Okay, so…one thing I am learning as I have been walking through this whole grieving thing now for almost 3 months is that grief is a very, very personal emotion. I think it is even more personal and more unpredictable than love. Ah, but here’s the problem…so many people feel like you have to follow a pattern, or go through certain stages, or act in a certain way, or don’t act in a certain way, in order to be grieving healthily.
There are some in my life who think I am doing great with my grief. To those I would say that you don’t see me alone as I cry to the Father and ache for Keith. There are others who think that I am in some stage of denial and will one day fall to pieces. To those I would say that maybe you are right, but I think I am okay as long as I continue to cry to the Father and seek Him for guidance.
My quiet time today was about self sufficiency…about striving to be adequate without God’s help. That is a big danger for me as I walk through this new life. In my reading I was challenged to trust God enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. I am sort of the queen of “striving.” The definition of striving is to “make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.” Yep, that’s me. So my challenge is to stop striving and learn to wait and trust.
Often I have divided my life into things I can control and the things that require God’s help. While I like it when all of you talk about what a strong woman I am, the fact is that in this new life I am daily putting one foot in front of the other, and seeking God with every step. Most days I don’t feel very strong, but I feel safe in God’s plan. It’s a good place to be, as I have come to realize through the pain of living that there is very little that I can control!!
So, back to grief. If you have someone in your life that is going through the “grieving process,” be careful not to superimpose on them your ideas of how they should be acting or what they should be doing. We all seem to work through this process differently. Instead, I would challenge you to love and support them, brag on them, and cheer for them with each milestone that they set and pass.
I recently saw the movie, “Courageous,” and loved Ed Litton’s words as the pastor in the counseling session when he said (I am paraphrasing), “Losing someone you love is like having one of your limbs amputated. You recover from it, but you are never the same.” Ed is a friend of ours from First Baptist North Mobile, and for those that don’t know, he lost his wife in a car accident several years ago. I know he has lived the words that he spoke and he voiced it for all of us “limbless” multitudes out here in life!
I am grieving. In my own polka dotted, flower infused laughing/crying sort of way, I am grieving. Yep. It’s Lee Ann Martin grief, and it won’t fit anyone else. But with God’s help every minute of the day, I am moving forward, and little by little the rough pangs are becoming happy stuff, and I know that’s how Keith would want it.
Blessings, my friends!
Elizabeth Hughes Etter said:
Wow Leanne! Your words were so succinct! Grieving the loss of someone so close, IS like losing a limb! And though many will think you are so “strong” they don’t see you in the quiet moments when you are not sure you can even take another breath without your love next to you! I know my husband didn’t have a CLUE as to how to act or react when I lost my mom, best friend, my grandmother and my other best friend all in one year! While in so many ways I looked “strong” I was so weak! I pray you will continue to look to our wonderful Heavenly Father for strength and guidance. I know it is tough but I also know you can make it through with God’s help! I love you!
Elizabeth Hughes Etter
Thank you Lee Ann. Your words are very true. We will continue praying for you, Josh, and Bethany.
Carol Ridgeway Philpott said:
Thank you for being so open with your emotion, your life. It is so inspiring to read your words. I cannot imagine the grief, the emotions of this loss…but I do see that God uses everything in a mighty way. Your light is so special.
Kim C Strauss said:
Hi Lee Ann, this is Kim from back in the Spring Valley days. I am glad I took a moment to read your blog today. I believe I needed it today. You are brave to allow your pain and grief to be shared and help others, maybe in ways you will never know. My sister Terri (who is the closest person to me in the world) lost her husband exactly 3 years ago to suicide. And you are right, we are all healing from that lost limb but we will NEVER be the same, not one single family member nor how we relate as a family to one another. Sometimes the loss feels so thick it’s like sludge. I am so sorry that you loss your beloved Keith way too soon and pray that you continue to hold on to your amazing faith. Peace.
Pat Shaw said:
Thank you for the willingness to open your heart so that we can expand ours. One thing I’ve learned from you is the importance of looking at your feelings, recognizing them, and accepting them (and yourself for having them). I had an extremely difficult time during the grieving process when I lost my mother, and I think that at least a portion of that was because I allowed myself to be bothered by the fact that my stages of grief were not in order or on a proper time schedule. I remember wishing that I’d asked my mom how she dealt with her parents’ deaths, so that I would have been better prepared to deal with losing her. Most of us have not lost our spouses, but almost all of us have friends who have experienced such a loss. And you have provided heartfelt insight to all of us that we can use now and store for future needs. By sharing with us in such an intimate way, you have carved out a unique ministry for which I am truly grateful.
I continue to pray for you as you deal with your own grief, dear one, so that God’s tender mercy will continue to lift you up and sustain you.
Pat Swearingen Shaw
Mariann Jones Strozier said:
Lee Ann, thanks so much for sharing your story as you live it. I read something this morning that said you cannot NOT grieve. It is. But everyone experiences it in different ways. God created us all in unique ways to serve unique puposes, and I know you are doing that even now as you share. Thank you and know that I love you.
Karen Reinke said:
Thank you so much for your honesty and insight. I lost my husband almost 11 months ago and in the first several months I just wanted to be a strong witness and felt I was doing fine. The 6 month mark hit and I was so sad and depressed, I didn’t know if I wanted to go on. Now I have finally accepted that I am alone and that is the way it will be and I can’t change that. I miss my husband every day, but I am doing much better. You are right, every one is different and no one can understand unless they have lost their spouse. I am afraid that when the 1 year mark hits that everyone will expect me to be back to normal. I am just waiting for God to show me what to do next. Until then, I will keep doing what I’m doing now. It is such a blessing to have others to help bear the burden. Blessings to you!