Sunday, September 17, 2017

Courage to Grieve

To every caregiver out there – I applaud you – for your courage to grieve. For far too long, the world and the church have looked down on grieving. It’s so common to condemn a person for grieving and expect them to just shake it off. 

But caregivers have the uncanny ability to pull it all together for everyone else’s sake – so as to not make them feel uncomfortable. You’ll never know their grief. But caregivers grieve.

For many, it’s daily. For some, it’s grieving what could have been but will never be. For others, it’s grieving what was and will never be again. You have the power to grieve, the right to grieve, the courage to grieve.

You see, caregivers get up every morning looking to do the same thing they did yesterday, and the same things they will do tomorrow. Over and over and over again. Their soul gets lost in the shuffle and there’s grief over the life they can’t live – the one they won’t live. Because they are caring for another whole person. It takes courage to get up each morning knowing the day will be wrought with grief.

It may come as a surprise, following a memory. It may come as a pain wishing for what could be. It may come for no apparent reason at all. You may grieve the losses you see in your loved one. Or you may grieve the loss of your own life… but grief will come.

Yet every morning – your feet hit the floor with a list of must-dos and a lot of should-dos and a few probably-oughta-dos. Sometimes, grief is but a momentary distraction, sometimes it overshadows every.single.thing.you.do. But you shake it off – only because you have so much to do that you can’t deal with it – can’t be weighed down by grief. But not because you lack the courage to grieve – you just don’t have time.

For some caregivers, grief comes in the evening, at the end of the long day. Grief for what you didn’t get done. Or maybe there’s grieving for all you had to do, those unspeakable things that have to be tended to. Those things you do that make you uncomfortable, but must be done for your loved one. Greif can come knocking as you finally lay yourself down for the night, leaving many un-dones to face tomorrow. Grief can be for the things you no longer get to do for you…not that you want to anymore- it’s okay. But grief comes.

Grief can be over relationships – now gone by the wayside. You may grieve for all those you thought were close friends, but they didn’t have “it” to stay by your side for the long haul. Caregivers understand, not everyone can walk this walk with you – not even from a distance. But grieving comes over those you wish were still close. The solitary life of caregiving can be grievous, lonely and solemn. But you won’t tell anyone… when grief comes knocking. You may lower your head but for a moment – but not for long. You have the power to grief and you have the courage to grief – you just don’t have the time.

So you wipe your tears, lift your head and put your hands back on task. There’s much to do when caring for another – you have the courage to grieve – it is right there all.the.time. You understand it. No one else does. You know that grief will come back – frequently. Pain is a constant companion. You have the courage to hurt; to grieve. You have the courage to get up in the morning knowing full well it’s going to come knocking again. But you persevere, for the sake of your loved one. There’s no quit. There’s no give up. There’s no can’t do. Your loved one is foremost – you must keep going. You do keep going. You will keep going. In the midst of the pain, the misty tears and the grief. Because you love.

I love your courage to face uncertain days knowing that grief is certain. A sort of living grief that doesn’t ever quite let go. But because of love… you endure. But you do more than that – you joyfully endure. Why? Because you understand a piece of God’s love for you. You understand when He said He endured the cross – despising and disregarding the pain and the shame because you do it every day for the one you love.

You embrace the living grief because you know it won’t go away. But you never give in to the spirit of grief – and I applaud you. Caregivers face the grief head on without ever giving their soul to it. Courage to face it – and not be overcome by it. In case no one has told you today – You’re awesome! And you look a lot like Him.

 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.


2 comments:

  1. OH so so powerful. I was sharing this recently. Such truth. I applaud YOU, Jeanie, for so eloquently capturing the caregiver journey.

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  2. Thank you, Leslie. And of course, thanks for reading!!!

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