Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grief and Perseverance

20 years ago today, I was halfway around the world. I had just arrived in Taipei, Taiwan for a visit with my grandparents. Dad, Nancy, Nate, Elizabeth, Anna and myself....we were all tuckered out. It was a long trip and we were excited to be there. I was 9 years old.

The phone rang. It was Grandaddy, and he asked to speak to my Dad. I remember seeing his face turn from a jolly "we're here!" look to a horrified look of disbelief. He hung up the phone. The entire room was frozen. We didn't know what was wrong. He brought my sisters and I into the adjacent bedroom and he said those words I won't ever forget. The words I am sure that no Father ever wants to share with his children. "Your mom has passed away."


Grief is an interesting thing. Each of us has our own way to deal. Some ways are better than others, but we all mange loss and pain so differently. First comes denial, then anger, then pain, then depression; and the cycle repeats. I was reading an article recently where someone was quoted as calling grief "a bittersweet beauty." He was talking about how grief shouldn't be banished. That as humans we must love it, share it, understand it and use it. And that is why on this 20th anniversary of the largest loss in my life, I can reflect.

I have talked many times in this forum about that loss. About how horrible it has been for me to live through, and how tremendous the feelings still are. There is no doubt that the sadness still lingers. But really, as the years go on, I realize that this grief will never really end. Instead, it will cycle through, and each year leads to more understanding. I have gained so much that is positive from her loss. I can actually say that now. I still miss her terribly, but the things I have learned about life, and myself, and this whole big plan are a bit clearer to me now. It's like seeing the lighthouse through the dense fog. And it only took 20 years to get here!

There is not doubt that I am sad today. I am. But, I haven't cried yet. I always kept my feelings nestled inside, only for me to know about, only for me to see. I cry in my own space, on my own time. It's just how I deal. I miss her today. I do. I miss all that she has missed by not being here, but I know that she is in a far superior place than this Earth. And one day, I will get to see her again. There is no greater hope than that right there.

I am going to leave you now with this YouTube clip. A good friend sent it to me not that long ago, and it really sums up a lot of the learning that I have done over the last 20 years. No one understands this kind of grief like God does. He has been in my shoes. He has felt this pain. And somehow that makes it feel so much better.


The Loucks Family said...

Out of the mouths of babes Em, powerful stuff, isn't it? I saw that YouTube video for the first time about 2-3 weeks ago by myself at my computer and there I sat bawling, a complete mess. That little boy is such a true testiment to having "childlike faith" so innocent, so pure - not complicated or overthought. Thank you for sharing it with everyone, I think everyone SHOULD see it.

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother Emily. You are such a strong woman and I think it is because God has surrounded you with such an amazing support system. It could not have been easy losing your mother and I am sure it never gets easier and the grief is always there. I know she's looking down at you from heaven though and it always with you and watching you go through such a miraculous time in your life, I'm sure she is so proud of you.

Christina said...

I'm thinking of you!

Jill said...

So sorry about your mum. Mums should be old and grey when we tell them good-bye. {hug}

You look lovely in your new pic.

Beth said...


Bob L said...

Keep persevering my precious one. The future is key.