A little breakdown, a short time to vent…then back on the trail. The emotions rise and fall like a Ferris wheel, up – then down, up – then down. And, sometimes the wheel stops at a point, either high or low or somewhere more even…then, eventually, the carney with the hairy arms, bushy eyebrows, and tattoos starts the ride again and I move to another feeling.
From the outset of my grief, I made the decision to feel everything. I wanted to experience my thoughts, emotions, and various mood swings. All of these contribute to my processing of Jana’s death. If I hide from the work that needs to be done, I push it off to another day and the grief festers inside…
Each time I experience such a low, I have come out of it noticeably stronger. The dip in emotions, and spiritual struggles, are knocking chips off of my granite block of grief. By now, I have granite powder, chips, and even large chunks laying around my work area.
Thanksgiving was tough – Christmas is already proving to be a formidable holiday-memory opponent. The music, decorations, and shopping all generate memory after wonderful memory. It is piercing my heart to recall so many sweet things about Jana.
My resolve is set. I am thankful to the Lord for what He has given me. Let the memories come! I can remember the blessing of our times together and be sad, but still enjoy the memory and be grateful for it. Maybe I’ll even shed a tear or two along the way…
A note about these low feelings. Sometimes, it feels like there is no way out. Sometimes it is overwhelming or even claustrophobic in nature. Like I can’t escape. These low times require all of my resources for help. Things like exercise, prayer, and talking with people are very necessary.
In most situations, you know when a person is falling into this kind of thinking. They begin to distance themselves, they become quiet, and stop doing things they normally do. These are just some of the signs that let friends and family know when a person is struggling.
Jump in if you see somebody behaving like this. Help them process. Find a place for talking, crying, and prayer. Sometimes, just the right question (as simple as “how are you doing?”) will bring the flood of tears.
I know this from experience on both sides, and I need to remember to pay attention to others who may be in their own “low” times. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference.