Grieving Well

About six weeks ago, my mother-in-law, Lynn, went to her heavenly home.

It was unexpected; and to say the least, we were unprepared.

At the end of May, we finally made the trip down South to spend time with family and celebrate Lynn’s life.  In a way I can’t believe it’s already been more than a month and in another way it feels like time has crept by.

In those early weeks, while waiting for the time to come to make the trip, Clint, the girls, and I have cried, laughed, told stories, and looked at boxes of old pictures. We’ve heard from friends from way back when. Cards, phone calls, texts, and emails have poured in. Sympathy cards have even come from clients who are just getting to know Clint and didn’t know Lynn at all. We’ve even had friends send meals to us – which is a feat in itself because of our “middle of nowhere” address.

One voicemail from a close friend concluded with a sentence that hung in the air for us and encased this experience like a fog.

“…I hope you are grieving well.”

How in the world are we supposed to “grieve well”?

We’ve found that out in the weeks to come after that phone call.

Grieving is not an easy or quick process. It comes with waves of emotions that hit when you least expect it.  And when those feelings bubble up out of the blue, you have a choice at that moment. What will you do with that emotion?

Growing up in the South and vacationing on the Gulf Coast, we learned a lot about swimming in the ocean. Particularly handling an undertow. When you feel an undertow pulling you out away from shore, you’ve got a couple of options: You can fight and struggle to swim against that force pulling on you; try digging your hands or feet into the sand below to gain leverage. Or you can relax and go with it. As you are being pulled out, there will be moments that the waves push you back in toward the beach.

Now if you choose to fight and not accept what’s happening, you may find yourself even further from shore, exhausted, and in real trouble. However, if you opt to go with those waves, relax your body, and take advantage of those moments when the water is pushing you inland, odds are, you’ll make it back just fine.

“Grieving Well” has been a lot like finding ourselves in an undertow.

We’ve learned to relax in those waves of emotions that hit us. A memory pops into our mind that’s so strong and we don’t even know where it came from. To embrace it. To remember. To laugh or to cry or simply be still.

Or those moments when we realize that there will be no more phone calls or funny texts. There will be no more memories made with Lynn here on earth. We let those waves take us too. We float in those waves, we pray for God’s comfort in those moments, and before long, we find ourselves close to the shore, wading out of the water.

There is incredible peace that comes from being in the wave for a while.

And, strange as this is, it doesn’t seem to matter which type of wave it is. Peace follows the wave.

Lynn and I won’t be swapping anymore recipes. And yet, when I make certain meals, I feel her right there with me. And I just let her be there with me. Yes, in the past month, I’ve had more tears in my  kitchen than usual, but after the tears always comes a smile. A smile and a sweet memory that wraps me up just like that beach towel waiting for me when I make it back to shore.

We’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people since Lynn passed away. And now, I see that “grieving well” is a foreign school of thought to many.

Or maybe uncomfortable is a better word. In fact, I’m guessing it just might be the road less traveled for quite a few.

So, whether you’re grieving the loss of someone you love, a relationship, or a dream that didn’t come true; I hope you’re grieving well.

Because now I know, it does indeed, make all the difference.



4 Responses to “Grieving Well

  • Beautifully written friend. Thinking of you and your family.

    • Ashley Weaver
      7 months ago

      Thanks so much Park Wife. I appreciate you in more ways than I can say.

  • Well said my dear daughter. This is so a part of life. We certainly miss Lynn but sooo cherish our memories. Much love – Mom

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