Not only are you grieving mentally, physically and socially, you are grieving emotionally. Maybe I didn’t need to say this at all because you already knew it. In an earlier blog I mentioned that Grief is a Chaos of emotion. It’s chaos. It’s unpredictable. It’s a whirl wind or a tilt-a-whirl of emotion. There are waves that threaten to overwhelm you, like big surf at the beach. There are dark days and heavy nights when the “shadow of death” is almost oppressive. There are tears, fear, anger, sadness, regret, disappointment, etc. I can’t even name them all. There is a long missing of the person who died.
The anger can be directed at the one who died or at the One who didn’t stop this death. It can be focused on others because of some choices they made that contributed to death or didn’t contribute to life. The anger can be directed at medical professionals, or other drivers, or –you name it! There are logical targets and there can be targets for that anger that are completely irrational. Yet that person may receive some of your anger. Grief is like that, reactionary rather than thoughtful and rational.
These emotions are in a stew within the grieving person and on a short fuse! Grieving parents are often fragile –if you look at them the wrong way, they break down. Or they may be volatile – if you look at them the wrong way they may blow up! Think about a pair of parents, whose child recently died. They lost the same child at the same time and they both feel this chaos of emotion, both with short fuses. In any household, any couple, there could be several breakdowns and blowups when that stew of grief emotions gets stirred. The best way of coping with this within a couple is grace. Each parent can graciously decide to give the other one a bit of repentance on the one side and, on the other, the benefit of understanding that their grief is chaotic and sudden reactions sometimes just break out.
If you are feeling anything like I have described, you are normal. There is some comfort in knowing this is normal. If people have felt this way in the past and if most of them survived, then I can survive this turmoil too! Truly, there is hope here. Others before us have survived.
But there is more. Jesus wept. Jesus grieved when he went to visit his friends, Lazarus’ family. He saw the family and friends grieving and he felt their sorrow. It was said of Him, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” (John 11:33) Jesus had real emotions when He thought about the death of his friend and about the grief His other friends were experiencing. He didn’t suppress or hide the emotions. I think He feels your grief and sadness too. As He wept for his grieving friends, He weeps for you too. He knows your heart hurts and He knows how much.
Looking at the context a bit more, He knew Lazarus was really dead but only temporarily. He knew He would raise Lazarus from death in just a few minutes. Yet He wept. He wept for the grievers. He wept that death ever entered into His creation and into our lives. I am so comforted by Jesus’ tears in this situation. They show me God feels my pain. They also give me permission to shed a few tears. They do not represent a lack of faith. It shows there is sorrow at the end of every precious human life. Jesus knew all, knew that Life is just around the corner, and wept anyway. Tears are part of a proper response to death.