Life Lessons About Grief

Grief sucks.

Really, I think I could stop there and that would be enough: just recognizing that loss hurts. It hurts emotionally. It creates mental fog and anguish. It affects our physical bodies. It can crush our spirit. Yeah, grief is excruciating.

The most twisted part: the greater you loved, the harder and more awful the grief.

I started this post thinking this would be my November topic, then moved it up to October. Just 2 days into the month I realized and remembered that October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. While that is a mouthful, it’s an important mouthful. Loss is hard enough when everyone around you knows. It has an extra sting when only a few close people know, and you get to fake smile to everyone else.

Today we will be brave and talk about grief. All grief. But know that pregnancy and infant loss is special to me, and we will get there this month specifically. To honor all the little ones that got to be alive just long enough to get to go be with Jesus again.

Grief tells us a loss has occurred.

This loss leaves a hole in the puzzle of our lives. Some people try to consume everything around them to fill the void. And like a black hole, it’s never satisfied.

Life is never the same after loss. We are permanently changed. The best we can do is take a price of cardboard, cut it into the right shape and color it with the memories of the piece that used to be there.

Sometimes that loss is the loss of a hope for the future. It is painful and agonizing to realize a dream will never be a reality. This is loss too though, even if something was not physically lost.

Grief tells us we have loved.

We do not grieve that which we have not loved. The more we give our heart away, the more of it is shattered with loss. It is a painful paradox. We are not whole without love and yet we feel so empty when it is lost.

Grief helps us identify with God.

The separation of humans from God because of sin grieved God. The rampant sin that engulfed the world before the flood grieved God (Gen. 6:6). I can only assume that when Jesus took on our sin at the cross and God had to turn away, that He was grieved.

The hard lesson learned in grief is that through suffering loss, we deepen our well. We deepen our well of compassion for others in hard times. We deepen our well of connection as we receive care in our grief. And most puzzlingly, we deepen our well for love. When we get through surviving grief and come through to thrive, knowing we can thrive again, despite great loss, gives us a greater capacity to give our hearts away in love again.

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