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Finding hope in times of grief

journey

“Grief is not a sign that you’re unwell or unevolved. It’s a sign that love has been part of your life, and that you want love to continue, even here.” 

― Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

It has been said that life is a journey.  My life journey was a pathway of ups and downs with the sun shining brightly.  But then came the death of my mother. My pleasant sun-filled journey became scary and frightening.   The storm clouds of grief, dark and dangerous, were gathering turning the day into a night filled with deep darkness.  

I knew that in order to continue living life, I needed to get moving on my journey again.  Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with stopping at these moments of grief to collect yourself and figure out where to go next.  So many questions to be answered. How do I continue with life with this intense pain of loss? Now that this has happened, what is my purpose in life?  Will this hurt ever go away? How will I bear this going forward? How long do I stay here before moving on again?

After pondering these feelings and questions, it became somewhat clear to me what I needed to do.  

First, I know that my mother would never want me to be in so much pain and I knew that she would not want me to stop living my life as a result of her death.  So, I sought to honor my mother in ways that reflected her life values and the love we shared. My mother had a heart for helping others, both in her ministries and within her community.  I began to model my own ministries in a fashion that reflected her passion as a follower of Jesus. Inner-city ministry became my ministry focus.  

In fact, two of the children that I met in this ministry became my godsons and they moved in with my wife and me when their mother was homeless.  

Secondly, in my daily prayer life, I sought God’s help in helping me to occasionally find joy again.  This didn’t happen right away; but, with God’s help, I was able to see Him at work in the world. He opened my eyes to the moments of joy that I so desperately needed.  The joy was often found in the telling of stories about my mother, as well as in the small blessings of life each and every day. These little rays of sunshine in the form of moments and memories of joy, helped me when the storm clouds of grief would gather to threaten my journey.  

The grief never goes away, but I have learned to live with grief and to manage the memories of love shared with moments of joy.It has been said that the levels we experience in our grief are directly proportional to the levels of love shared.  It is also love that can bring about the most healing of our grief.  Capture joy and honor the memories of those we have lost.

Larry Jesion

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