Tuesday, January 8

Inside the Head of a Grieving Person- My Story

To all my precious readers who follow my little blog about the JOY of JESUS where I try to encourage you towards a life that passionately pursues Christ as your joy and treasure, this is for you:

So I haven't been blogging for a while. I haven't been able to write or think clearly. I almost even lost my voice to sing and my joy in painting. It's because I lost my father to lung cancer after Thanksgiving.

Time seemed to have stood still the day my father's cancer returned in late summer. I can remember every detail like it were yesterday. It was a nightmare. The worst of the worse I could never have imagined I would have to walk through. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever thought my father, who never smoked a day in his life and took care of his body, would ever be diagnosed with lung cancer. But, I learned that he was exposed as a child to a family of aunts and uncles who smoked all the time and drove him around in a car with all the windows rolled up. It's the reason him having lung cancer came to make sense to me. It's not fair is it? But it's reality dear sister. And I can't change what God has allowed. I have accepted this loss and am walking through the grieving process in a slow and healthy way holding on so tight to the hand of my sweet Jesus. He is so good. I can testify to that truth!

What's Inside the Head of A Grieving Person? 

I can only speak about myself.
I am sharing this information here so if there is anyone out there who doesn't understand what people are going through when it comes to the grieving process, or if someone is grieving over a loss and needs to know they are not alone can be encouraged, this is the reason for this post.

Sometimes I look like I am doing pretty good. But inside, I am grieving. There are a lot of emotions, life changes, grasping new realities, questions, and thoughts that are taking place in my mind. While the world moves on and the sympathy cards stop coming, I am still missing my sweet daddy. I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I will never see my father here on this earth again. That's a hard truth to swallow. I experience good days and laugh. And then I remember the loss of my father and some days are hard. Very Hard. That remembrance can come through seeing his favorite color which was yellow, hearing a Chuck Berry song in a restaurant or smelling the aroma of Polo cologne. It sometimes can come to me when I see my son using my dad's cane in the house because he wants to be close to his "papaw." It changes and I know it will continue to change. For me, I began grieving when it became evident my father was going to die from lung cancer. That his fight he fought so hard was not making a difference anymore. Everyday he worsened felt like a slow walk toward the grave. This kind of death makes you think about eternity in a way you never have thought about it before. Little things you used to get flustered over are meaningless. I remember one morning looking around at everyone I passed at Target and having the thought, "Their life looks great." People in the store were smiling and shopping. Families were enjoying being together. Fathers were holding their children. But my father was dying. My father was struggling for his life. Life seemed good for them. So it seemed. But not for me. Not for my mom. Cancer became the dark cloud hanging over my family for months. And this time daddy was not going to be healed permanently on this earth. This time my prayers shifted from, "God heal him and give him more time on this earth" to, "Lord, please take him away from this cancer and heal him permanently in Heaven." That's a hard prayer to pray when you're loved one is still with you. It's a hard prayer to pray because it is saying, "LORD, I let them go to You." It's a "letting go" prayer that we don't naturally want to pray.

This has not been a journey I never would have picked nor do I ever wish anyone would have to go through. It is the roughest place I have ever been. And I am not the one who had cancer. Day by day I watched my strong father become weakened by cancer's grip. I watched him willingly submit to the LORD's will without a whimper or curse. Of all things, the LORD has made it evident even as I walked through this hard place that my ministry focus is to teach others about the joy of Jesus. I can tell you dear sister that my greatest test in regards to joy was discovering joy in the midst of a caring for a dying parent. In the hallways of a cold, sterile hospital, I found joy. In the corner of the hospital cafeteria where the food had lost its taste, I found joy. In the hallway of the hospital when a friend called to encourage me over the phone, I found joy. Sitting in the chair next to my father's side, I found joy. On the night my father died and I saw that his spirit was no longer here on earth, that there was no breath coming from his mouth, I found joy. On the day his body was buried in a casket, placed into the ground and I had to say goodbye to the loving face I had known all my life, I FOUND JOY. JOY IN JESUS. I HAVE HAD IT EVER SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL WHO TRUSTED JESUS. AND KNOW IT WAS BECOMING MORE REAL TO ME THAN EVER BEFORE.

God did not create us for death. He created us for life!!! Eternal life!!(John 3:16) And sin has come in and taken over this world. And Jesus IS the only remedy for sin's reconciliation. Jesus is the only way we can get back into a right relationship with God the Father (John 14:6). All my life I have believed this, but now I really know this in a new way. I can sing about heaven now because it is more real to me than ever before. I can read the Bible now with more passion because it is more real to me than ever before. When I think of Heaven now, I used to think about Jesus. But when I think about Heaven now, I think about Jesus and my father. I don't want to live this life on earth anymore in a half-hearted way. I want to live here and go out with a bang and have the Savior say to me when I reach Heaven's gate, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

Oh dear sister, what you believe about heaven is true (Revelation 21:3). Don't lose heart. We really leave this earth and go to be with Jesus if we have trusted Him as our Savior.
What To Say To Someone Who Is Grieving
There is nothing you can say to someone who has lost a loved but, "I am so sorry" and "How are you." You may feel like you need to talk more to say something meaningful to them, but you can't comfort them. Only God can heal the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). You can ask them if they have any needs. You can send them a card when the cards have quit coming. You can bring them flowers when the flowers have stopped coming. You can text them and let them know you prayed for them today. You can go and sit with them or take them to lunch or dinner and let them talk. But there is nothing, nothing you can ever say to make the pain go away. This I believe is where people stumble. It's in our nature to help people and say or do something. But what I want to encourage you to do to those you know who have lost a loved one is to keep them on your radar. To say "hello" to them. To sit by them in church. To walk alongside them and just be. Don't talk. Just listen. And let them know they are still thought about. Still prayed for. Still loved. This is what you can do.
So here I am in a place I never chose but God allowed me and my mom to walk through. My daddy is at peace. He is walking again and cancer can never overtake his body again. I imagine he is talking with Abraham and Moses. He is seeing loved ones he lost long ago and so many other people.... I can't even imagine he is talking to!!! Most of all, He is seeing his faith in living reality color. He is seeing Jesus.
Oh dear Heavenly Father, YOU are still good. Even when we lose our loved ones here on this earth, You are still good. You are still with us. You are still our help. You are still our joy. You are still our hope. You are still Love. We are always on your mind. Our names are written on your hand. Our inheritance is secure and our hope is eternal. You still have purpose for us here on this earth and you will help us find our way through the grieving process. How I thank you for your precious Word. The WORD that gives Life to these dry bones. The Word that is sweeter than honey. The only Word that rejoices our hearts. Oh thank you for leaving us with Your Word. Your Word is from Your very breath which is from your very heart. Thank you we can know your heart. Thank you we can know your mind. Thank your we can know truth in a world that makes up its own truth. May every person who reads this post be blessed, be encouraged, be enlightened, be hopeful that there is so much more to life than paying bills, going on vacation, and having a nice home. May you awaken hearts to know you more and love you more. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen
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1 comment:

  1. Trying to see if you can leave a comment here. Some people have shared with me they have had trouble. Here goes a test run sweet friends! Ashley


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