No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.... not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. the real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not "So there's no God after all," but "So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.
--C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

There's no way to prepare for deep grief, for the pain that shatters a heart and a life when a beloved leaves.

No one can coach us on it. Those who could, who knew exactly how it felt, who could describe it in detail, wouldn't do it, would not presume to encroach on this most intimate part of our relationship with a loved one. Those who casually say, "Aren't you over that yet?" don't understand.

This much I will tell you about grief: If there was ever a second, or a moment, when you suspected or knew you had been betrayed at the deepest level by someone you adored, and a splintering pain began to shred your heart, turn your world grimly unbearable to the point where you would consciously choose denial and ignorance about the betrayal rather than feel this way, that is one one-millionth of what it feels like to grieve.

Grief is not an abnormal condition, nor is it something to be treated with words. It is a universe, a world, unto itself. If you are called to enter this world, there is no turning back. We are not allowed to refuse that call. Grief is like nothing else, with the possible exception of the pounding waves of the ocean. To the untrained, casual eye, each wave looks the same. It is not. No two are the same. And each one washes away the old, and washes in the new.

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, whether we believe it or not, we are being transformed.

-Melody Beattie, More Language of Letting Go © 2000

Love is the greatest, most enduring power in the universe. Then again, there is no other power. God is love and life and you and me.
-Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! - Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind © 2000

In the midst of some of the worst things that happen to us, we find out just how deep we need to dig, to find the strength and energy to persevere. We find out how difficult it is to take the next step, or even the next breath. We must find the courage to face the challenge. There is no choice in the matter, really. We go on.

We find that the sun still comes up the next morning. That the kids still need breakfast, and the dog wants to go outside, and your work still needs doing, and you are still here. Doing. Being. Simply giving up is not a valid option. But you can only carry that burden around so long, before you realize that you can move on faster and better if you stop for a moment, look at what you have, and feel what you need to feel. Then let it go. Enjoy the memory of it, learn the lesson from it, whatever - but, go on.

Within you is all the courage, all the wisdom and strength and beauty, all the anger and power that you need to deal with adversity effectively. All the compassion and understanding that you need is there, too. Use it! Call forth that power of insight, fortitude and love. Ask Spirit to show you where those tools are in your own personal toolkit, and how they can best be used to overcome this obstacle. Everything you need is within you, dear one. Find it! Look with your heart! Make it all work with you. Love yourself enough to know this, and those challenges and adversities which you face will temper you as the fire tempers steel.

And you will go on. Ask Laura and her children, who lost their husband and father, Jeanne and Retha, who lost their Mothers, Nancy, who lost her Aunt - whether it is cancer or some other casualty that brings us low, life goes on. We go on.



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