Do you see me? I’m the lady at the red light who is dabbing her eyes with a napkin. No, I don’t have allergies or a cold. Did you ever consider that those are tears I am wiping away? Perhaps my thoughts wandered as I was driving and I was having a memory of someone I lost.
Do you see me? I’m the man at the table who lingers a little too long over my dinner. It’s not that I really enjoy your company all that much, but it sure beats going home to an empty house and a closet full of my late wife’s clothes that I can’t bear to let go of.
Do you see me? I am that widow sharing memes on social media about love and loss. Somehow it makes me feel closer, if only for a moment, to the one I lost. I live for the day we are reunited.
Do you see me? I am a tough-as-nails woman who is used to being in control. But I have no control over this. I can’t stop my loved one’s death process, and I am having to learn how to be okay with losing control. I am having to learn how to wear my heart on my sleeve and still be seen as strong.
Do you see us? We are a devastated couple. We tried so hard for so long to experience that pregnancy, but that baby just wasn’t to be. How do we move past this grief? How do we get the courage to try again?
Do you see us? We are the group gathered around the cafe table, all caught in the loneliness of having lost our spouse, seeking companionship from those who have experienced the same. We talk of them and share fond memories, and for a little while they live on in our words.
Do you see us? We are family, yet today marks the anniversary of one who went too soon. We share the photos, pledging to never forget, and try to somehow not feel guilty for still being in this world.
Do you see us? We are just kids. We don’t really understand about loss and grief. All we know is we miss our person. We want to talk about him, but when we do, our mama cries. Then we feel guilty, so we keep quiet, holding our memories close to our heart.
To the world, we look okay. But on the inside we are struggling. Do you see our struggle? Do you even notice? There is pain all around us. Everywhere we look, people are suffering silently from grief and loss. Some are holding on by a thread, taking each day as it comes, waiting for someone to acknowledge their pain. Others are more verbal about it, but their words don’t quite match their inner pain.
I have found through my own recent experience of too many losses in too little time that grief can be all-consuming if we let it. It is a constant battle to acknowledge your grief, believe it is necessary, yet not let it take over your every thought. It is a fine balancing act between letting yourself experience the loss and moving forward.
How do you do it? For me, the answer is simple. God has some beautiful words on grief that are found in the pages of His precious message to us. The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed spirit. (Psalm 34:18). Thank you Lord that just like a protective father, you stay close to us in our storms and valleys. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3). Thank you Jesus that our hearts can find healing in You. Thank you that you are able to take a broken heart and piece it back together. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4). How beautiful it is when we feel the precious hand of Jesus upon us, bringing us comfort in our pain and sorrow. What a blessing it is to be comforted by our Savior. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). God never leaves us. He walks with us through our darkest places and pulls us back into the light. He holds us in His arms as we battle through our pain, and gives us strength to face each day. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life, (Psalm 119:50). Yes, we grieve. Yes, we feel the pain of loss deep within us. But God promises to be our strength. He promises to never leave us. He promises a joyful reuni9n for all who know Him. It is those promises that keep us moving forward, nudging us back into “living” and learning to find a new “normal” in our days, months, and years.