I don’t know a ton about grief. I know it’s typically an unwanted companion during the stretch of path between things.
I’ve read about grief and learned it manifests in stages. For intense loss, one of these stages usually shows up as anger. (For me, it was Rage, not anger.)
So grieving to me is the process of letting go. I think processing grief helps us transition well, which means we arrive at the next place ready for the next place. We were able to separate the precious from the worthless of the last place/person/relationship, and we’ve only brought the precious with us.
I’ve grieved homes, jobs, co-workers leaving, children growing, friends moving, summer.
Sometimes we enjoy something/someone so much, we don’t ever want it to end. Maybe it has to do with eternity in our hearts or something.
So grieving to me is respecting and acknowledging the thoughts, fears, emotions of the transition.
“Take it in, take it with you when you go,” has been my stolen like from Jon Bon Jovi for enjoying the present, but granting freedom when it’s time to move on.
when it was messy at the end
We’re typically not awesome at endings, but the most painful things to let go of, were typically let go of too late. Which often means, it got messy at the end. Sometimes we feel a sense of failure and almost always, loss and pain. Even letting go of something toxic can mean we’re not holding onto something that once provided for us. It can be disorienting.
Negative emotions can also slip in after it’s over. I’ve had a healthy sense of walking away in freedom, and then one glance back, and I’ve got a monkey of shame on my back. Not all endings are good. It’s okay. People who are hurting do dumb things. It’s okay.
But facing the loss with honesty is an important part of navigating those emotions. Ask God to help you own what you need to own. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Don’t allow shame to sneak in, no accusation, allow god to teach you, if there happens to be something he’s up to in this situation. Even though the other person was an ass, maybe they said something true. I don’t want to miss it.
when it was all good
It’s almost always more difficult to let go of the good. Letting go of the Good Familiar feels crazy when the alternative is the Unknown Unfamiliar. What if it’s awful? What if I want to come back and I can’t?
I also need His perspective to be able to imagine my future without this “lost” piece. If the piece was a significant part of your life and they took up a lot of space, it can take a while to imagine life without them. Most things take time and practice. Living without something takes time and practice. So does living with something else. There’s always an adjustment. Give yourself time & space to adjust. God always finds a way to give us a view of our future. And it’s always good.
Eventually, you’ll be able to look Him in the eye with confidence that you made it through and you can leave the last place/person with a blessing instead of a mountain of regret if there were wounds, and expectancy and peace if there weren’t.
Transitioning well means we process the last season. We acknowledge and respect The End before charging ahead with all the loose ends dangling. We sort through the memories and feelings and get God’s perspective. We hold a memory and decide what to keep and what to discard. We don’t take the trash into the future. We forgive and heal. We don’t take on new identity statements for ourselves or God based on someone else’s flawed or offended perspective. We trust that what’s in front is good. We let go.
First We stop.
We set down the busy-ness, the doubts, the comforts, the self-medicating.
We cry, sob, or sit in dazed silence.
In time we being to Sort: (breathe.)
We let go & raise the glass to what’s next.
Eventually we lace up our shoes and move on.
New friends, places, sounds, smells & sights are around the bend.