God Wins…but can I ?

A Mother's Journey

I Grieve Differently than You

6 Comments

Chatting over a cup of hot tea, hiking through gardens, listening to a concert and scavenging for antiques – are all activities that I enjoy. What’s even better is doing these activities with someone I care for. Spending time together is my love language.

What’s your “love language?” You might feel affection by getting gifts, receiving a love note, sharing a good bear hug, or having your loved one help you with chores, etc. These actions may scream “I love you” to you.

Interesting that we each receive love differently.

If we each experience love differently, why wouldn’t we each react differently when someone who we love dies? Either to bodily death or permanent loss of the relationship?

It’s interesting that grief over a “love ending” isn’t talked about nearly as much as the joy of love beginnings.

Because we typically don’t discuss grief in our culture, I think there’s denial about the ways that grief impacts each one of us.

We freely discuss sorrow at wakes and funerals.  But, then it’s like the timer runs out and the sympathy spigot turns off the days or weeks after a funeral.

That’s it.

Life goes on.

Long-term grief becomes an unspoken topic.

For the griever, hurt and pain are harsh realities. As time marches on, fewer people ask “Are you hurting?” as days, weeks and years pass.  (And loss is not only about physical death. Losses through divorce, break-up, illness, layoffs, moves are real and painful too.)

So, we place our sadness deep inside – moving it into one place in our hearts. The problem is that the grief finds its way out. When it does, it looks different for each one of us. Active grieving is not a cookie cutter experience. Our unique response to heartbreak may confuse, anger or isolate our friends and family.

What’s your grief language?

For me, grief waves comes as tiredness. Remember your first love and how much energy you had being around that person? For me, grief creates the opposite. If I’m thinking of the person who I lost – I get tired. As a result, it affects family and friends because I’m not as relationally proactive as I was prior to losing my daughter. It’s harder for me to initiate the “time together” part of my love language.

It complicates my life experience; it’s hard to ask for what I most need. It takes someone else reaching out to me – to counteract the grief tiredness. They kind of “wake me up.”

Recently, I spent several hours with loving moms who lost their children. It was clear, very quickly, that our experiences with grief are different. We listened deeply to one another’s stories, cried freely and supported one another unconditionally. When I left, I was refreshed – and tired at the same time.

How do you experience grief?

  • Do you also get tired?
  • Would you rather be alone?
  • Do you need to be with people constantly?
  • Do you find that you get angry quicker?
  • Do you need hugs more often? Less often?
  • How does hearing your loved one’s name affect you?
  • Are you more compassionate? Less compassionate?
  • Does music soothe you?
  • Does it help you to talk about your circumstance and the person who you miss?

As a first step, I’m learning that I need to know myself – even five years after losing my daughter. I’m pausing. Realizing the way long-term grief impacts me – helps me move forward.

The second step is sharing the impact of my broken heart with family and friends. Doing so makes me honest and humble.

I find that life is so much better when I’m open – and not putting others in a position of guessing about my behavior or needs.

Blog_June 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Marie E Guthrie

What can I say about myself? My heart beats fast for my family, friends and calling. Professionally, I have a passion for helping people and organizations tell their stories in a compelling way and I have been doing this fun work my whole career. Never once bored in the marketing and communications profession. Presently, I am providing consulting services to corporate and nonprofit organizations. For seven years, I was the Senior Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Awana. I am dedicated to learning how to better love my family members and friends. I am married to a very special man, Mark. I have two children. Grant in his college years - a treasure. My beautiful daughter Leah is now in heaven. Her 14 month battle with cancer has taken me down a road that I never thought I'd go, but I would do it all again. This blog is dedicated to my brave and faithful daughter. At a young age, I was drawn to the sacrificial love I learned about as I was taught about Christ. My heart since age eight was transformed from total selfishness to a heart that desired to love God and others. This love has driven who I am - far from perfect, but dedicated to the One who loves me more than any human ever could. I have questions for God about the story of my life; I wrestle with Him about losing Leah, but He and I go deep. Still feel His arms around me. We are taking it day by day.

6 thoughts on “I Grieve Differently than You

  1. Thanks for sharing this Marie. It’s very insightful (is that a word?)

  2. Dear Marie,Mark and Grant
    I so much enjoyed spending time as a family together with all of you,after such a long time of separation for reasons of health challenges for Mark especially. I feel so blessed to have all of you in my family and thank the Lord for each one of you. In all the hard experiences it is so special to know that we stick together thru thick and thin. May Jesus bless you all together and give you the desires of your hearts.
    Thank you and much Love from Opa Werner

  3. Marie – I strongly agree with you on your statement, “I find that life is so much better when I’m open – and not putting others in a position of guessing about my behavior or needs.” Otherwise, when one is down, or angry, or sorrow-filled about a loss – how will others perceive this behavior? Will they take it personally, will you assume they know why you are acting strange. Like you say, it’s best to be open as to why you are feeling or acting the way you are. In your post you ask “How Do You Experience Grief?” And you list a number of ways, etc., I would say in the past 10 years or so both Luis & I have hit each one of those categories at different times of course. For me, it all depends on what else is/was going on in my life at the time, and how the loss and sorrow navigates its way through my daily routine. Sort of like a small creek, always gently moving, flowing, through me, sometimes coming to a brief pause to skim over a rock, or sometimes flowing at full force down a valley, making sure I remember it’s still there – vividly present. Sort of like a reminder for me to remember those I’ve lost. And, as you’ve written in the past, by remembering our loved ones we keep their memory alive in a positive light. In all honesty, sometimes I might be over-romanticizing a certain person, but it sure beats experiencing those deep-blue, depths of sorrow feelings that come out of NO WHERE leaving one frozen. I’ve had plenty of those too – that lack of energy (or depression) that you mentioned in your post. We do move on, we must move on, but that little gentle creek is always there inside…some days I make friends with it and embrace it…somedays it’s more of a challenge. Love you, Marie

    • Thank you for the image of the gentle moving creek. What a perfect image. Thank you for sharing it. You can create a beautiful poem using this imagery. I also like your point of feeling positive and romanticizing someone. I think it is helpful actually to have the positive feelings versus focus on any feelings that may be unresolved. You and Luis have been through your share of loss the last 10 years. Loss makes us compassionate toward others – and more aware of the people around us – and more aware of our own emotions. Appreciate your heart for me and my family. Mine goes out to you and Luis as well. Love you, Marie

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