This past weekend has been monumental for my family as we celebrated the marriage of my youngest son. The wedding was greatly anticipated and lovingly planned. Many friends and family from both the bride and groom’s side were in attendance and enjoyed the festivities of the day. As I now sit in a quiet, empty house, I reflect upon what this new phase of life will hold. It is becoming evident that both rejoicing and loss intermingle in my heart and mind at times like this.
There is so much to rejoice in: young love built upon years of dating and relying upon the strong support of Christ as the cornerstone of their relationship; two families coming together and becoming one couple; the promise of a positive future and the fulfillment of hopes and dreams. At the same time, there are moments when loss is felt even in the happy times: nothing will be the same; the unknown territory rears its ugly head again; the absence of someone to whom you have spent a lifetime watching grow and mature. Even in happy events such as this, rejoicing and loss are both experienced.
Those who journey through grief learn to both process rejoicing and loss as well. The loss part is easier to comprehend. Your loved one is no longer by your side. Concern for your future and handling all the details encountered by death can be taxing and bring about a loss of energy and hope. Heaviness of heart, mind, and spirit can descend upon you quickly and suddenly cause a momentary loss of joy and happiness. Loss is very real and very pungent at times as you walk with grief.
However, let us explore how rejoicing can enter into your grief journey. Perhaps your loved one was very ill and suffering terribly. I recently watched as a relative dealt with the decline of health in a loved one as cancer viciously attacked. Dealing with the actual pain of the disease and seeing the toll it took on the body was difficult. Relief was one emotion felt by the family as this woman finally passed away, leaving the agony of her physical battle behind. While rejoicing may be a strong word here, her loved ones were certainly glad that she was no longer suffering in her hospital bed.
When you know your loved one had a personal relationship with Jesus, there can be assurance in knowing that leaving life here on earth means immediately entering a life in Heaven. That is cause for rejoicing and comfort. While you miss them terribly and long for just one more day, the gift of knowing where they now reside can help you in the daily journey of grief.
I am thrilled with the marriage of my son to my beautiful, new daughter-in-law. There is gladness in my heart, a smile on my face, and a light in my eyes as I recall how they looked at each other in the ceremony. That emotion is coupled with just a tiny bit of loss and a few tears as I realize my journey is taking yet another little jog and turn. I am confident though, that I will learn to maneuver this part of the journey as well. There is comfort in truly understanding that it is natural for rejoicing and loss to go hand-in-hand at times.
Until next time –
Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.
Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667
E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650
Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.