After that first year

photo by Greg Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

When a person has been experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one and it has been over a year and it is the second year, the components or characteristics of bereavement are still present. The person may be outwardly functional – goes to work, church, to school and community events, sports games, etc. – but they are still fighting that heart battle, that mind battle to try to keep sane until they can let those emotions loose in the privacy of their homes, or into their pillows at night. It is possible to cry silently, as heartbreaking as that sounds.

To those of you who have wept in silence – you are not alone and our hearts are with you.

How old a person is when the loss occurs also plays a part in how we begin to live with our grief. Think of the children, the mothers and fathers, the elderly. There are times when your grief may reach its worst, it is the part of your grieving that hurts the most. You will know because you are the one feeling that pain.

How we wish to take it all away.

These extreme bouts of sadness still come in waves. A single thought brought on by a reminder – like what someone did for you when you first found out about your loss – can set off those waves. When a wave starts, nothing can stop it.

Those acts of kindness can tug at your heart. Is it any comfort to know that the Lord keeps a bottle of your tears? Yes.

The sadness from the emptiness and void left behind is still so overwhelming, nothing can fill that hollow place. Some have said that as the years go by that it begins to feel like a dream.

The second year is just a continuation of the first year. There is no second or third year, or 10 years – it will always be the first year and it will be as if it was stretched out over the rest of our lives. Do you understand? We will always grieve in some form or another.

It clings to us like the frost clings to the branches of willows and alder in the winter, like it is right now. Outside our doors, by our homes, along the sides of the roads we drive down each day. There is beauty there, and grief has its own beauty. Grief is how we love the ones we yearn for.

Sometimes it is hard to remember what it was like during those first days, weeks and months. It is almost a blur. A friend closer than a brother suggested that we write in a notebook to help keep track of things, anything and everything – what foods were brought, who gave flowers, names of folks who helped us with certain things, dates and times were included, it is like a record, a journal to help us remember. Anyone could write in it, it was something that we shared.

We still have to look back at those pages, and we will when we are ready.

Each one of us has a special time devoted to meditation when we think deeply in our minds through prayer of those that we love. Please think of us and others who are grieving during these times and we will do the same for you.