“When someone dies you don’t get over your grief by forgetting, you get through your grief by remembering.” – Author Unknown
A friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook the other day. It’s an accurate statement of the grief journey.
The quote reminded me of how remembering my grief was the path that opened my heart back up to a love I had for writing, a love that had been buried away for years under the rubble of life.
It all started one afternoon when I looked back and remembered the first anniversary of my mom’s death. When I did, I decided to share my thoughts in a note on Facebook. Here is the beginning of that note, written about five years ago.
July 4, 1992. I remember this date well. It was 10 days prior to the 1 year anniversary of my mom’s death on July 14, 1991. I was on my way to a 4th of July celebration and suddenly broke down in tears. One thought came to mind that completely terrified me… What if someday I forget her?” It really upset me. So much so, that I turned the car around and drove back home. Fortunately, my oldest brother and sister-in-law were in town that week visiting. I got home and she was there. Marianne understood. Her mom had passed away when she was 15. I told her why I was upset and she wrapped her arms around me and reassured me…You will never forget.
When I originally had this terrifying thought, the wound of losing my mom was still so fresh. I was nearing that point in the grief journey when you desperately want to hold on… but at the same time the holding on still hurts like hell. It’s a hard spot to be in: wanting to remember but not wanting to hurt.
I started my first blog shortly after sharing those words above.
At the time, I really didn’t even know what one was. I remember saying to my husband, “Maybe I should start a blog…I’m not sure if I have anything to say, but maybe I’ll try to start one.” 5 years and about 1500 posts later, I think I found stuff to talk about.
I know that many of my blog entries are moments of remembering, not just the grief but the beauty too. There’s no way to compartmentalize life. I will remember all of it.
As much as I like that grief quote above, I’ve lived long enough post-loss to know another truth about grieving that I find myself sharing over and over on this blog. There’s a part of you that never actually gets through grieving. I don’t say that to discourage but to let people know that it’s okay to cry 23 years later. It’s okay.
A quote from Corrie Ten Boom came to mind as I was writing this:
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
And, eventually, the train does come out of the tunnel. The sunlight hits your face as you sit there on that train car and a smile breaks free. But, the journey must go on. There are still miles of track to cover. There are still hard days. There are wedding days, giving birth days, miscarriage days, and days you would pay anything to pick up the phone just to hear their voice again on the other end.
So why am I sharing this? Because, even after saying all of that…the remembering does get easier.
The remembering does become a gift, it eventually gives more than it takes.
I have not forgotten. I will remember the dark tunnel. I will remember the sunlight too. And, most of all, I remember how, time after time, my Redeemer has lived up to His Name.