Updated: Jan 15, 2020
When I think of grief one word that can sum it up is "paradox". Everything about grief is a paradox. You can have pain with love, anger with joy, or tears with laughter. I'm sure that there are even more when it comes to the emotions that we feel going through the journeys of grief. What grief have you had in life? Some are more close to the heart than others, but even the ones that aren't close you still have this grief. I've lost friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, my parents, and our baby. All of which come with different strengths of grief. The waves that I felt for some were not as strong as the waves for others. I know for instance when we lost my Uncle Doug I was sad. I was sad, because I would never see him on this planet again, would never hear his little chuckle playing cards with everyone else as he was about to win, or just having him around in general. This grief came and went, but it was tied together with sadness and joy. I often do think about him and the loving father and husband that he was which makes me smile.
I remember when I lost my dad I was torn apart. Not knowing really what to think except why, why now at such a young age of 59? Why couldn't it be in a year after I get married? Why couldn't we go out for one last surf? Although I don't know if either one of us would've stood up. I remember thinking why didn't I get more things off of my chest with him. There was a lot of pain, pain that I ran away from by drinking. I had moved to Texas for a minute after loosing him all the while my wife was planning our wedding back here in California. I was alone with no one around except the few times I went to Dallas to see my brother. So I drank. Literally every night I drank and every day I sweated it out. Sometimes at the bar and sometimes at my apartment and sometimes both. I went from 225 to 255 by the time we actually did get married that year (within 4 months). I remember sitting there for nights thinking about him and having eyes full of tears. I remember thinking of the times that were joyful as well as painful. I remember thinking of the family race cars and the times that I wish he would've handled things differently. Bottom line is again there were times where there was absolute pain, but also these loving joyful memories in the middle of all of my grief. Times when I should be sad, but I'm laughing. Or crying but they're tears of joy. Times of paradox.
When we lost Lenora the Lord gave me this spiritual strength that today I still have a hard time explaining. I call it my Samson strength. When I think about it today the only thing that I can come up with is that I needed it. I needed it for myself, for my wife and for my children. I thought that it was only so that I could be there for Maxine, but now that I've had some time to reflect back I've realized it was for myself most. I had just started working on coming out of a depressive state only a month before losing her. Could you imagine what it could've been like if I didn't have that moment where God pulled me up and set me back on two feet. If I didn't listen and start to get help. Here I thought this is crazy. I should be completely dysfunctional right now. I mean don't get me wrong I was sad, mad, mind blown that she died, loving a child I would only hold for part of a day, but still had this peace, grace, and energy about it all. It's crazy how we don't even recognize what God is doing within us when we are in these moments. I know that I could feel his mercy and I remember feeling it, but it was just weird that I didn't have the typical numbness of grief. It was honestly so powerful that my wife thought that I was already over losing our daughter, because of this supernatural strength. I wasn't though, I'm still not. There are and have been plenty of times where I'm caught up in my emotions about Lenora and I find myself in tears. Tears of missing her and not being able to see her or hear her. Tears of not being able to know her or hold her. Then there are those moments where I smile, because I imagine her in Heaven just running around playing in the fields of flowers and not having to worry about a thing. Maybe even being pushed on a swing or pushing someone on a swing. I can see her long beautiful brown hair blowing in the heavenly gusts. I can hear a cute little chuckle like a child playing in the distance. I can't wait to see who she has become in that place.
I've come to realize that with grief comes different waves and with those waves different strengths. Some are quick rides and some are long rides. Some just throw you right off the board and into the water. There is one place of understanding that I've come to and that even with the deepest pain comes some of the greatest joy. That we have to learn to walk hand and hand with our grief the rest of our lives. It's never gone for good. It's just a friend that comes over every now and then. Without the visits from grief how would we ever feel and see our love for those that we lose? How would we ever grow to learn to love more? Grief is love, pain, joy, sadness, tears, laughter and so much more. Emotions might contradict each other and might happen at the same time, but how the soul heals is what brings it altogether. The superstition that grief is only pain and suffering is a lie that has been brought to belief. True grief is a paradox that with pain and suffering comes love and joy.