Last week I talked about being away from family during a major life event. This week I will be continuing the topic with some insights I have had into the grieving process.
Since I came to Portugal in 2008, I have lost two grandparents, my dad’s mom and my mom’s dad. Both times I was not able to get back for the funeral, but because of God’s grace, I was able to see each of them mere months before they died. These are some of the lessons I have learned along the way. I hope they will be a blessing and help to you in a dark time in your life.
Time is precious
Time is fleeting. We only have so much of it before it is gone. Each day is only 24 hours long. Each week 7 days, etc. The good news is every person is given the same time, the same 24 hours and the same 7 days. The bad news is we never know when our time is up. Because of this we need to make the most of the time we have been given. Even though I was unable to go to either funeral, I was able to spend some time with each grandparent shortly before their deaths. Spending time with someone shows you care. Remember, you only have so much time and to use some of that time to talk and be with someone else tells that person that you care.
The grieving process is a process
It never hit me until I was actually going through this process that it was a process. This means it will take time to heal. The length of time is different for everyone. The really curious thing I discovered during the process was that you could go days and be fine then the next day you are in tears. With the recent death of my grandfather, I find myself at odd times being reminded of him and then breaking out in tears. It does not happen every day, just at times when I am reminded that he is no longer on earth.
The process is different for everyone
Everybody is different. We are all unique. Because of this, the way we handle grief will be different for each person. I am able to cry and relieve the sadness. A friend of mine tends to bottle it all up. Keeping busy is a relief for some. Some are prostrate and have difficulty getting through each day. The important part of this process is to let yourself grieve, realize it will not heal overnight, and even when it does heal, there will still be a scar.
As a missionary, I am in a unique position. Family and friends, who live with and around the departed family member, deal with the loss every day. They become accustomed to that person’s absence. Missionaries do not have this opportunity and so when they go back home, they are hit with the loss all over again. This is a part of the process I had never considered until I spent Christmas with my sister’s family in the same town my Grandmother had lived in. While the family in the area had become accustomed to her absence, I had not. I have to say Christmas that year was not one of my favorites.
The best thing I have learned through this process, it does get better. Even though there will always be that scar, there will come a time when you can say, ‘I still miss them, but I can go on. I may not be the same because this has changed me, but I can face going on with my life. One of the things that has helped me this time, has been this blog. Being able to write about losing my grandfather has helped me deal with the grief of losing him.
On a side note, due to an upcoming surgery, next week’s blog post may be a day or two late.