If you are faced with a loss, you will find two typical reactions from others – One side will act like ‘time is up’, ‘get over it’, ‘time to move on’ and the old ‘time heals all wounds’. The other side says ‘take as much time as you need’, ‘you can’t rush healing’, ‘everyone heals differently’, and ‘you will never face life the same again’.
While I may agree with all of these, I also find that there is a healthy balanced approach to life with mourning. We do heal differently. Some will cry every year, or at any mention of their loss. Some move on and look like nothing ever happened. We all have a different threshold for pain/loss and there are definitely different barometers for what the loss is – for example to me losing a parent when they are 50 years old is much worse than when they are 90. But to some that doesn’t matter – loss is loss at any age.
One of the struggles that we all have is memories. I lost my dad when I was 39 and effectively lost my mom around the same age due to dementia. I still have a strong memory of them but certain things are beginning to fade. I lost my grandparents at a very young age and don’t really remember them at all.
Is it better to hold onto memories or let them go? Are they causing pain or joy? Do we fabricate or ‘puff up’ the person we lost? Do we make them a hero or a villain in our minds?
As we remember Isaiah this week (at 3 years), we discuss the question, ‘will we remember Isaiah?’ We only had him in our home for 5 years. It feels like a short time now. We still laugh at the funny way he said ‘umburger’ and ‘porch’ instead of Porsche. But we also remember the bad times and the fear that surrounded them.
I can’t instruct you on ‘healthy healing’ or ‘healthy mourning’. I may be able to tell if you are far out on edge of ‘unhealthy’ but that is only my judgment based on my grid. Mourning is a part of life whether we do it in a healthy way or unhealthy way. I pray that you will be able to see the light that has fallen on you for the time that you got to share with your loved one.
Romans 12:15 (NIV)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.