February 09 2023 – Jamie Blahun
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For as long as I can remember I lived with a deep fear of what would happen to me if my mother died. As I grew older that fear definitely diminished and a sort of peaceful acceptance took its place.
Maybe partly due to maturity as well as strength I gained from my own healing journey but whatever it was I grew out of my panic phase and into a more realistic view of life and death.
Maybe you have had a similar journey. Similar feelings.
But when the day came, one day before my 60th birthday, I found myself far less prepared than I thought I would be.
As I sit here now, 22 days later, I am realizing that there are just some things in life we cannot prepare for. We must simply love who we love with all the love afforded us and in the end accept grief as a beautiful testament to that love.
These past few days have felt like grief AND love have been my enemy as I cannot seem to focus or find even the smallest ounce of joy. I find myself in a constant state of waffling between “ok” and weeping from the depths of my soul and back to “ok” again, barely keeping it together.
It is my tendency to ‘buck up’ in life, to put on big girl panties and carry on so I have found this grieving process not only tiring but also annoying in some odd way.
I decided that maybe writing would help me sort through some of these emotions or at least give voice to them. I have always been a person that has to get things out. Although even that right now feels hard for me. I prefer to hideaway in my house alone. Talking to no one. That is also a tendency of mine when I’m hurting. Like, do not come near me! But here I am, googling “how long does grief last” like there’s a one size fits all answer - but there isn’t.
And so I went to scripture to find a verse I could hang on to and psalm 73:26 stood out to me. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to grieve loss. As a matter of fact it’s very very human. And even divine.
It doesn’t mean I’m not thankful for all that I have like I also was thinking. Like why am I sad look at all I have- and I do! I am so blessed! But that does not mean that my mom didn’t fill a place in my heart only she could and now that place feels empty because it does. My heart is also filled with many things that I am so grateful for but for now at least, that hole is new and fresh and empty. And I am feeling it big time.
Will the clouds part and the sun come out again? Absolutely! I know it will. It always does. Would my mom want me to be sad?
She would understand.
She would soooo understand. Mom was never afraid of real emotions. That’s one of the incredible gifts she gave me. “Don’t hide from your feelings, they’re just feelings so feel them” she would say. She would hug me as I cry and tell me it’s all going to be ok but it’s also ok to cry.
And it is.
I just had to write because I think most of us are afraid of grief. Afraid it will swallow us up if we allow ourselves to be ok with it or don’t try to fix it or hurry it along. At least that was my fear. Like what if my joy doesn’t return? But it will. Joy will always return if we do not run from the sadness, allow ourselves to feel it, cry it out. I guess it just took me by surprise for some strange reason. Surprise at how loss can make you feel like somebody else moved into your body for a while. So that’s where I’m at for today. It’s made me slow down, ponder, feel, and walk (not run) through it.
And just as the psalmist spoke, I too bear witness that no matter how my flesh and my heart fail- the LORD will be my strength through it all. Rest in Peace mom. I will love you forever and ever and I WILL see you again…Xx