Some days are just plain sad, leaving us feeling lonely and discouraged. On days like this it may be hard to remember that others understand the heartache we are going through. Although no two lives are the same and our experiences are all different, if we love and live we will feel pain, disappointment, despair, and distress.
This past week I’ve had a few of examples where this became evident to me. One of my special nieces wrote this and she has given me permission to share.
“I doubt there is any greater horror than being woken up in the early hours of the morning by a frantic husband yelling at you to call 911 while holding up a lifeless baby…
Two of the most common things people said to me when my baby doll passed away were, ‘The pain will fade with time’ and ‘The pain will never go away, it will always hurt’. Two very contradicting statements, but both are pretty accurate. I didn’t like either option. I didn’t want the pain to go away, but I didn’t want to feel it either.
Photo credit, Lisa Nell, 2015
Seventeen years ago today I lived that horror. Seventeen years later the pain is real, and I don’t think it hurts any less than it did that day. Time has healed my emotional wounds. I have had many blessings and many heartaches and I am grateful for all of it. To wish that horror had not happened would be to wish I hadn’t had the chance to have her be a part of my life. I will take the pain if it means I get to experience true joy. This day is always filled with mixed emotions for me. My heart was ripped from my chest, but I was taught a valuable lesson in life, love, and gratitude.”
I have never experienced the death of a child, but I do relate to “The pain will fade with time” and “The pain will never go away, it will always hurt”. I often feel both of those contradicting statements about my own life experience along with, “My heart was ripped from my chest, but I was taught a valuable lesson in life, love and gratitude.” I love you, Lisa, and appreciate you sharing your grief and happiness with us.
I have a cousin who had surgery for a brain aneurysm a few weeks ago. He has been in my thoughts and prayers constantly. His progress has been a way too familiar roller coaster ride. Last Friday, Mark and I went to see him in ICU. I wasn’t even sure they would let us in, but I had to try. I was in hopes to at least see his wife, who greeted us with a big hug.
“I’ve thought about you often since this happened,” she said. “I hate that you had to go through all this at such a young age and with small children.”
With tears in my eyes because I knew somewhat about the pain and anguish she was experiencing and knew she felt some of mine, I said, “And I hate that you have to go through this now. You are continuously in my thoughts and prayers.”
Our hearts were knitted together as our understanding of one another grew to an authentic level. This event made me appreciate how much God, family and friends help us get through the hard knocks in life. The blessing we receive from our grief is the realization that even though the incident which causes the sorrows may be different, the anguish felt is very similar. As we work through it and heal, we can more fully lift and support one another by sharing the load. True empathy not only lightens the pain, it makes those dark days brighter and more meaningful as we genuinely connect with one another.
In your grief and sorrow, what has helped you find the silver lining?
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