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Good Grief

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

I vaguely remember getting the phone call at 6 am that my father had passed. I say vaguely because as soon as I heard my brother's voice, I knew. I knew my father was gone. What happened next was normal for me. Instead of feeling, I immediately began to run down a checklist of things that needed to be done.

While taking care of the business of burying my father, I left little room actually to feel. I mean, I had to take care of the details, right? Someone had to deal with the funeral home, take care of the arrangements, ensure information flowed to family and friends. Oh, did I mention my cousin and I preached at the funeral? I mean, who had time to process feelings?

I know what you are thinking; you are probably saying, "wow, she is so strong," "I don't know she did it," or "I hope she takes a moment to grieve." Let me tell you, it wasn't strength. I do not know how I did it, and I did not take a moment to grieve. All I felt was numb and knew these things had to be done. I went into autopilot, and it served me well initially, but here lies the problem: I remained on autopilot. I went on with my day, and COVID-19 compounded the issue.

So what did grief look like for me? Emotionally, I would have an easier time finding Waldo than predicting how I would feel moment to moment. My emotions, when I finally came off of autopilot, ranged from anger to deep sorrow. I was angry that I could not resolve some of the issues in our relationship and sorrowful that I would not have him around. Angry that COVID robbed me of his final moments and sorrowful that my mother lost her best friend. No one told me about this ride called grief. No one prepared me for its unpredictability. No one warned me that walking down the street listening to cars whiz by would open old memories. I wasn't prepared to relinquish control to this thing called grief. I assumed that grief would have an expiration date. All the movies I watched growing up painted this picture of grief as predictable, relatable, controllable, and expedient. In reality, it is individual, chaotic, and beautiful at the same time.

This past year has taught me the following about grief:

- Grief is individual, no one can tell you how to grieve.

- Be kind to yourself. Your grief will manifest how it desires to manifest. Crying does not make you weak, and "getting over it" is a toxic belief structure.

- Therapy helps! Although grief is individual, many of us lack proper coping skills. Therapy may prevent unhealthy decisions/patterns (abusive behavior, drug usage, abusing alcohol, trauma bonds, etc.) from forming.

- A cry today will keep in-patient treatment away!

I would love to tell you that I am done grieving, but I cannot say that in truth. I have many great days and a few sad days, but they are all still varying stages of grief. I love my father and miss him dearly. Some days I feel guilty if I do not think about him and others I smile because I know he would want me to live. He would want me to run "headlong", as he would say, into all of my hopes and dreams. So I encourage you to be kind to those around you who are grieving. It is ok to not know what to say. Honestly, we often do not know what we need or how to communicate it. What we need is space to navigate this new dynamic. Many of your family, friends, co-works, leaders, preachers, teachers, etc. are dealing with varying levels of grief. Remember this the next time someone doesn't respond the way you thought they should, takes longer than normal to bounce back, or simply withdraws from society for a minute. Give them the grace to find their footing and embrace their grief.

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4 comentarios

Marv B
Marv B
21 oct 2021

If hitting the nail on the head was a blog post...thank you for this!

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Thank you for your encouragement and transparency in providing the "real" side of your grieving process. There are so many expectations from others and the grieving process isn't necessarily the same for everyone.

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Encouraging. Thank you for sharing and being transparent.

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Shanika Ogburn
Shanika Ogburn
21 oct 2021

Elder, prophet, friend, sister...when I tell you I am so proud of you, I mean it! You are not only an awesome woman, but an awesome woman of God. Thank you for sharing your story, your truth, your process, in order to let the rest of us know we are not alone. Love you to life sis!

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