I am a big believer in you never recover you never get over you are never the same but you learn somehow with the grace of God to cope and continue to walk through each day never being the same again

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