One of the definitions of grief is “deep sorrow, especially that is caused by someone’s death.” I recently lost my sister to cancer, a battle she bravely fought with God and all of my family by her side. We are people of faith, Christians, and I was deep in my belief that healing and complete restoration was soon to come — but it didn’t.
So I’m left to deal with the g-word — grief.
No one wants to deal with grief because it’s nowhere near pleasant and it’s a lifetime process. The loss of a loved one stays with you forever and it becomes a part of your character. Grief has the ability to bring out the best or the worst in us as human beings.
Grief magnifies everything around you — music, stories, movies, relationships, work and life in general. It makes something or someone you never paid any attention to sensitive to your senses. Grief has a way of making life undeniably real and sobering as you process the void a deceased loved one has left. It forces you on a journey of scenarios of what would’ve, should’ve or could’ve happened if — which all lead back to the fact that someone you loved is dead.
One of the interesting and probably frightening things about grief is that it’s seasonal. It comes and goes at various moments throughout your life. It can be triggered by a sound, a word or a moment, something you shared with someone, who is no longer in the present.
My father passed away 13 years ago and every now and then, I will feel the twinge of emptiness but it always leads me to something wonderful.
“…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30: 5
Grief has a time limit.
When I lost my father, which since childhood, was one of, if not the darkest, fear of my life, God came to my rescue. The Lord carried me through that ordeal — He actually prepared me months in advance in a slow and loving way.
God spoke to me through the Holy Spirit, family and my father letting me know he was going to pass away and that everything was going to be fine. When he did pass away, God gave me the grace to accept it and go on with my life.
There was joy after grief.
My sister had dealt with health issues all her life: diabetes, renal failure, diabetic retinopathy, operations, dialysis, numerous hospitalizations and eventually cancer. I wasn’t prepared for her death as with my father. It just happened this time and as much as it doesn’t feel right, God’s will has been done.
My Lord is perfect in every way and in all His decisions over life and death. If it were meant for my sister to live, she would’ve survived cancer. God chose to lay her to rest despite my faith that she would survive. So I have to deal with grief.
The truth is that we can’t be afraid to walk through grief because it’s a part of life. It’s an aspect of life and redefines and shapes us into better people. Jesus is right there with us through it all and there is always a blessing waiting at the end of a storm.
My sister died in Christ so I will see her again, but until then, I will go through the grief of her not being physically present in my life, but I am a better person because of her nonetheless.
God is in Control.
She had a button she kept on her dresser that said, “God is in control.” She believed that and so do I. No matter what grief you may be in, just remember — God is in control.
“…But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5: 3-4
Brian W. Carter is a creative writer/social media advisor and staff writer for the Los Angeles Sentinel.