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.

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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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