Sunday, June 28, 2009

Christian Grief

Today my pastor taught about grieving. It is a subject that is near to me. I lost some people close to me at a fairly early age. My losses came before I was a Christian so I don’t share the assurances that others might of a promise of heaven. I used to think grief was harder for me because I didn’t have that. Yet somehow I at least get permission to grieve in the Christian community. Others can be assaulted by well meaning comments. I could list some of them but when my pastor did it made me physically ill… You can insert your own comment.

So how is the response of a Christian different from that of a non-Christian? I think of it as the courage to grieve. When my mom passed away we did everything to avoid the pain. In a lot of ways we didn’t allow each other to express that pain. My sister-in-law put up a ‘no tears’ sign on her door. We didn’t have a funeral for my mom and that is probably the single greatest regret of my life.


kenny said...

I know that when we lost our first child, how hard it was to grieve. It was probably the hardest thing ever. I heard a lot of 'advice' and words from people who I am sure meant well, but if they had only kept quiet...!!
Today, I appreciated the teaching, as difficult as it was...and is for so many people to grieve.
I am sorry for your losses, especially your mom.

mom_of_3 said...

I love the idea of having courage to grieve, because it does take courage. And energy, and space, and usually a decision at each step of the way.

Thank you for reminding me that grief is not a weakness to be avoided, or something to overcome.

Love you, Lisa

RosalieG said...

Wow Misty, that must be hard that you didn't have a funeral for your mother and that your SIL put a sign on the door - did she literally? Oh boy.

Kenny I can't imagine the pain of losing a child.

Again with the wrong comments we are called to offer grace because we all can't be skilled in everything including knowing the right way to comfort someone. Two things bothered me when my dad died. 1. Those that said, "he's in a better place" - how cliche. and 2. while people were in line to shake our hand (there are 6 siblings) at the funeral home, one lady asked if my sister had flown in for the funeral and I said, yes and added that I also flew in from Winnipeg (to Ontario). When I said that the lady said, "I mean your sister, did she get here." Wow, I felt slapped that she had no concern about my circumstances and wanted to exhalt my sister and her circumstances which to me were no different than mine!!!!!

Ok, you've given me a place to vent.

A big pain for me was that my family is all in Southern ON and while all my siblings had flowers and friends that came to pay their respects there was no one there specifically for me because I had lost touch with locals. Aside from my mother in law, husband and children being there, the void was profound. I don't think any of my siblings realized that I had no one as they had.

Steph said...

Thanks for this post Misty. I'm the only Christain in my family and I still stuggle with my dad's death and where he is (it's been just over two years now). I think this has held me back somewhat from grieving. I'd really love to talk with you more about that sometime. I too can also relate to the stupid things people can say. I realized though that death for some people is just an uncomfortable topic and they say things not even knowing what they are saying. One thing I have found since losing my dad is that my heart aches even more for others when they are dealing with the death of a loved one. I think that when you've gone through it yourself, even though everyone grieves differently and the losses are different, you can still relate on a certain level.

I have to also agree with Rosalie that not having a funeral for your mom must have been really hard and I'm sorry for that.