Advice from a Veteran of Grief

I prefer not to be introduced as “Wendy, the widow.” I received that title over 5 years ago. But first impressions need to be earned. Here is what I mean: I prefer you learn who I am and how God has blessed my life before you know the name tag of why.  However, I feel it is important and a burden on my heart to give some advice.  

No matter who you are, you will at some point in your life lose someone you love. Spouse, parent, family member, friend, or even a child. You will lose someone. 

Grief is not easy to talk about. I need to talk about it, but it is never easy. If you are new in your grief, you will be giving a ton of advice and people will tell you what you will go through and how to handle it, or the worst you will experience someone who will tell you to get over it. I want to focus on them to ultimately address the last one part. 

Grief is not something you “get over.” Grief is like the tide, it comes and it goes. The emotional turmoil of grief is like waves: some moments will be subtle, some will knock you around, and there are some that will flat out suck you under and make you beg for air. It’s all part of the process. And guess what? It’s okay. 

What is not okay is to be consumed by it. When grief consumes you, you are ignoring God’s grace and mercy. The memory of your loved one will be tarnished and destroyed because you can’t stand back up in the sand and climb to the Rock. Do you think they really would want you to be like that?  If the only thing you post on your social media is grief and sorrow, I will advise you to show a great amount of discernment on what and how much you tell others. It’s a tough one. We all need an outlet and social media has turned into our digital diaries. Hey, I did it. At times, I still do it. In a way, I am doing it right now by writing this blog post. 

If you think you are losing control of grief let me play out the past 5 years of my experience to you.

Year 1

Straight survivor mode.  Head down and barrel through. Do or die was my motto. Crying myself to sleep was my sedative. Setting his plate at dinner was still normal and catching a whiff or his cologne and his insulin was soothing and destructive all at once. 

Year 2

It got real. I am not going to lie, year 2 was my worst year. The first second anniversary (holiday) was horrible. It was real, there was no looking back: He was really gone. No more surprise whiffs of his presence remained in his clothes, his Bible… nothing.

Year 3 and 4

Became moments of extreme emotions. Grief struck when I least expected it. A song, a moment of Wait till your daddy gets home couldn’t slip out as a normal reaction. More of Wish your daddy was here to see it. 

Year 5

I am in the middle of it and it has its highs and lows. This year I realized that I could sleep on the other side of the bed. Though if he was here, Husband would rebuttal with “Wait, Woman!! You slept in the middle anyway! I got a corner! A corner, Woman!” and then we would have laughed it off. This year I turned 40 and 40 is rough anyway but this woman turning 40 meant I am officially older than Husband. I am still working through it. 

The years to follow will rage and will be silent. It is just the nature of the beast of grief. But one thing is for sure: as long as you don’t stay in the moment, it is and it will be okay. 

Now, lets deal with the get over it people.

Stay. In. Your. Lane.  

Don’t judge a person for their grieving process! If you don’t like what they post, scroll on. You don’t have to respond to a post on that person’s page because you don’t feel like it is appropriate or it’s excessive. Maybe you haven’t experienced a lose like a parent or a spouse or even a child and God bless you for it because it isn’t easy to handle. You will experience one of them at some point and you will need a friend. You will need to turn your broken heart to a “veteran of grief” and need their wisdom. Don’t burn that bridge before it is even built. We don’t forget those who are rude.  

I hope this post helps a broken heart and pray this post will melt a waxed heart. 

Galatians 6:2 KJV Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 

A burden is like a rope. The weight may be too heavy to pick up. It may be pulling at you like a horrifying game of tug-of-war. It be wrapped around you and can’t move and fear sets in that you will squeezed and consumed.  As a Believer of Jesus Christ, it is my responsibility to grab someone’s rope and hang on to them. Pull with all my might in pray, encouragement, and support. What we are not commanded to do is choke or even hang someone with their own rope.  

Where do you stand? Are you strong enough to hang on to someone? Will you be a Rope Sister to a friend? I have a few and I thank God for them daily because it isn’t just my grief rope they are hanging on to. It’s me and all my ropes. 

Love always.

Wendy Lu

P.S.: I have a Bible study about labels coming real soon. Can’t wait!