I have received much encouragement about my writing from "my people" over the last few weeks. So, I have wanted to get back online and let you know how I am doing. I'm currently in California, staying with family: who cares about bloodline, we are connected by heart.
I've decided that I will document my process through this - like I've already been doing - and hopefully, God willing, that will not only help me, but you. I have to let my thoughts out somewhere, and God has given me a voice - so I will use it.
I just finished reading my first book on grieving: "Grieving - our path back to peace" by James White. It's a good, short read and I would highly recommend it. I'm a first-born, so I have a need to "check myself" according to norms. I have a need to know what to expect; and I have a strong desire to make sure that I am doing things "right".
Now: I know that several of you will now comment that "there's no wrong way to grieve" and "everybody's different." True. But, grief is a process that all humans are faced with, and over time, counselors have observed that though expressed differently, there are similar parts of the journey to healing/acceptance. And, if stunted or suppressed, a process that could lead to healing can instead lead to brokenness. (which is exactly what I don't want)
Everybody starts with numbness/shock - and I didn't know this. I had asked my cousin a few days after the funeral if it was normal that I didn't feel sad all the time, that I felt normal - even full of peace at times. Her response was: "Yes, God is protecting you. God is showing you that you can and will feel this way, again."
One thing I appreciated about the book was the author's emphasis on "spiral" - not steps. The concept of steps indicates that you move, linearally, methodically, sequentially through the emotions. So, your process through grief is a checklist. But, it's not. And if that's your expectation, when you circle back to an emotion again, you'll become upset with yourself and your progress (at least I would). So, in a spiral, you will come around to certain feelings again - as time progresses, but the aim is that you are leading to acceptance and hope - not bitterness and despair.
I am already feeling the spiral. There have been moments of emptiness, of irritability, of guilt/questioning, of sadness. Sometimes the sadness just feels like a weight on my chest. Sometimes I hear a song and I think of Dan and I am both happy and sad: bittersweet.
My prevailing feeling, though, has been completeness. I feel so full, so loved, so at peace - more of the day than not. I have my waves and my moments with the spiral - and I fully understand that is normal and that it can (and probably will) increase and be harder...but, I am so thankful for God and my people. I have much more to say - but, first: lunch!
(to keep you hanging on for more, dear readers) ;)