Seasons of Grief

Grief, like loss, comes unbidden, reminding us that just as life begins, it also ends. I pray your endings are free of regret. Say all the words, grant all the forgiveness, love hard, my child, so that when the endings do come, peace comes also. 

JN Fenwick (© 2022)

Everyone I’ve loved and lost,
I love now from a distance. 
For love does not die 
as flowers die, my child.
Once love blooms, it remains.
In the deepest soil of our hearts, 
where all hope, where all faith,
where all beautiful things remain. 
JN Fenwick (© 2021)
Image of our eldest daughter, Nichole, taken by our youngest daughter, Emma.

At the beginning of grief, the pain is so profound, the heartache so deep, the loss so present, so immediate, that time seems frozen. You live painfully and ever-presently in that moment. That gut-wrenching moment between what was and what will now be. That second; that single second, between one breath and the absence of the next, that now and forever marks your life. 

I wrote this in 2017, after my best friend was taken from this world way too soon. Her passing follwed that of my beautiful neice in 2013 and my sister-in-law in 2015, both from cancer, both so young. It’s something I learned after my Dad passed away on January 1, 2010, though the words remained unwritten. I find myself returning to them over and over again, reminding me through each loss that I must go on until I too am called home.

In the middle of grief, the pain comes in waves, ebbing and flowing as the days, weeks, months, and eventually, the years move forward. There’s a brokenness never experienced before. At least it feels that way. Other times there’s anger; for being left behind; for not being given the chance to say goodbye; or for not saying the goodbye you would have had you but known. 

Sometimes a simple thing like a smell, a song, or a photograph propels you right back to that moment; that second when it all changed. Other times you find you can smile, and even feel joy remembering moments shared. The steps forward are small. You find courage you didn’t know you’d need and strength you never knew you possessed. Life resumes in this markedly changed reality you now exist in, but it never quite falls back into place. You never truly let go. 

Grief diminishes, but it does not end. 
It’s carried with us. 
From that first moment to our last breath. 
However long that is. 
And in the end, it’s a privilege. 
To carry that weight of love within us. 
To hold their memory to us, 
as closely as we hold their absence. 
To know with certainty, that time will reunite us.
And that when it does,
we will embrace each other once again. 
 JN Fenwick (© 2021-2022)
Gorgeous image from Pinterest | Credit to the photographer

The end of grief? I’m not certain there is an end. I think eventually there is acceptance and the beginning of healing. You are honored to bear the scars that grieving leaves behind. For in those scars lie the memories, the moments, the beautiful essence of a life that was. You carry them with you along with the hope that you’ll meet again, laugh again, and love again in the life to come.

For truly that is the promise; the promise that enables you to bear the absence. The promise that pulls you through the pain. The promise that finally guides you to the place where you can breathe again, laugh again, and in time, finally live again.

Grief is a journey we all must take, because we love.
Image from Shutterstock | Licensed for use.

I wrote this shortly after our beautiful Mom passed in August of 2021. Though the words are inspired by her, they resonate within me for every loss I’ve experieinced in this life. I hope that when my time comes, these words hold true for those who I will inevitably leave behind. That they believe, as I so fervently do, that we will be reunited again in the life to come and that the love we have shared in life will go on.

Know that we will miss you,

with each and every breath,

for the love, we shared in life,

does not cease in death. 

The beauty of love is its power,

to heal the deepest loss,

for love resides in each of us,

and helps us bear the cross,

of losing those we hold most dear,

knowing we’ll meet again,

for that is the promise He gave us,

when He died to forgive all sin.

Your spirit dwells within us,

we keep you with us as we go,

so that the love we shared in life,

continues to flourish and grow.

And though our hearts are breaking,

in this moment as we mourn,

we know that you are safely wrapped

in our Savior’s loving arms.

That with joy you have been welcomed,

for a life so faithfully lived,

and there you’ll wait with open arms,

until the moment we meet again.

JN Fenwick (© 2021)