“When I got the news today, I didn’t know what to say. So, I just hung up the phone. I took a walk to clear my head and this is where the walking led. Can’t believe you’re really gone. ” As I write this I’m listening to Luke Bryan’s most recent country hit “Drink A Beer.” This song was written after Luke’s older brother Chris was killed in a car accident.
I really like this song because it captures the realities associated with grief. Anytime someone loses a significant family member or friend they are used to sharing life with the emotions go wild. One can feel like they are on a roller coaster they just wish would stop. Should you find yourself on this journey, you need to understand the process. Here are the normal stages you will likely go through.
#1: SHOCK. Anytime something happens that we consider tragic shock waves are sure to follow. We just can’t believe what we’re hearing and hope to wake up any minute from the nightmare. This can’t be happening is often what goes through the mind. It takes a while for what we’re hearing to be received as reality.
#2: TRYING TO UNDERSTAND. As you try to pull yourself together, you try even harder to make sense of all that has happened. Being able to apply some kind of logic to the situation gives you a sense of control. Regardless of what makes an ounce of sense, you’re ultimately forced to accept the painful reality. They are gone and there is nothing you can do about it.
#3: SAYING GOODBYE. There is something about seeing your loved one’s tombstone. The beginning date and ending date engraved underneath their name says goodbye is not an option. At some point, you cry until you can’t cry anymore. You kick, you scream, you get angry, you beg God for comfort, and you never know what might trigger another outburst. This next phase is really when your greater healing begins.
#4: REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES. At some point, you realize everything has not been taken away. Nothing will change the good times you shared, the memories you made, and the smile that comes to your face when thinking of priceless moments of the past. Their love and legacy live on as you reminisce on days gone by, share the good times, and allow the experiences you shared to make you better instead of bitter.
#5: LOOKING FORWARD TO THE REUNION. This is my favorite. Ultimately you realize that death is a transition that awaits us all. It may appear to be an accident, but it is always an appointment. Nothing takes God by surprise. Jesus Christ gives us the greatest hope when it comes to death. By grace through faith we are able to have the promise of Eternal Life. Heaven awaits every believer with open arms. The reason I make sure I share Jesus with all my friends, family and even total strangers is I hope to see them all one day in Heaven. There we will never be separated from one another.
Well, I pray the God of comfort and peace helps you through your grief. Saying goodbye is never easy, but God promises to carry us through even the lowest of valleys. Trust me, I’ve watched God picked up, comfort, and carry countless folks who have experienced every imaginable loss known to man. I’m confident my God will do the same for you my friend.