My Dearest Friends,
 
Recently, as you all know, I have suffered a devastating loss when my husband, Tom, passed away unexpectedly on December 27, 2006. I am grieving and it will take months and even years to recover from this loss.
 
I wanted to let you know that I will cry from time to time. I don’t apologize for my tears since they are not a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. They are Jesus’ gift to me to express the extent of my loss, and they are also a sign that I am recovering.
 
At times you may see me disoriented, angry, fearful, feeling sad or depressed or even sick for no apparent reason. Sometimes I’m not sure why. All I know is that my emotions are intense because of my grief. If I don’t always make sense to you, please be forgiving and patient with me. And if I repeat myself again and again, please accept this as normal.
 
More than anything else I need your understanding and your presence. You don’t always have to know what to say or even say anything if you don’t know how to respond. Your presence, phone call or email and a touch or hug lets me know you care. Please don’t wait for me to call you since sometimes I am too tired or tearful to do so.
 
If I tend to withdraw from you, please don’t let me do that. I need you to reach out to me for several months.
 
Please continue to pray for me that I would come to see meaning in my loss someday and that I would know Jesus’ comfort and love. Thank you for all the times you have let me know you are praying for me because it really has helped me to know I’m in your prayers.
 
This loss is so painful, and right now it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I know I have shared with all of you that grieving is absolutely maddening and that at times I have been fearful that I was losing my mind. So let me share with you here that I have recently discovered that confusion, disorientation and roller-coaster emotions characterize a "normal" grief experience. Even CS Lewis, after his wife died of cancer, said he was so surprised to discover that grief felt so much like fear.
 
I would also like to share with you some of the emotions I have experienced. Even though I have questioned my sanity and my physical well being at times, they are all considered universally normal by Christian grief pastors and teachers and doctors. And, as bad as these feeling are, they will not kill me. This is what I have been feeling and going through emotionally, physically and spiritually: disorientation, fear, nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness, depression, confusion, loneliness, hallucinations, memory loss, heart palpitations and shortness of breath, exhaustion, tiredness, energy, headaches, tension, upset stomach and acid reflux, nightmares, insomnia and significant weight loss, anxiety and panic attacks. But I will survive and eventually recover. I cling to that knowledge, even though there have been times when I didn’t feel it. I know that I will not always feel as I do now. Laughter and joy will emerge once again someday.
 
"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?" (Psalm 13:2)
 
Who is the only One who can heal a heart shattered in a million pieces?
 
I have very good news for you – "[The Lord] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)
 
Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for listening and praying. Your concern comforts me and is a gift for which I will always be thankful.
 
Love to all, Liz
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