Tuesday, January 7

Good Grief

Dear Z:

Two years ago you left this temporary home for your eternal one.  Pain has been replaced by peace, anger with happiness, confusion with understanding.  It truly is amazing what prayer, time and faith can do for a broken heart.

I still remember very clearly walking into your parents' house that afternoon and finding sisters from the ward there, already packing up your clothes and your gear and your things and your room, all the physical reminders of your life.  Still in shock, I wanted to yell at them to put it all down, that it wasn't real.

But of course, it was real.  It was very real for your family and your friends.

I found it fitting that this month's issue of the Ensign included an article entitled, "The Healing Power of Grief":

"Grief is the emotional, and often physical, response we have when we experience loss. The more profound the loss, the more profound the grief will be. Grief can involve virtually every emotion or can leave us feeling numb and disconnected from the world around us.

Manifestations of grief may include hopelessness, anxiety, anger, denial, guilt, incapacitating fatigue, difficulty in controlling emotions, lack of concentration, loss of interest in people or activities, and feelings of being overwhelmed...

Grief hurts, but it can be the salve that helps us heal when it is allowed to do its work appropriately. The first step in handling grief is to recognize that the pain is a normal part of the process. It needs to be acknowledged, not avoided...

Grieving is not a brief process. Be patient with it and give it time. As with a physical wound, the pain of losing a loved one requires time to heal...

Some nights are much longer than others, but the morning always follows. Death brings deep sorrow, but our joy will exceed our ability to comprehend when our reunion with deceased loved ones finally comes. Yet peace is not reserved for the next life only; we can feel peace now, even in the very moment we are feeling pain. How thankful we can be for the sacrifice of our Savior and the healing power His Atonement can bring us in spite of our grief. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)."

I know my grief was different than others' grief.  Every person's grief is personal, though.  I grieved for your passing.  I grieved for your mother and father, for your sisters and brother.  I grieved for your family and friends.  But that grief brought healing and understanding and a stronger testimony.

I am grateful that our paths crossed for a short time, and I am grateful for the grief that eventually turned into peace and joy.

With love,