Tomorrow it will be 4 months since our son was killed in a car accident. 4 months. The Compassionate Friends, a support group for parent’s who have lost a child, calls anything less than 2 years “fresh grief”. This is raw. That is my most succinct description of this wound – raw.
Four times since our loss I’ve had friends, well-meaning, caring and loving friends, try to help me get past this. They’ve offered advice, made suggestions and even given me “the word of the Lord” to push me through this grief. It doesn’t work. In fact, it makes me want to completely retreat into myself, a trait I already had to fight before, when I wasn’t journeying through this horrible grief.
In the first few weeks after Israel’s death I was desperate to ease the pain. I searched the web trying to find information to help me understand what I was feeling. Knowledge of the process of grieving helps tremendously. But, revelation from the Lord helps more. God spoke to my heart shortly after his funeral and told me that this is a real wound. Just like a wound when someone has surgery or breaks a bone, it must be properly tended to. And, just like a physical wound needs time to heal, so an emotional wound, or a wound of the psyche needs time to heal. We wouldn’t ask a person who just had a broken bone in his leg set, to get up and run a marathon…….or even an errand! So also, we should not ask a person who just lost a loved one to “move on” or “get a hobby” or “get over it” or “stop perseverating”. “Perseverating” is a new word for me. I love new words, by the way! But, I don’t appreciate being told I’m perseverating and should stop. How do you NOT perseverate when your son was killed four months ago?
Back to tending the wound: When someone has had surgery, it is important that they rest, eat right, drink plenty of fluids and sometimes avoid contact with others to prevent the possibility of becoming sick when they are in a “weakened” state. I can tell you that this wound requires the same tending as a physical wound after surgery. I have to remind myself to eat right and to drink water. Sleep is sometimes impossible, but I try to stick to a “normal” bedtime routine to at least afford the opportunity for sleep to come. As to avoiding “sick” people to keep from getting “sick” myself……….I’m learning about that one. While lying in bed this morning, perseverating about people’s comments, a passage in Hebrews 12 came to mind. Actually, just one particular verse. From the Amplified version, verse 15: “Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look (after one another), so that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it-“.
This is a very real wound we have sustained. From what I’ve read and been told by other’s who have experienced this, there is no “quick fix”. Our grief counselor and the author of “Life After the Death of My Son”, Dennis Apple, has told us that it was 5 years before he and his wife felt like they wanted to even continue living after losing their son. This is a hard road. I want to walk it with integrity. I don’t want to have to deal with the potential of a “root of resentment” springing up because my fellow human beings did not “exercise foresight and be on the watch to look (after one another), so that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing)”.