Common things people say to a grieving person--
“She’s in a better place.”
“At least she’s not in any more pain.”
“You’ll see her again someday.”
True as these statements may be, in the early weeks of grief, it’s not as comforting or helpful as you might think. When I’ve lost one of the dearest persons on earth to me, and all I can feel is the pain of my loss, it’s not helpful to tell me how happy she is! How dare she be happy when I’m hurting so badly! That’s how I felt, at first. I remember breaking down in tears with my friends a month or so afterwards, and sobbing, “I want my daughter back!” Wisely, they were silent. What could they possible say? My heart was shattered in a million pieces that no one could pick up and put together again. Their silence, grieving with me, comforted more than any words.
I understand why people say the things they do. It might be pointing out the obvious, but it is true. She is in a better place. I will see her again someday. Through the months, I have indeed found comfort in these truths. But acceptance had to come in my own time and in my own way, not because someone said it to me.
I’m thankful that she is in a better place and she’s not in any more pain. The trauma of watching her have a seizure is still with me. I’m so glad she no longer experiences seizures and she is free from every disease. I’m thankful all the hardship, stress, grief, and broken-heartedness she endured in this life no longer trouble her. I imagine her dancing in heaven, happy and carefree, and now I truly rejoice with her.
For quite a while, the pain of my grief was too intense to feel her presence with me. I’d talk to her and write letters to her, but I had no real sense that she heard or was aware of me or of what’s happening in my life. I’m beginning to feel more of a sense of her now. I don’t mean in a spooky or weird way. I only know the bond between us is much too strong to be broken, not even by death.
I’ve thought about what it must be like to be in heaven with Jesus. Not in an over-spiritualized way; actually, just the opposite. I wonder what it must be like to simply sit with Jesus and talk with him. Here’s one conversation I imagine. Shortly after her arrival in heaven, Jesus asked her, “Is there anything special you’d like me to do for your parents?” And, Jeanette said, “As a matter of fact there is…” She proceeded to tell Jesus about some needs we have. The reason I think this conversation actually took place is because of some of the special blessings that have come our way in the past few months. I think she has God’s ear and asked Him to bless us, and He did!
Of course, these things do not, and cannot, make up for the fact that she’s not with us in person as we celebrate holidays and special days. The void is piercing at times. And yet, I choose—I make a deliberate, intentional decision—to look beyond the sadness and find hidden, precious treasures dropped from heaven into our lives. I find them if I’m looking.
Sara Faith Nelson
Sharing the journey, because, I find there are so many others making the trek through life without a loved one