(Photo taken August 2012)
For the last 20 months, I have been blogging through a season of grief. After my husband died suddenly in the Fall of 2012, I found that writing was a tremendous emotional release and catalyst for processing the hard truths, questions, doubts, and fears… Posting these writings in an online blog seemed to provide an opportunity for me to bring many loved ones along for the journey. In so doing, I discovered that everyone grieves. Grief is something that every human being experiences in one form or another, but few recognize or acknowledge it. In allowing others to see into my private ponderings, raw agony, and wrestlings with the deep questions of life, I discovered that I was giving expression to the same thoughts and struggles others were having but didn't feel the freedom to express… As much as my writing was focused on my own journey and process through grief and by faith, an unexpected blessing that occurred was the community of brokenness* that bound grieving hearts together as one, from different places around the globe.
*community of brokenness is a phrase Jerry Sittser uses in his book, A Grace Disguised, How the Soul Grows Through Loss.
Grief is not something I see myself writing about long term, though it will most certainly impact all of my writings as it has forever altered my human experience, my perspective, my approach to life and faith… But for now, compiling these blogs and finding a way to tell my story seems to be about my own journey toward healing. Through writing, I process through the up and down emotions of grief. I process through all that has happened, what it means, and where that leaves my faith, values, relationships, and trust in God. Through writing, I accomplish some of what John W. James and Russell Friedman in The Grief Recovery Handbook call a journey to completeness, where everything left "undone" in the wake of death, every emotion, relational tension, every thought, etc. must be carried forth to a place of completion before a person can truly move on into a life of wholeness and completeness. This does not suggest that the loss will not still be present or felt on some level, but it suggests a healing that leaves the bereaved in a healthy state both mentally and emotionally, and able to look back and recognize the good and the bad, the things we miss and the things we don't miss, the things we long to have again and the things we rejoice in having or experiencing in a new life or new normal…
Compiling these writings and fitting them together as a whole has been quite a challenge for me. I question what to include and what not to include, what is too intimate and what is not intimate enough?? I question the order, how I organize the writings to form a coherent or thematic pattern… As one fellow writer advised, It is not the story you have to decide on, you already have your story. Now you must choose HOW to tell it. And I question how to be honest in representing the great, though human, man my husband was on the earth. I believe that it is most honouring to my husband to tell the honest truth about our life and marriage together, but then I think, How would this make his family feel? How would other loved ones feel if I wrote about something not so positive in representing the man they knew and loved??
Ultimately, I wonder, how do I continue to honour God with my life story? Can my story of grief and healing and faith in God impact the world around me for good? Donald Miller talks about Redemptive Suffering, when we see suffering as the evil that it is, but also discover goodness where it can be found. He tells the story of Viktor Frankl and how he transcended suffering in the concentration camps, leading others to do the same, in a sense, overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21).
In the next few months, I intend to have the first rough draft complete and ready for further editing. I am excited to complete this work, ready to move on in some respects out of the depths of journeying through grief. But also richly blessed to discover the goodness that God might do in and though my life as time keeps pushing me forward…
I am happy and anxious to hear any comments, nuggets of wisdom, guiding words of experience from other writer's or fellow readers. Please do share :).
My blog can be found at Lead Me in the Way Everlasting (Psalm 139:24)