How can “good” and “grief” go together? Aren’t they opposites? “Good” is good and “grief” is bad … right?
When I hear, “Good grief” I think of Charlie Brown who is famous for the expression. I love Charlie Brown. Poor little guy … nothing ever seems to go his way. We are big fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. As a family, we have two Charlie Brown specials that we like to watch in particular, the Halloween special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The kids know exactly where, in A Charlie Brown Christmas, I start to tear up and they give me the look like, are you going to cry again? Linus’ explanation of what Christmas is all about gets me every time, along with the scene where the Peanuts gang transform Charlie Brown’s sad little Christmas tree into a spectacular display of ornaments and lights.
What we like best about It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is when the Peanuts gang compare what they get after each house they trick or treat at. One says, “I got a chocolate bar.” Another, “I got a pack of gum.” And another, “I got a quarter.” Charlie Brown exclaims, “I got a rock.” He gets a rock every time.
Anyway, back to good grief, I’ve been learning how grieving is good and how my mourning involves a little rock collecting of it’s own.
One day last week, I woke up with rocks on the brain (not to be confused with “rocks for brains”, but instead, rocks were on my mind). All of a sudden, I needed rocks. With way more “important” things to do, I was off to the river.
Pastor Art gave me some wise advice a few days after Mike passed away. He reminded me of Matthew 5:4 which says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” He said sometimes we busy ourselves, we avoid grieving, but only when we grieve do we fully experience God’s comfort.
Curious about “mourning”, I googled it like I do many things and this is what I found: Grief is the beginning of mourning. Grief is what you feel or think when someone dies, or when you lose someone or something (including divorce, illness, injury, loss of a job, pet, treasured possessions etc). Mourning is how you let it out, or how you express the grief—outward expression, actions and reactions. There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think I’m still in the “shock slash numb” stage … numb is normal, as well as shock, sadness, guilt, and anger.
I told Pastor Art that I wasn’t going to try to be happy and I wasn’t going to try to be sad; I was just going to “be” and see where that takes me. I just want to be available to God and whatever He has planned for me in the “mourning”. I’m trying to heed Pastor Art’s advice to not busy myself and not avoid grieving, but I’ll admit I’m not necessarily embracing it … but I have started collecting rocks.
I don’t think I’ve fully grieved the loss of pre ALS Mike. The man who took care of me, who held me and kissed me and enveloped me with his strong arms and legs in our warm bed. He was like my cocoon and I, his butterfly.
The losses came fast and furious and I could barely keep up. Some things I’m over, some I’m not—I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. But now I can truly grieve and even though I’m a little scared of what that’s going to look like, I invite the comfort of God to envelop me … to be my cocoon and I, His butterfly.
South Alouette River at Maple Ridge Park
North Alouette River on 132 St