A necessary part of my work healing from childhood sexual abuse has been learning to grieve the losses. Intentionally seeing what was taken from me and allowing myself to experience grief over it.
I don't know a lot about grief. I just know how it feels inside of me. I have heard that we all grieve differently and I suppose that means there is no right way or wrong way to do it.
We can be sad about circumstances, but I think cathartic grief comes when we identify what the loss means for us. Whether it's loss of innocence, loss of trust, loss of relationship, or physical loss, as in death, I believe part of healing is understanding the weight of its impact.
"Losses do that. One life-loss can infect the whole of a life. Like a rash that wears through our days, our sight becomes peppered with black voids. Now everywhere we look, we only see all that isn't: holes, lack, deficiency."
Last year my family experienced a tremendous amount of loss, most notably, my mother-in-law's death from cancer. She loved Jesus, so we celebrate her home-going and know she is where she belongs. But for the family, learning how to live life without her has had a tremendous impact on all of us.
Grief is raw and nasty at first. While the rest of the world lives like it's just another day, you must reconcile that life has changed. And making that adjustment takes time and patience.
We pine for what we have lost. We wish, for own sakes, it could be different. We beg for that mythical time machine to transport us back for just one more day, one more hour, or even to change it.
There are supposedly five stages of grief (denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). I googled them once and truth be told I'm not sure I know what they all look like.
I know denial well. It was my friend for a good part of my young life. I think we can get stuck there, in the not dealing, because it feels the safest. But you can only hide from the truth for so long before reality finds you. And what happens then?
"You will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through. It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly — that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp."
We have all experienced loss. For some of us it is a new wound. For others, life has marched onward and raw has been replaced by a dull ache, a longing that never quite goes away.
I believe grieving losses is a necessary part of intentional living. It takes purpose to grasp the depth and magnitude of each loss and grieve over its impact.
And there is healing on the other side that helps you, as Anne Lamott says, "learn to dance with the limp."
This is a post in a series called, 31 days of Intentional Living. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith