29 Sep Grappling with grief
Grief is too abstract to explain. Words seem insufficient when you grieve and clarity of thought becomes evasive. I lost two special people this year. My five-month-old godchild passed away a few months ago while a dear colleague passed away just weeks ago. To this day, I still can’t describe my own grieving process.
I remember a stabbing feeling upon receiving both news. Tears didn’t flow immediately. A certain kind of heaviness weighed on me for a long time. I was blessed to have my husband with me on both occasions, giving me comforting words and hugging me ever so tightly. I didn’t even have the words to tell him how I felt; I probably mumbled some words like “so sad” or something like that. Even after we prayed, the sadness remained.
I guess it’s not so much about the pain that makes grief unbearable. It’s the reality that you’ve lost someone dear to you. It’s the reality that you won’t be able to see and talk to that person anymore. It’s the reality that “the end” really exists in one’s story. I remember telling my husband over lunch, “One week lang ako naging ninang (I’ve been a godmother for only a week)”. Then all of a sudden tears started to flow uncontrollably. It felt like a huge dam broke and released my stored grief, bursting in all directions. I still haven’t cried over my colleague who was like a mother to me. I don’t know if one statement will break my dam again or if my stored grief will just silently settle within me.
When my grandfather died, I remember not crying during his funeral. I mean we were very close and each time I went on vacation in the province with him and my grandma, he never failed to make me feel that I’m the apple of his eye. But for some reason, with his passing I felt more peace than sadness. I saw him in the ICU for a long time and seeing him relieved of pain calmed me. Knowing that he is now enjoying a perfectly healthy body with our Creator gave me a sense of peace and contentment. For days, I recalled all the good times I shared with him, fearing that if I stop recalling I might forget my beloved daddy (that’s what I call him; I call my dad papa). Later on, I realized that you do not forget the people you love even if they’re gone. They leave indelible marks in your life—even the ache that you feel is a part of it and as you carry it with you, it becomes a bittersweet thing.
It makes me wonder how God grieved when Jesus died on the cross. How the angels suddenly stopped playing their heavenly melodies and replaced them with melancholic instrumentals. How the disciples and the women who followed Him mourned after witnessing His brutal death. This made me realize that we have a God who empathizes with us when we grieve. He is not oblivious to it. He’s been there, done that—in cosmic proportions even. We will never be alone when we grieve. We have a compassionate God who knows, who understands, who comforts, and ultimately who heals.
I guess writing about grief is my own way of expressing it, too. Perhaps writing about it helps me celebrate the 5 months that my god-daughter lived and the more than 40 years that my colleague shared with the people she touched with her life, including mine. Perhaps this is just a means to an end, a part of the process that closes with lifelong remembrance and expectation that someday somehow you will see those faces again in a place where “I miss you” statements don’t exist anymore and where “It’s so good to see you” is simply an understatement. 🙂