“While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.”
Grief is defined as an intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one, especially by death. In one way or another we all have had our share, and there will surely be more to come. I once read “To spare oneself from grief at all costs can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.”
Dealing with grief is a healing process which has various stages. From what I’ve learnt it varies from one person to another and obviously from one circumstance to another. One common factor seems to be that it takes ‘Time’ and God’s grace to overcome it. Good friends around you also help a lot. I am in no way an expert to talk about grief, but here are some points, which I would like to share from experience.
Almost ten years ago, a very good friend of mine passed away. She was a special person I dare say ‘one in a million’. A friend loved by all, always there, ready to help everyone, giving good advice and being a good example. What made her more special to me was that she did all this without blowing any trumpets. Being one of her closest friends, somehow, I felt I had to act strongly in front of others, even though on the inside I was carrying a mixture of feeling ranging from shock, sadness, anger and guilt.
For two years I managed to keep these feelings at bay, surfacing only from time to time especially during the masses we organized in her memory. However, on her second Anniversary it was getting too much. I felt terrible. Besides feeling bad owing to the fact that I still had not dealt with grief itself, I also felt bad because in my opinion, even though I should have had ample time to overcome it by then, still wasn’t managing.
I found myself sharing my feelings with someone, whom till then I didn’t know much. I ended up talking about everything related to this great loss, the questions, the thoughts and the feelings, including things which I didn’t even know existed in my mind until I said them. This happened when I was following a motto to ‘keep my deepest feelings to myself’ after over the years I trusted the wrong people time and again. Finding the right person to listen to me and actually talking it out was a real blessing to me and it was the beginning of the healing process, not to mention the beginning of a new friendship. However, at that point, feelings of anger were still very present. Once I was told that it was time to “Give her up to Jesus and release her”.
Time and prayer were the right medicine for the process to continue. The Bible helped a lot, especially with quotes like “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” – Psalm 48:14 and “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honour and comfort me once again.” – Ps 71:20-21.
By time I started to look at things from another perspective. The anger had changed to gratitude. When I realised how blessed I am in having had her as my friend, even though the friendship was cut short by our timing. In a world where true friends are not so common, thinking of all those who have not a single true friend and of others who believe they have friends but are later disappointed in discovering that in the hour of need they are on their own… Definitely I have been blessed!
“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5