Five years ago today I was sitting next to my terminally ill 30-year-old husband.
He was in a hospital bed in his childhood home, and I was holding his hand, tears streaming down my cheeks. I watched his mother gently caressing his face and sweetly singing hymns over him as he whispered, “I love you,” to me between gasps of air before taking his final breath.
That beautifully traumatic moment changed me forever. I still feel it as strongly today as I felt it then. It changed my life, my family, my dreams, my perspective, my heart, and my purpose.
Nothing can prepare you to face loss and grief; I found myself in uncharted territory. Just when I thought I’d beat the system or found a way around grief, it found me and expressed itself in one way or another.
Here are the main milestones of my journey after Andrew so far:
Out of the gate I experienced years of denial followed by a tsunami wave of grief. This grief manifested as depression, anxiety, debilitating fear, and unexplained physical sickness, which by God’s grace lead to spiritual reconnection and restoration, clearing the path for ultimate and continual healing.
Here’s what I want to share with you today…
You can’t rush grief. Trust me, I tried.
It’s a process all it’s own and unique to each individual. I found the best thing is to surrender to the process and not to fight it. Commit to doing the internal work that comes up inside of you along the way.
Give yourself time and space to be still and to feel, ask for help when you need it, and trust God is for you and with you every step of the way.
You will get through to the other side, even when it feels like you’re jogging in place and getting nowhere. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and when you do break through the barrier, however long it takes, you’ll feel different because you are different.
It’s a good different because the lessons from grief can transform you. If you allow this transformation, you might just find yourself filled with more gratitude, courage, faith, a deeper capacity to love, greater kindness, and ever-increasing generosity.
You’ll be a better version of yourself and this growth process will inspire your new dreams. You may even feel, like me, as though you’re fresh out of college and the world is your oyster.
It’s a new beginning and the old is still a part of you, the best part of you, because you carry the best parts of your loved one inside of you. Their love, life, and legacy centers you by reminding you what’s truly important, inspiring hope and giving depth to everything you do.
So take your time, dear friend. Give yourself the space to grieve and be patient with the process. God is doing a work in you that can’t be rushed.
Trust. The only way out is through. I believe in you.
Love and Blessings. – Bailey