Bereavement is what happens to you; grief is what you feel; mourning is what you do.
Life can be likened to a river, generally running smoothly onwards with twists and turns, differing speeds, whirlpools and peaceful places. We’ll call this the ‘River of Life’. Then quite unexpectedly, we come to the ‘Waterfall of Bereavement.’
As we tumble down this waterfall we experience some unfamiliar feelings such as shock, numbness and denial - we feel as if we’re falling apart. The physical, mental and spiritual can be in turmoil and we feel on the rocks with overwhelming pain.
In time we move onto accepting the reality of the loss, reorganisation and living and loving again. Dealing with loss and restoration can be done at the same time.
Mourning loss is the work of bereavement but it’s also the work of restoration. Mourning is a process that cannot be hurried or ignored. It can be postponed, but ultimately the work must be done.
Each person’s journey of grief is unique, with stages such as shock, sorrow, anger, guilt, apathy, and depression and eventually onto recovery and a new normal. It’s not always in the same order and we may stay different spells of time in each one. The process is seldom linear and we may feel we are losing our loved one bit-by-bit, such as when the birthday cards and phone calls stop coming for them.
Think of an African village with many different huts to visit, there are many pathways criss-crossing between them.
We all journey on this river of life and it is better to do it with Jesus as our constant companion than without Him. He knows and experienced grief and weeps with us.
Psalm 56:8 He counts our tears
Isaiah 41:13 He carries our sorrows
Psalm 34:18 He is near to the broken-hearted
The more we get to know Him in the light (the good times) the more we will trust Him in the darkness.
Isaiah 45:3 tells us there are treasures in the darkness, its not the end, there is a future.
‘Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’.