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The Mysteries of Grief: Grief’s Bottom Line

By Yourtribute @yourtribute

The Mysteries of Grief: Grief's Bottom LineHis son died in his sleep for no known reason. He was here one moment and then he was gone. The family are devout in their faith and, as a result of the suddenness of the death and the deep belief system within the family, the father has become almost obsessed with whether or not his son is in heaven. His church believes in a period of penance between death and heaven and he has made every effort to insure that this period of time is shortened as much as the living can impact that. He has prayed continually and arranged for special services and prayers for his son. Unfortunately, within the teachings of his faith, there is no set time or set way to determine when a loved one passes into heaven. The harder he tries the more he feels he needs to try. He is benefiting from that in many ways. He takes his faith more seriously and practices the things his faith teaches.

When he tells people about his quest, they fill the air with platitudes, concepts, scriptures and prayers. He gets spiritual advice from almost everyone he meets. E-mails arrive daily with inspiring messages and stories. His priest gives him assurances every time they meet. He feels better about the heaven question, but is beginning to realize that answering even that question does not make his pain go away. He thought it would, but it has not done so.

Her son as killed in a car wreck. Her questioning seemed to come from the very depths of her soul. Over and over she asked why. “Why did this happen? Can anyone tell me why? If someone could tell me why, I could move on, but no one will tell me why.” Every time she shouted her plea, someone would begin filling the air with explanations and platitudes. Most of the explanations were designed to defend God. It seemed to her that folks were much more worried about her getting mad at God than they were about her pain. There was never any shortage of answers, but the pain remained.

I told her that I did not have any answers, but if I did have one and it was so logical she could not fail to grasp it and believe it, she would still hurt. Her pain did not come from the lack of an answer, her pain came from the fact that her son was dead. Answers won’t make that go away.

I told the father essentially the same thing. If I could prove to his utter satisfaction that his son was in heaven and having a wonderful time, he would still hurt. His pain does not come from where his son is now, it comes from the fact that his son died.

A woman I have walked with following the murder of her daughter made one of the most profound statements about grief I have ever heard. She was telling me about all the answers and advice she was being bombarded with; How someone seemed to send her some spiritual inspiration almost every day and how they made great effort to explain and reassure her about the wellbeing of her daughter. She said, “They don’t understand. The bottom line is not why she died or where she is today. The bottom line is SHE IS NOT HERE. I don’t need answers, I need to learn how to live with her not being here. Am I glad she is in heaven? Certainly. But I still must look at an empty bedroom and live with a chunk bitten out of my heart. Am I mad at God? Sometimes, but getting that worked out does not let me hear her singing in the shower. Do I understand why bad things happen to good people? A little bit, but I don’t get to hug her when she is upset or go walking with her at sunset. Grief is all about her not being here and me learning to feel her presence anyway.”

“I don’t need answers. I need someone who will be comfortable talking with me about who she was and what she meant. I need friends who also miss her and tell me they do. I need safe people who will not panic when I am still having bad days this long after she was taken from me. I need people who will simply understand the bottom line of grief is SHE IS NOT HERE.”

Copyright Doug Manning of In-Sight Books, Inc. Doug’s books, CDs and DVDs are available at Post originally published on Doug’s Blog at The Care Community


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