Exactly one month after my son died I sat at a table in Barnes & Noble looking into the eyes of a woman who gently said, “Will you tell me about him?” And as I choked back tears and grasped for words she said, “It’s ok. Take your time. How about I tell you about my Anna?” And as I listened my heart broke with her as she retold her own story of losing her daughter. Yet while my heart was breaking for her and with her, a remarkable sense of comfort swept over me.
For the first time since my son had died I realized that I was not alone, that there was another mama who could understand the heartbreak of burying a child. And without even saying a word we could understand one another’s pain. I realized that it was ok to be both numb and overtaken with emotion all at the same time. I realized that I was allowed to be angry with God and confused about his goodness and to admit that the pain hurt like hell and that I had never been more afraid in my entire life. And for the first time since my son died I realized that I would be ok. Maybe not in that moment or even the day after, but one day.
That coffee date with Kate was one of the most helpful and hope-filled moments I experienced following the death of my son. God used Kate to bring me hope. He reminded me that I wan’t alone and He gently cared for my soul that December night in a way that nothing else could have. Simply through her knowing. Through her understanding.
There is nothing quite so lonely as grief. The wound is unseen and often misunderstood. It is often messy and always awkward. What a sweet comfort it is when that awkward, messy and painful wound is understood by someone simply because they have known the same pain. No words are really necessary.
“Grief is a very lonely experience. You know, even if all your friends are there for you in the best way possible — your spouse is there for you, all of those things — the essence of grief is a deep, pervasive loneliness… But for many of us, when you’re carrying this huge load of sorrow and you look up, and you see someone who is shedding tears — that they are so identifying with your loss that they are in a sense carrying some of the load of sorrow for you — that’s an incredible gift to give to someone who’s grieving.” Nancy Guthrie
The Joyful Mourning Community is a Facebook group created to do just that: to be a gift of knowing, of understanding, of carrying loads of sorrow for a grieving mother. An opportunity to feel known and understood by other women who are walking through loss and heartache too. The online community was created to be a safe place to take a breath, to ask hard questions, to feel the freedom to express doubts and fears, and a place to find consistent reminders of hope.
Join The Joyful Mourning Community and find hope today.
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If you are walking alongside a friend who is grieving: your friendship, your support, your love and care is not of lesser value than that of someone who has experienced loss. Both are not necessary and valuable to our healing.