Have you ever had a rash, chicken pox, or poison ivy? Perhaps your child suffered with diaper rash at one time or another. These skin conditions can be annoying, inconvenient, ugly and at times painful. The accompanying itching and burning is enough to drive one crazy. As we suffer, we tend to scratch, often times without thinking about it.
Thankfully, with medical advances, we have the advantage of ointments and treatments that relieve the painful symptoms since continual scratching can cause scarring. Eventually, we have the assurance that the rashes will run their course and soon enough, go away. Too bad we cannot deal with grief that easily and quickly.
As we move through our sad and difficult days, we may want to scratch to make the pain go away. The word “rash” now becomes something different. Instead of the affliction itself – as in chicken pox – it is the action with which we react to our situation. In order to avoid the annoying, inconvenient, ugly and painful moments in losing a loved one, we may act quickly and rashly to hurry through the difficulty of the journey. Through taking these actions, scarring can occur.
What might a rash decision look like? It could be as simple as hurriedly cleaning out a closet and giving away personal items to a charity. While this is commendable, there is value in relishing the memories as you take time to carefully go through drawers, closets and boxes. These items represent a last connection to your loved one. You have the right to proceed slowly as you process and clear out clothes and memorabilia.
Maybe your rash decision is a little bigger, like the sale of property or a house. While it may seem like a good idea in the beginning, be sure to take time and think through all the ramifications of no longer living where your last days were spent. Will you regret not having access to the familiar feelings of home? By having a new place to live, will you feel comfort and relief or sadness and regret?
There may be a time that selling things and clearing out possessions is unavoidable. If this is your situation, do what you can to hold onto precious memories and good times. Take pictures and choose just a few small items to keep and cherish. A scrapbook is a great way to commemorate a life now past. It is easy to store and is accessible when you feel the need to look and remember.
The important thing is do not live life making rash decisions that can wait. If you have the time, take it. Pray through things and seek wise advice. You may not be able to apply an ointment to make the hurt go away quickly. However, as you continue to learn how to make your way through the “ailment” of grief, you will find that the ugliness and pain you currently experience will lessen in time.
Until next time –