I once read that as great as life is, it can be viewed as a series of ungrieved losses.
Someone leaves your church, workplace, community, home. It’s potentially exciting for them as they’ve moved on but you haven’t and you’re left missing them seeing the space they once filled.
A decision doesn’t go your way.
A dream fades and dies.
You lose a loved one.
These are all losses. When these things happen, we can pretend it doesn’t hurt, we can dismiss it as ‘that’s life’.
We can gloss over all we’re feeling, stiffen our lips, put our best foot forward and carry on as normal but in doing that we’re not being honestly human. We’re not owning up to our reactions, our emotions…we’re being dishonest to ourselves.
To be human means when we suffer a loss we’ll often feel pain, disappointment, guilt and sometimes shame.
At times, we don’t know what to do with our losses. So we bury them and pretend they haven’t happened, haven’t hurt…we ignore the scars.
In Deuteronomy 34:8 we read that when Moses died the Israelite’s grieved for thirty days before they physically moved on. Some would have mentally moved on immediately, for others it would have been a lifetime process of small steps and daily victories.
But the reason I mention this is acknowledging and grieving our personal losses, whether the loss is tangible or not, is one of the healthiest things we can do.
When we grieve, when we pay attention to feelings of loss through prayer, process, tears – we find closure, even healing.
And it is so much healthier.
This weekend, along with my family, we grieved the thirty year anniversary of my Dad’s death. We cried, laughed and shared memories – this allowed us to remember him, grieve his loss and celebrate his life.