Good Grief

good griefGood Grief

The absence of grieving burns a hole in a person’s soul. I know. No one close to me has ever died. Nothing traumatic has happened to me as a person. But certain events in life require grieving. Let me explain.

When Pedro had cancer and every new report seemed worse than the one before it, I started living off adrenalin (and Haagan Das chocolate dark chocolate ice cream bars). For over ten months I lived in a heightened state of fright, fight and flight (ok, I never fled, but I often felt like it).

And once the worst had passed, and Pedro came home to convalesce, I still lived on adrenalin (and those ice-cream bars) because every sniffle, ache or pain might signify a relapse—one that rescue chemo would do nothing to cure. And all of those other things like working full time, parenting and hospital bills screamed for my attention.

After a year had passed, I fell into depression and I couldn’t figure out why. After all, Pedro was a walking miracle—even according to the doctors and scientific types at UCSF. Somewhere between the diagnosis and deliverance, I had forgotten how to live. Click To Tweet

If he had lost his battle, I would have gone through the grief process and slowly made my way back. But he won, and it took me seven years to figure out that I needed to grieve. To sob and cry and rant and rail and feel sad. I needed to grieve the me I was and the we we were—for cancer changes everything. I needed to process all that had happened and return to ‘normal.’

I think of Easter as a time for good grief. Click To Tweet

A time to remember our journeys and to grieve what we have been and what Jesus had to do for us. It’s ok to cry and sob and rant and rail. But remember, the grieving process builds hope.

When we contemplate the fact that Jesus KNOWS our pain. He knows betrayal, sorry, physical exhaustion and crushing depression. A sense of peace lodges in the deep crevices of our hearts and each tear waters it. And it is good because the seed of peace flowers into hope and we experience again the miracle of the cross.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • This reminds me of a verse in Psalms 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” God knows our tears.

    Hugs,
    Melinda
    Melinda recently posted…FMF – GoodMy Profile

  • Anita,
    how beautiful and how difficult. I rejoice with you in the miracle of Pedro’s healing! I liked your line “the grieving process builds hope”. It is true that without sorrow, we would not know the fulness of joy. So thankful that you have learned to grieve instead of holding it all in by yourself, and that God has brought you great hope through your letting go! (Fmf sister)
    Love,
    Tammy (sincerity and hope)
    Tammy recently posted…Good: Five Minute FridayMy Profile

  • This is so lovely and powerful and full of truth and healing, my friend! Praying for you as you lean in this Easter and – as always – embrace the miracle of the Cross!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…Because, of course… “Good” – A Five Minute Friday PostMy Profile

  • Grief is good as we process it through Jesus, isn’t it. But you’re right, sometimes we’re not quite so sure what we should be grieving. That’s when it’s good to stop and ask Jesus to give us insight into our own hearts.
    I wish you Easter joy, my friend.
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…Preaching Good News to OurselvesMy Profile

    • Excellent suggestion, Betsy! ‘Stop and ask Jesus what we should be grieving.’ The next time I feel disquieted, I think I’ll ask him that question.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Two Rocks and a Lesson in FaithMy Profile

  • great post anita! i’ve had some griefs like that. by the time i figured out how to grieve the loss, I had something to replace it with (infant that died, new one was born for example). it took me awhile to figure out that i still needed to grieve that loss appropriately. just b/c i had my new baby didn’t mean i no longer had one to grieve. sadly, at the time, there were very few available to help with understanding that loss. (happened a LONG time ago!) it took a couple of layers of grief b/f i found a way to get help dealing with it.

    learning to figure out that we need to ask for help is a skill that takes awhile to learn isn’t it?

    blessings this holy week as you remember the good work of Christ on your behalf! 🙂
    martha brady recently posted…BETTER THAN GOOD…My Profile

    • Blessings to you as well, Martha! I’m glad you’ve learned how to grieve. Maybe it’s something they should be teaching us in school, eh?
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Everlasting LoveMy Profile

    • Thank you for sharing, Martha. I am going through that process right now as I lost one baby last year on Palm Sunday, and am pregnant again at almost the same gestation when we lost Mikayla. It is hard trying to be hopeful and cheerful about my pregnancy while still grieving for the baby I lost.
      M, S, and A’s Mama recently posted…FMF: GoodMy Profile

  • You are so right…no matter the cause of grief, we need to grieve in order to be emotionally healthy and move forward. I’m so thankful for the tenderness of Jesus in the midst of our times of grieving. Stopped in from #FMFparty. Have a blessed Resurrection Day!
    Leah Adams recently posted…Five Minute Friday ~ GoodMy Profile

    • Thank you, Leah! You as well. May the Holy Spirit continue to comfort you and help you to comfort others as you journey through grief.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Everlasting LoveMy Profile

  • Grief with hope is good. Your words are perfect for the juxtaposition of today… goodness even in the face of death. I love this: “It’s ok to cry and sob and rant and rail. But remember, the grieving process builds hope.” God works His goodness into the pain when we bring it to him with hopeful hands. Loved this, Anita! Have a blessed Easter!
    Karen Brown recently posted…GoodMy Profile

  • Anita, I love, love this! I love when anyone realizes the truths about grief as you have. Not that it’s a comfortable or welcome process but it has helped me to understand it isn’t limited to loss through death. It’s been interesting for me to see how much I believe grief is part of the addiction recovery process. That we can even grieve things that weren’t good for us. But you bring it to what I believe is the key: hope. It is what helps us live through grief because we have a hope and our hope lives. Even now, as we recognize his earthly death, he lives. Bless you, friend.
    Debby recently posted…Five-Minute Friday {good}My Profile

    • I think you’re on to something, Debby! If we can’t grieve the we we were, it’s hard to move on.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Everlasting LoveMy Profile

  • This is a good line… ” I needed to grieve the me I was and the we we were—for cancer changes everything. I needed to process all that had happened and return to ‘normal.’

    So often we move on, stuffing down and trying to forget but oh how good and healing is grieving for our hearts, minds and souls!

    Thank you for sharing these words with us!
    Rachel Quigley recently posted…What’s so good about Good Friday?My Profile

  • Thank you so much for sharing that struggle! I think we forget that there is grief even when God heals. When I was pregnant with my twin girls I was at risk of losing them both and with every ultrasound that showed that they were in danger, it’s like my entire body shut down. I could not think beyond the anticipation of losing them. After they were born early but HEALTHY (PRAISE GOD!) I had almost lost faith. I was numb. It was an awful time and it took almost two years to recover from the anxiety, fear and guilt I had.

    • I’m so glad that your babies were healthy! The body’s response to prolonged stress takes a long time to get over–it’s something that scientist are just new realizing, so hopefully there will be more resources for us soon!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Everlasting LoveMy Profile

  • Your words are always so powerful. I love the truth you always share. Praying for you and with you as we walk through the good grief of this Easter.
    Amy P Boyd recently posted…An Uneven ExchangeMy Profile

  • Tara

    Oh my friend! So much truth. Grief has to be experienced in its different times and places. I took a class in seminary called “Loss and grief.” The professor talked about how we all experience losses (loss of job, of family members, relationships etc) and have to experience the grief that comes with it. I love how you remind us that Good Friday is good grief because my friend Sunday is coming!!

    • What a wise professor! I think we don’t do enough to teach children that it’s ok to grieve losses! Have a blessed Easter :).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Everlasting LoveMy Profile

  • Liz

    I love this: “I think of Easter as a time for good grief.”

    Such a wonderful reflection!
    And I also couldn’t help thinking of Charlie Brown. 🙂
    Liz recently posted…Good Good FatherMy Profile

    • Ha, ha! I didn’t even think of Charlie Brown! (We weren’t allowed to watch cartoons as children, or even a lot of TV for that matter).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Everlasting LoveMy Profile

  • Anita, thank you for sharing a piece of your story. I’m so, so glad your Pedro is healed and healthy. I’d never really considered the need to grieve, even when things turn out as we hope. Your insights spoke to my heart.

    I loved what you said here: “A time to remember our journeys and to grieve what we have been and what Jesus had to do for us. It’s ok to cry and sob and rant and rail. But remember, the grieving process builds hope.” Such truth in these words.

    Beautiful post today!
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Good: What’s Good Enough?My Profile

  • “It’s ok to cry and sob and rant and rail. But remember, the grieving process builds hope.” I love this, reminds me of the verse that says what we sow in tears we will reap in joy.
    Laura recently posted…No, it won’t Always go the way it should….. But I know The heart of life is good.My Profile

  • This has to be my favorite of all your posts, it is the same living with someone with dementia, I had to realize that I am grieving even though she is still here. Thanks for reminding me that it is okay to have all the feelings. 🙂

  • As my husband and I sat and cried over our beloved cat yesterday (who died yesterday a.m.)…we prayed. My husband was more upset than the children or me…then I realized…this is a more than the death of our cat…this is reliving the death of his mother. He lost his mother to cancer in 2006…years ago yes…but still so painful. We haven’t lost anyone in our family since…but now this. This cat…she loved on us for years…consistently. She was old (19), and she lived a full life…but it is never easy to say goodbye to someone loved and someone who loved on you when you were broken. Oh and it’s Easter weekend…so we have so many reasons to talk, celebrate, and say His Word. Our kids got the cliff notes version of the Easter story on Friday in preparation for what I knew may be a soon passing of our cat…a cat they’ve known their whole lives. Death is real…it is sad…and is it hard to watch, but peaceful and hopeful too. So glad you realize that grieving is a evolving thing. Thanks for this post to remind me of that! Jenn FMF friend
    jennifer recently posted…Being Good is HardMy Profile

    • There’s nothing wrong with a cat acting as a catalyst and allowing your poor husband to grieve some more. I’m so sorry for your loss and I’ll pray for you and your family as you work through the grief of the losses.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…You Need the Right Equipment to Enjoy Your JourneyMy Profile

  • Such beautiful words, Anita. Especially that last paragraph. Thank You, Jesus for choosing to enter our pain, our suffering, our grief. Blessed to read your words here: makes me feel less alone on my journey.

    Last night (Good Friday) I sat down in the middle of worship, choosing to be still before God…and then I broke…all the grief, both for myself and others, came gushing out. The second anniversary of Mum’s homecoming is coming up and someone very close to me is facing a very deep loss yet again in her life right now. But Jesus knows, He SO knows….Hugs to you today xxx
    Anna Smit recently posted…Silence: A Gift to Draw NearMy Profile