As we walk in this journey of life we’ll often be thrown into the despair and darkness that we call grief.
I’ve often battled with my own grief as it hasn’t fallen into the boxes and the way that society views grief and how we should process it within certain times and bounds.
But as I’ve sat in my own grief, unbeknownst to me that it was grief I was battling and I’ve talked it through with others, they’ve validated my pain and my grief and reminded me that grief doesn’t look the same for all and that combined with our resilience and the intensity of our grief and the impact of the person or thing we are grieving has had on our life will dictate how we navigate this season.
The word of God says..
““I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John chapter 14, verse 27).
This bible verse of God speaking to us has been one of significance in my life and I’ve even had it tattooed on my body to remind me of his love and the gifts he’s given us.
However, when I’m in those dark seasons of grief, I wonder how someone who loves us so deeply and tells us he leaves us with the gift of peace, can allow us to live through such seasons of grief. God has never left me during my times of grief and darkness though and has supported me through every chapter of my grief.
I was one of those people who for so long believed that grief was something we experienced only when we lost a person in life.
Through my own journey with grief though I’ve learnt we can grieve so much more; changes in friendships, changes in our workplace, changes in our church, a physical move, a pandemic, leaving our friends on the other side of the world, a change in our health and so much more.
For the last 462 days, I’ve been on a journey grieving the life I lived in South Africa albeit it only being 426 days.
- The friends I had to say goodbye to after an intense season in my life living and breathing a different culture and lifestyle, the people who held me in my homesickness and culture shock who became my family and my lifelines.
- The babies and children I was blessed to love and care for in my season, as I continue to watch them grow up through technology and becoming gorgeous little humans who love so much.
Also, such a privilege to watch them leave the children’s home to go to their forever families or be reunified with their biological families, but such a bittersweet moment knowing our paths may never cross again despite the beautiful impact they’ve had on my life.
- The endless lessons I learnt on a daily basis, the joy the babies and children bought everyday into my life, the privilege of loving them, learning the journey of loving to let go, how to live and love in a country and community with such distress and devastation, learning how to function with the frequent power cuts and waterless times.
- All that I missed out on during my time away, from weddings to my friends having babies to the greatest heartache of losing my Granny and having to watch her funeral online.
- The person that I became, the deep joy that I found and the authentic relationships that I walked in. These things that revealed to me the real me, yet haven’t felt quite so natural since I returned home.
What has my grief taught me?
Through my journey of learning about grief, I’ve learnt that just like we are all unique and created to perfection, our response and resilience and how we all grieve is unique as well.
I often wonder why life throws us so many curveballs and dark times, but you know what? These curveballs and times of trial are what shape us into the strong, resilient and courageous individuals we are.
I really dislike that we compare our paths and journeys to other people. We may walk similar roads, but we aren’t all going to have the same level of resilience or strength as someone else.
We never know what someone else is going through or how they are processing their grief, so let’s all be kind and gracious and uphold one another as we journey the rollercoaster of grief.
I am a Young Salvationist who lives in Upper Hutt, Wellington. I am passionate about enhancing the life experiences of others and do this in my paid employment as a Support worker for those with Intellectual Disabilities and as a volunteer leader for GirlGuiding New Zealand. I love to create, write and travel the world and have a passion for submerging myself in the cultures of each place I travel. I left my heart in Africa a month before Covid sent the world into lockdown and I cannot wait to be able to return and serve in a continent that stole so much of my heart.