Friday, August 19, 2011

Good Grief – Is that an Oxymoron?

"Good grief," is a phrase that was used all the time on Charlie Brown. Good Grief also sounds like it should be the title of a book on mourning, and it may be I just haven't googled it yet. But is Good Grief an oxymoron? (Look the word up. My momma says it will help you to remember the definition.)

People grieve over many things – the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a marriage, the loss of something substantial like a home or vehicle, the death of a pet, the loss of status. Some say that children who are adopted grieve for their birth parents. We can grieve over any given thing when the loss is great enough. There is no escaping grief either. You may try to avoid it. You may try to skip it by filling up the void, stuffing the emotions and feelings inside, or even taking on an unhealthy dependency or habit, BUT YOU CANNOT AVOID IT. It will come out one way or another. What I've discovered is that grieving doesn't end at the funeral service. It doesn't end at the end of the first or the second year. Grieving is also not a checklist either. "Okay, I've done this phase of grieving, and now I'm into this phase." There is no order to grieving either. Everyone grieves differently. That's why when someone is grieving some of the best therapy is to just listen and to be physically present.

Sometimes we grieve. We work through it, but years down the road, we get hit blindsided by it. The last month my husband and I went through fertility treatments there were 3 eggs. For a week and a half I had all of the signs of being VERY pregnant – sensitivity, nausea, severe fatigue, etc. It was the only time during the time of our fertility treatments I ever felt that way. After a week and a half though, there was nothing, and I knew I was no longer pregnant. Did I grieve for those 3 babies? You bet. Anyone who has miscarried regardless of how long they have carried will and can grieve for those babies. From time to time I think about how old they would be and what they look like in heaven. Now you need to understand I had known since I was a senior in high school that I would adopt in order to be a mom. I cannot imagine my life without my kids. The point is that you deal with your grief, you work through it, but it still may come back to you from time to time. You aren't crazy!

There is such a thing as Good Grief. Good Grief is grief that you work through, that you get help with when you get stuck, and that you address from time to time after the initial grieving period.

You may think this is an odd blog, but really it isn't. I blog about what is going on in my life and what I'm learning. I took a class on lay counseling and a class on support groups in August in seminary. My project for support groups is on a grief support group. Little did I know that God was trying to prepare me for the journey ahead.

My mother-in-law whom I have known since June of 1990 has chosen not to fight to live. She has chosen to die. She had an emergency gall bladder surgery towards the end of April, and she went septic as a result. Her liver has never regained functionality. She doesn't want to go on the transplant list, and she is ready to go home to see her sweet Savior. Now, not only will I be going through the grieving process, but I will be leading my children through it. My daughter is a deep well of emotions. Pearce is a bit young to understand it all, but we'll see how he grieves. I've received some wonderful ideas from friends about how to help my children grieve.

So, periodically, I'm going to blog on Good Grief. It will be part of my grieving process, but if it helps someone else to walk through grieving and not stuff it down then it is worth it. I assure you it won't all be gloom and doom either. For Christians we have a hope of seeing our loved one again in heaven, and that is always something for which to be thankful!


  1. Okay - I can't select any of the choices for reactions because there isn't one for AMEN! Girl - I am praying for you and your family. I also have to say that I look forward to your insights on "Good Grief". I, too, miscarried and often wonder about that baby. But I love, love what you ended with and say a big AMEN SISTAH! Love you.

  2. There is a booklet on mourning called "Good Grief."

    You sound like you know what to expect. With all the loss we suffered a while back, I certainly know how unpredictable grief can be. It still hits me sometimes. I saw a guy who reminded me of Dean the other day...makes my heart ache so much.

    I will pray for you as you walk the kids through it. They are so resilient...don't be so focused on walking them through that you forget about letting yourself grieve...and, of course, it will be hardest on Patrick.


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