Unique Grief

The more we grow up, the more we gain understanding. Whether this be wisdom or experience or a combination thereof, it changes you. From child to teen to adult, we are continually learning and experiencing and growing, unwrapping layers of understanding. As this happens, you find yourself more and more able to relate with those who are older than you, as you now have more experiences in common.

When you become a parent, there are many such moments. You suddenly understand the things you’ve heard – about how parenting is so hard but entirely worth it. How you can instantly love this little human with all your heart. How they challenge and grow you, even in their infancy.

How within a matter of moments, you can’t imagine life without them.

I remember one evening in December, when Vivian was only a couple of weeks old, rocking her to sleep. I held my precious little girl, who I loved with all of my being and felt a fierce need to protect, and I thought of my mom.

In May of 2012, my brother drowned in the Rogue River. He died, and there are no words to describe the depth of the agony of that loss.

One of the things that makes grief so difficult is that it is unique in every instance. No two griefs are exactly alike, no matter how many similarities there may be. Even though we all lost the same beloved person, we each had a different relationship with him, a different way we processed what had happened simply because each of us is a unique individual.

I lost my big brother.

She lost her son.

I don’t pretend to comprehend the grief of losing a child, but now that I am a mother a layer has been peeled back and I can imagine the pain. I could begin to picture Vivian being wrest away from me and even at only three weeks old, the mere thought was devastating. My sweet mama had loved and poured into her son for nineteen years. Oh, how great a loss.

I suddenly was able to see her pain in a new light, and my heart was crushed for her.

It is approaching midnight as a write this. I should be asleep, but I feel burdened tonight. Yesterday, my mom told me about a friend-of-a-friend who lost her little girl. Not only that, but her sweet two-year-old passed away while she (the mom) was stuck in an airport in another state, unable to get a flight home.

I can’t even fathom. Being away from home, hearing that your little one has been rushed to the hospital, desperately trying to get an earlier flight, being denied, and then learning that your little one has died without you there…

I don’t know who you are, mama, but oh my heart breaks for you.

Just the thought of losing Vivian sets a physical pain in my chest. It isn’t a circumstance I can allow myself to think about without my anxiety and fear threatening to take over. I know that God is faithful through every situation, but that doesn’t mean the thought isn’t still terrifying.

And yet here we are, all living in a broken world suffering from this condition of death. Praise God that there is more to the story, otherwise there would be no carrying on.

Dear mama… I am so sorry for your loss. I truly can’t imagine the pain you are going through right now – pain that no mother should have to experience. It’s impossible to not feel injustice at the unnecessary loss of young, innocent life. I don’t know why this happened; I can’t understand it. It isn’t an answerable question.

No one is going to feel this pain the way you do. The only one who truly feels and understands every single grief, every unique loss, is God. He is all that you have to turn to, and I pray that you are able to run into His arms. I have not gone down this road you’ve been forced upon, but I know that in every darkness, He has been faithful to me, even when I am wholly undeserving. He is there for you; cling to Him.

I don’t know you, but I am grieving with you. Praying for you. May God fill you with peace that surpasses comprehension; may He demonstrate His love and faithfulness to you as you stumble through this valley. I pray He brings beauty from the ashes of this tragedy, and that it brings healing to you and your family.

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