And, what mom ever imagines that she will have to let go of her child unto death?
For me, "getting over" the pain of loss is not the best use of words to describe what it means to learn to live with the loss, while not getting stuck in yesterdays. But, I do believe there has to be a time, when we "let go."
There will be some who will strongly disagree with me, but from my experience, as a grief support ministry director and group facilitator for 10 years, those who will never really release their loved one get stuck somehow, they choose to stay at the "edge of the tomb" and they will sadly miss out on the good in today and tomorrow.
There is a distinct difference between holding our loved one(s) in our hearts and memories and holding on to the pain and sorrow that causes us to relive the loss over and over again. We might be afraid of forgetting and mostly of moving forward. This "letting go" requires strength and courage, but also a desire to move forward must be part of the letting go. Some people just can't let go - releasing the pain, the disappointments, the regrets, sorrow and sometimes guilt can be a difficult process, but until we can come to a place where we are uncomfortable with living in the shadows, moving forward may seem impossible.
The famous author C.S. Lewis knew the pain and sorrow that comes into our lives after a great loss, as he suffered the loss of his wife. They didn't have much time together and he had waited many years before giving himself to love. Losing his one and only love was a very painful experience for him and so he knew what he was talking about when he says,"Getting over a painful experience is like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward."
In way are we encouraged to "let go?" First, I believe that we have to acknowledge that we have no control over death and most circumstances in life - of course we have control over our choices and decisions, but certainly not death and this would also include disease and many other life experiences, For me, it is important that I remind myself that nothing lasts forever and that our Father God has created us not only for survival, but that we might persevere and thrive; that we are intended to live as sojourners on this earth - just passing through, here today and maybe gone tomorrow, but while we are here, we are intended to live free and to never stop learning, growing, creating, making a difference for good and moving forward.
Making our way through the journey of grief (and life itself) is indeed like "crossing the monkey bars." How long do you think you would be able to hang on a monkey bar without losing your grip and falling to the ground? Our 6 year old grandson tries to hold on, but eventually he has to either move on to the next bar or let go and drop to the ground. Though he tries and tries and is getting stronger, at some point he has to let go to move on and I believe this is true for those who grieve the losses in our lives.
If we try to hang on, no matter how strong we think we are, we have to eventually let go. We have not been created to stand still, to live life as if it was a test of our endurance- - we have to let go of what keeps us from fully living in the present and moving forward.
Are you hanging on for your life right now - afraid of what might happen if you let go of whatever you are trying to hold onto to that you need to lay down so you can move forward on the journey God has planned for you? Though we all need some significant time to grieve and mourn our losses, at some point we must let go and reach for what's ahead, rather than trying to hold on to what has already past.
I have been encouraged and I want to encourage others to reach for what's ahead. The point I think that C.S. Lewis is making is that, if we're not careful, we will end up living in the "shadowlands," rather than in the fullness of God's light. I don't want to live in the shadows or get stuck, do you?
Out of the Shadows into the Light "the LIGHT of Christ,"
Angie "a mom like you"