Resistance is hard.
Especially for the grieving.
According to Webster’s dictionary,
Resistance can be defined as-
the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
"she put up no resistance to being led away"
Grief is a funny thing.
it comes in waves,
But when it hits,
It is almost always undeniable.
But what do you do when you are supporting somebody who is grieving? What do you do when you are handling a friendship or relationship that has delicately been strained due to the death of someone that they love?
Often times we feel rejected or hurt by the grieving person.
But in reality,
The person that is grieving is doing everything that they possibly can to survive.
Their brain is in survival mode.
Pure survival mode.
They have completely lost the capacity to care to the extent that they did before this person that they love, died.
Before this person that they love, left.
They lost every fiber of their being of who they were before
and who they are now.
And it’s so very different.
It’s nothing like before.
Maybe they’ve become almost like a stranger.
And it’s not fair.
Not to you and not for them.
And more often than not the supporting people who are supporting the grieving person will leave.
Take a break.
Will walk away.
They will give up.
And then the grieving person is left with all of the debris of a failed friendship or relationship on top of the death of someone that they desperately love.
What if it didn’t have to be that way?
What if we could have compassion and show love even when the other person didn’t have the capacity to give it back.
Didn’t Jesus do this?
Didn’t Jesus love this way?
He was crucified by people who should’ve loved Him.
He was crucified because of religious people who doubted Him.
That’s a topic for another day,
What if we as a society could stand against the resistance of the grieving heart?
What if we as a society forgave the people who were working overtime in their brains and found an endless amount of grace.
What if we could come to their aid, to just sit in the uncomfortable?
And not try to fix anything,
Not to solve anything,
but to acknowledge that it’s OK to feel pain and it’s OK to struggle.
And it’s OK to say,
“I’m really hurting right now.”
I’ve hurt a lot of people along my path to healing.
And I never meant to.
I had no idea the capacity it took to run an organization and to grieve at the same time.
My current relationships after the death of my child became collateral damage.
Because grief demanded to be felt.
And I couldn’t ignore it.
Years later, I have discovered how important it is to show people how much I appreciate them.
And I would love to say I have it all figured out but the truth is I am a continuous work in progress.
But I have faith that the right people will find me. I have faith that for the season that I’m in, God will send the right people to help in my path. For me to help them, and for them to help me.
I have grown tremendously leaps and bounds with every failed friendship and relationship I have gotten myself into.
Since the death of my son, every friendship that has ended has felt like another blow.
Everything becomes magnified when grief is involved. A pin prick feels like a gunshot wound.
And throughout this experience I have learned so much about myself. For example, I have learned that I am not one equipped for change. My brain needs a lot of time to know the changes coming. And if you know anything about life, you probably know that there are not a lot of opportunities present a warning that change is coming.
But God is working with me.
I have also learned that I will never be the friend that walks away.
I will never be the person that gives up on someone. I will never be the friend that leaves.
Usually it’s the opposite. People leave, they get sick of having to deal with grief and it’s sometimes turbulent times.
They get sick of the roller coaster.
Whether I have shared my appreciation for them or not, they just get sick of it.
Throughout my years of grieving my son‘s death I have realized it’s impeccable to show appreciation for my friends, for them to lend an ear for me.
And even when I have felt like I didn’t have the capacity, I still tried to turn around and ask for forgiveness. And thank them.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Only a couple years into my grief every year when August and September would come,
I would completely shut down.
And supporters, friends and family and perhaps others would be wondering what the heck they did.
And in reality it was my coping mechanism.
It was my way of dealing with the trauma that would be coming.
All the while, enduring the private torture chamber that would seem to unlock in my mind.
And nobody would know what was going on inside my head and what demons I was silently facing.
In those moments, God provided clarity. It took many times for the clarity to finally sink in and for me to connect the dots.
And it was only after I have experienced it over and over with a variety of friends that I would finally understand that grief is just messy.
It doesn’t just magically go away.
You don’t just magically reach a particular year or a timeline and “poof” it’s gone.
That’s not how it works.
Healing is not an attainable trophy that can be won.
It’s not a race and it doesn’t follow any sort of rulebook.
It doesn’t stay in the lines like a perfect sort of coloring book.
But I think it’s worth noting, during those times when the grief tempts you to push away. . .
Or you are supporting a fellow griever that is dealing with so much stuff but they secretly feel like they’re being swallowed up…
Don’t let go.
Love them through it and then love them over again.
I know that it feels like you were getting nothing out of it right now.
I know that it probably feels redundant because you’ve done it already over and over again but the last thing that they need is another loss.
The last thing that they need is another person walking away.
Society needs to be better at dealing with the grieving.
And the grieving, I believe like me, need to be taught that it’s OK to be broken in front of other people. It’s OK to fall flat on your face and say I messed up so bad but I still love you. I’m sorry that I can’t give you my all right now because I have nothing to give my tank is completely empty and I am on overdrive trying to survive the death of my child or the death of my spouse. Or the death of my parent.
The grieving need a safe place to land when they fall. And you can be that safe place.
To the griever, you are not alone. Satan likes to alienate.
He comes to kill, steal and destroy.
Please don’t let him.
Please don’t believe the lie that you were not good enough, that you don’t belong here, that you are alone.
Because you are not alone. Because you do belong here. Because you are good enough to have these friendships and relationships in your life.
And it can be a two-way street.
Love the person that you are right now because death changes you and even though you don’t recognize the person in the mirror anymore, you have to get to know this real person. This new person.
To the support person of a griever,
I’m sorry that this is your path. I value the person that you are and the support you are trying to give.
I’m sorry that you are loving a person that is struggling so deeply. But I’m excited to see the growth in you! Because this will grow you. In so many ways!
And I’m asking for your grace for them, on behalf of them.
I’m asking for you to love them anyway.
And then love them again.
It’s OK to take some time away. Step away for a couple of days clear your mind, pray about it, whatever needs to be done but please, don’t leave.
Don’t sever that relationship.
And then talk about it.
Both of you. When you’re ready.
You can do this.
You can follow the path of least resistance.