I want to warn you in advance that this is one of those posts where I bare my soul.
If you read this post, you may find it boring or depressing. It may be more information about me than you really wanted to know, and that can be frightening!
So, if you are easily bored or depressed, or frightened, then I’m advising you now, don’t read this post!
In this post, I’m going to talk about grief, or more specifically, the end of grief (if there is such a thing). I’ve ruminated over whether to write this post or not, but it seems that I have this inner need to write it. I suppose in writing it, it provides some therapeutic value or emotional catharsis for me.
I guess that’s why I decided to write and publish this post.
But, just because I write it and post it certainly doesn’t mean you have to read it!
And, if talking about grief, death, and dying is something that bores, depresses, or scares you, I’m giving you another chance to opt out now, right here, and don’t read this post!
No hard feelings. I completely understand. There will be more funny stories in future posts, I’m sure.
But, if you’re still reading, thank you, my friend, for taking this little trip through my psyche with me. I didn’t really want to go alone. After all, there’s some dark, scary places in there!
Still, when we arrive at our destination, I think you’ll find that we’ve arrived at a happy place, a good place, a crazy good place!
If you’ve read much on this blog, then you are probably acquainted with the story behind my byline: Single grandparent raising two kids.
My wife and I began raising the two youngest of our six grandchildren when one of them was about a year old and when the other was about three months old.
Why we began raising them is a subject I’ve never explored or discussed on this blog and don’t plan to. So, if you don’t know, you haven’t missed out on any posts containing that explanation.
And, I can certainly understand if that’s a question you have. It’s a question I’ve asked other grandparents raising their grandchildren.
But, it’s personal. It’s family business. It’s a part of the story that I’ve chosen to keep private. It’s a matter that the children will have to address and reconcile their lives with one of these days in their own time, in their own way.
So after we had taken custody of the children and began raising them, somewhere along the way my wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and eight months later she was gone.
During her illness, I never believed that God would allow her to be taken from us (it’s called “denial). After all, He had given us this very important assignment to raise these children.
And, surely it was supposed to be a team effort!
So, when she died I accepted (or, at least, thought I had accepted) that God’s assignment for us was not as I supposed. I didn’t get mad and blame God. In fact, I felt as though my faith was deepened as a result of these tragic circumstances.
And, I probably went through the grief experience in an unusual way because I didn’t really have time to be alone or be lonely. And I’m thankful for that because I know that many who grieve suffer with loneliness.
But one drama I’ve allowed myself to play out is a little mind game you might call, “I Wish She Could Have Seen This.” You probably know what I mean. The toddlers do something cute, they experience a milestone in their short little lives and I say to myself, “I wish Nanna could have seen this.” And then, of course, it’s followed by sadness, sometimes even tears.
Now, maybe all these feelings are a grief-thing. But for me, it is a God-thing as well.
So, I began to sense recently that I was, in fact, blaming God for my circumstances. Maybe I was even a little mad at God for allowing her to die, even taking her from us.
As it turns out, my little mind game was, in fact, an off-handed or indirect way of reminding God of what He had done to us or at least allowed to happen to us. I was carrying around a little martyr complex that made me feel victimized by God and, therefore, worthy of His sympathy and even my own self-sympathy. I think we call it “feeling sorry for yourself.”
If that’s not the case, then why would I choose to turn an event in the lives of the toddlers that has all the trappings of a happy occasion into something sad, into something “missed out” on.
I’m telling you, my friend, if you have never experienced grief, beware because it can generate some unusual and unintended emotions and produce some poorly conceived decision-making.
Don’t get me wrong. Grief serves a good purpose. It cushions us from the shock of death and dying that has crashed into our lives. It provides an emotional shield during a tough time.
But there comes a time when your life once again needs to be about “life” and not be about “death.”
The children were very young when they lost their Nanna. Nanna is not going to be a part of their life as she was a part of mine.
They have their whole lives ahead of them. Without Nanna. But with me. Good lives. Happy lives. And they deserve to have good and happy lives. And I want to help them have good and happy lives!
So, it’s time to say goodbye to grief. It’s time to quit thinking about what could have been or should have been. It’s time to quit blaming God for my circumstances and start thanking God for my circumstances, for my new adventure.
With the toddlers and me together, we have a good life, a crazy good life!