The wonderful young writer John Roedel writes Hey God, Hey John articles and a book titled Hey God, Hey John What Happens When God Writes Back. He wrote this piece about grief a few years ago. I just came across it today and it meant a lot to me so I am sharing it here with ya’ll.
Me: Hey God.
God: Hey John.
Me: When will I ever get over grieving the death of someone that I love?
God: Never. Grief doesn’t end. It doesn’t come and go like a summer storm. It’s in the air around you. Grief is permanent. That feeling of loss doesn’t have a deadline – it’s a wound that becomes the aching scar. After somebody that you love dies it feels as if you have lost a limb. Even years later there can be phantom pains that can send you to your knees. As long as you are alive on Earth, grief will be with you in one form or another.
Me: That’s terrible. I’d like to move on. It’s been years.
God: There is no moving on. There is no “getting over” the death of a beloved. Why would you want to?
Me: So that I can stop having these unexpected pangs of sadness hit me out of the blue.
God: That’s actually a wonderful thing. It means that you have loved somebody so much that their absence in your life is still so felt deeply. There is no more profound human experience than to grieve. It means that you have given a piece if your heart to someone else.
Me: But when that person passes away that piece goes with them.
God: That’s the debt you must pay for taking the risk to love somebody else. You are sending your heart to heaven one little bit at a time. You are joining eternity piecemeal. That part of your love for them has moved on with that person when they die – but it’s not gone forever! When you join those that you have lost in the great beyond someday you get back and all the pieces that went ahead of you. Eventually, your heart will be whole again. I promise.
Me: It’s hard when I can have an unexpected sudden wave of emotion pass over me. It can be triggered by something so little. A particular scent, a song on the radio, or a random memory popping up in my head. I have no warning when I am overcome with grief.
God: That is the way grief works. Like I told you – grief never leaves you. As long as you keep the memory of your loved one in your heart that grief will be always lurking. I’m glad that you used the word “wave” earlier. That is exactly how grief can work. Grief is a tide. Somedays the tide is high. Somedays the tide is low. Either way, it’s always there on your shore.
Me: If that’s true – how do you expect me to function?
God: Because you owe it to the ones that you have lost to live life to its fullest. You can honor their lives by living yours with wild abandon. If you were to die today you wouldn’t want those who love you to give up and quit, right? You would want your survivors to keep on keeping on, right?
God: Good. Look, grief doesn’t always mean being sad. Grief can arrive equally in laughter and anger – it is more than just a single emotional response. To lament the loss of someone means celebrating their life by cherishing and clinging those memories with them like prized treasures. Grief doesn’t require you to cry. The only requirement that grief has for you is to not close the door on your love for those who have passed away. Keep their memory alive.
Me: This would all be easier for us to understand if you didn’t allow death in the first place. You put amazing people in my life and then You take them away. Just like that, they are gone.
God: Just because your beloved has died, it doesn’t mean that they are gone. They are waiting for you across the veil. Love doesn’t go away when the body fails. Love is everlasting. Shared love is immortal. Your grief is just honoring that love. The way of life is to love and be loved so deeply that someday people will profoundly grieve your passing.
Me: Death is so scary. I’m terrified of the end.
God: John Boy – death is just the beginning.
Me: Of what?
God: Your adventures.
~ John Roedel