At one point or another we will have lost someone, either through death, a relationship that ended, or when two peoples journeys separate and head in different directions.
Over the past few years, I have experienced all three.
Jesus says: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” Matthew 5:4
Let’s be honest…grief is terrible, I mean its healthy to ‘get it out your system’ but it’s definitely not easy, sometimes it takes months, if not years. Over the years as a family, we have been unfortunate to lose a lot of family members. I have seen less weddings in my family and more funerals!
I remember when my mum died, I was fine for the first year, then depression kicked in and I had no idea what had just happened. I couldn’t seem to get out of this darkness, and it spiraled further and further. It didn’t help that I was in a abusive relationship either. Three years later, when I had just started university, my mums brother died. Fast forward another few years, and in 2011 my mums cousin brother died, 4 months later my granddad and then 6 weeks after that, my great aunt. 8 Months ago in August 2015, my grandmother died and now just on March 9th my mums sister.
It was strange, dealing with all the other deaths before a I became a Christian, it was like the world had ended, I felt heavy with a dark cloud hanging over me. I started questioning life and felt uneasy, that probably also had a lot to do with grieving a close friend, where we just parted ways. So four hits in 8 months. One loss is normally just about bearable but four is enough to push anyone over the edge. I wasn’t the only one going through this, I saw other relationships and people crumble, and I probably haven’t even been aware of, the extent of their grief.
In August 2015, one of my best friends had come to visit me for the weekend. We had just gone to Wagamama’s but because she felt poorly we took the food away, watched a movie, then had an early night. We woke up in the morning, had breakfast and I saw a missed call from a family friend, who lives across the road from my grandmother. I thought was strange. I heard the voicemail, and it was a message to say the police were at my grandmothers and could I call back? At that moment, I just started shaking and ran into the living room and sat on the sofa. I told my best friend and housemate what had happened. I called the family friend back and she passed me to the duty officer. I remember him trying to calm me down and telling me what had happened. He knew she wasn’t conscious, but told me she was fine and that I wouldn’t know anything for another 2-3 hours (the time it would take me approximately to get there). I drove with my best friend to London, where I was told she wouldn’t make it. I had to make ‘those’ calls again to let my aunts, uncle and the rest of the family know, that baa (mum) only had a few hours left.
Tell me…how do you do that? How do you tell someone your mum is going to die? I had to do the same for my grandfather, I had to tell my grandmother that her husband of 67 years was going to die, as well as my aunts and uncle. You have to be strong. The only inner strength I had during those times was God.
In the Indian culture we have 13 days of mourning and during that time following the initial day of the death, I felt an impeccable peace, one which I had never felt before. I even remember one of my aunts asking me ‘How are you so calm and peaceful?’ and I simply answered (pointing upwards) ‘because of God’. In all the years I have had to deal with family members passing away, this was the first time I felt calm and as if I had been given all the tools, to do everything that followed. We had to organise a prayer evening, the funeral and clear out the flat. Clearing out the flat was a new challenge, we never had to do this before. Again, I just felt peace.
If you’ve lost someone you will know, everyone’s emotions are high, people don’t always think about what they are saying, they get upset etc. There are however good times to be celebrated in all the grief. The life of the person, the legacy they left behind and more so the family they may have created and rejoined.
My grief for my grandmother has been tough to say the very least. My mourning started in Uganda, and has continued in ebbs and flows since then, towards a tough place today. Though the difference is, I have Jesus with me. I don’t feel alone in my journey, I know there is light at the end of that tunnel.
With it being Easter this weekend. Good Friday was a reminder that Jesus died for us, he bore our sins and gave us a new relationship with God, through his resurrection. So I know, that everything I am going through… is not in vain. He has gone through it all before me. He knows my grief and mourning.
So if you are feeling blue because you have lost someone, I want you to think of this:
When someone dies, we have no choice but to live without them. When a relationship breaks that’s not through our own choice, we cry and want to somehow make it work. In other words, sometimes we have no choice and at other times we still continue to put ourselves through the unnecessary pain. We have to get over someone who dies, because we have no means of communicating with them, so why put yourself through something, that clearly may not be right for you?
We can not always forget, but we have to move on. Life is a gift, that many forget. To truly live, we have to let go of the past, and just remember the memories. By not living, we are throwing away our biggest gift – life.
This post has been a tough one to write…so it may be a bit incoherent.
To my angels in heaven. May you rest in peace.