Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are of course the traditional phrases this time of year, but for many people, for many reasons, ‘merry’ and ‘happy’ are more of a challenge to live up to than authentic state of being. I’m not into morbid, but I am into real, and life doesn’t get more real than the surreal experiences death brings. Some people get a brief reality check and take stock of what changes they should make. Others get hit with a more permanent situation, as they have to discover what to do now that the rest of their life won’t include someone they love dearly.
If you’ve been around me or my blog in the past 2 years, you’ve encountered the name Tricia Lott Williford. Her blog is full of insights and the antics of her two boys. Since Christmas of 2010, it has also been full of their grief journey, as they lost husband and father to illness within the span of 12-16 hours. As for real, she’s got it down. I have recommended her blog to several people as they begin their journey through such a grief, because nice sayings from those of us who haven’t really been there can only do so much (and it ain’t much). She has a book coming out in February 2014, “And Life Comes Back”, and I have every intention of getting it.
This year, thanks to Tricia, I’ve been introduced to another blogger, Brad Luczywo, who lost his wife in 2010. He’s also about being real, and like Tricia, has two children to raise without the partner he expected to share the adventure with. Unlike Tricia, he went through the rollercoaster of hospital and hope and devastation for a year, and intensely for two weeks, before she was gone.
Both of these are real and transparent with their agony, but they’re not wallowing in despair. Frankly, with two kids each, they don’t have the time for that. They have more topics than grief and loss – they speak of their faith, and the One in whom their faith rests. Tricia also includes meaningful quotes, writing insights, and of course, the antics of two young men in training who are most certainly all boy. Brad, I’ve only recently ‘met’, but I’m inclined to read the rest of what he has written.
Another theme the both of them have in common is that they loved and were loved well. If you are in the place of seeking your life’s partner, or just making a list of important characteristics, read what these two have to say. If you have your partner, and you find the ring on your left hand chafing a bit, read what these two have to say. If you’ve lost your partner and you’re in that awful place between ‘what happened’ and ‘what now’, read what these two have to say. They’ll bring you in touch with real, and more importantly, with real faith.
That same faith will sustain those of us still in search of our unmet partners, or our unborn children. It will sustain those who find themselves without the partner they used to have, not by death of the person, but by death of the relationship. It will sustain those whose relationships are intact but homes and posessions and treasured artifacts are irreparably destroyed. Grief in different forms touches all of us at some point. When it pushes you closer to the One who loves you, who redeems every situation; when it becomes a building block to greater faith in Jesus and a stronger more gracious character, it can rightly be called ‘good grief’.