Nine months ago I lost my best friend, my Snoopy, and my sister. I’m going to be very candid today because it still hurts. It took me a moment to realize what today was and even longer to bounce back to myself once I did. For 9 months I’ve been on a journey of hope and it hasn’t all been pretty. If I’m honest I must admit I’m exhausted…
The wave of emotions… is exhausting
The loneliness… exhausting
The constant reminder that your life will never be the same… exhausting.
Forever without my sister… heartbreaking and exhausting.
I’m tired, but I still have Hope.
Grief Plus Hope looks like Rest
Adding Hope to my grief has brought me a newfound appreciation to rest physically and spiritually.
Spiritually, my hope is in my God who gives me rest!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 NIV
This scripture gives me the visualization of God with His hands outstretched to those who are weary, hurting, or disappointed. That brings me hope because these last 9 months have taught me that hope doesn’t eliminate the emotions or fatigue that comes with grief. Hope gives me a reason to keep living. My hope in God is my source and my refuge because I know a place I can run to when I’m tired. I know where I can find rest and peace.
Physically, sleep has always been a friend of mine, but when grief hit, we became best friends. Sleep is always my best way to recharge and regroup my emotions. Even if it is just a ten-minute nap, I use that time to shut off from the cares of the world. It’s my time just for me and I choose to take it as often as I can.
Grief + Hope= Replacements
This month I have made the conscious effort to replace comparisons with community. When we are dealing with grief without hope we often find ourselves in the nasty web of comparisons. We compare our old life to our new life without the one we love. We compare relationships. We say things like, “But you don’t understand because you’ve never experienced my pain.” While I understand the death of a pet turtle is nowhere near the same as the loss of a family member, it is still pain. Pain and tragedy should never be compared.
I called comparison a nasty web because it can leave you in a rabbit hole of emotions and feelings based on improper heart posture and perspective rather than truth. For example, before Kayla died I was battling with anticipatory grief and anger. During that time, I made the statement that my mother and father would still have each other once Kayla died, but I would be all alone. I also compare the number of years they had lived before Kayla was born compared to my 3 years. That comparison was plain silly, but to me, it didn’t seem fair. In my eyes, they had lived over 30 years of their life without her and I had no clue what life was without her. That was my biased truth and I was sticking to it. However, in the comparison of my parents’ grief to mine, I lied several times. My comparison had created this warped sense of loneliness and had formed a coldness in my heart that was preparing for isolation. I was setting myself up to be alone forever based on a lie. It wasn’t until I stopped comparing grief that I could see the reality of my life. The truth is I still have my mother and father, they still have me, and I have a support system.
In my personal journal I use to grieve with I discovered that for everything hope cancels, there must be a replacement. Because hope cancels comparisons which lead to isolation, I make the choice to replace it with community. To my surprise, there are people all over the world who deal with the exact type of grief I journey through. I am not alone. That is a lie from hell that I will no longer accept. November is Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month. Two months ago, I did not know that existed. If you search the hashtag #WorldwideBereavedSiblingsMonth you will see there is an entire community with a wealth of knowledge and resources to help sibling grievers. If you remember nothing you read today, know you are not alone in the world and you are not the first to go through whatever your journey is. Please find hope in that today.
Even if you are not grieving a sibling and want to find a community that can help you, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org I would be happy to help you find the right community. You can not go through this journey without hope which will bring you rest and a community of people to help.
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