I started my blog a few years ago and entitled it Grieving Gumdrops: The Sweeter Side of Grief. It had been a few years after my daughter Lydia had passed away and I was at a place where I needed to recognize my blessings and focus on the positive in order to keep my own sanity. I’m sure some of you can relate to that feeling. So I began writing and sharing glimpses of my life where I could feel gratitude and hope shining through, slowly propelling me out of the darkness.
While it’s normal and so easy to fall into those grief traps, where we remain in the pits of sorrow and hopelessness, that’s not where we’re meant to stay. Our mindset sets the stage for the coming days in our lives, so it’s imperative that we do our best to refuel our brains with His truth.
Recently, I came across one of my posts where someone had commented, saying there was no sweeter side of grief, that they disagreed and had nothing good come out of their child’s death. I can understand this and agree in some aspect, as having your child die is the absolute worst. We believe and feel as if it’s the end of all endings and often wish we could die alongside them. What possible good could there be in such a horrific loss?
As some have voiced, that silver lining does not exist. I concur that grief, child loss in particular, is not sunshine and rainbows. Of course not. It sucks. It rips our souls apart. It makes us question our worth and contemplate why keep living. It’s dark and lonely-a treacherous pit that perpetuates sorrow.
We all need our feelings validated and heard. I could go on and on about how horrific the loss of a child is. But what good is that? Why focus on all that heavy sadness longer than we need to?
I get it. However, after the shock and fog of grief wears thin, reality sets in and years have passed, why choose to continue living in the dark?
Should we tell others, “Well, it’s terrible, you will feel like this the rest of your life, good luck. It doesn’t get any better. Life is over. It will forever be a depressing trench of tears?”
I’m refuse to live like that. I’m taking that power back that God gave me. The power of victory, to restore my joy, living with anticipation and good expectation.
While child loss is a life altering, horrendous hurt, it changes over time. The once piercing pain dissipates and we get stronger. The pain will always be there, just below the surface, but eventually, we learn to ride the waves of grief. We will have good days and bad days the rest of our lives, and that’s okay.
I’ve come across many in the last few months who have no hope. They are lost in a well of despair and turmoil. This deeply saddens me and makes my heart sink. I know the feeling. I’ve walked in those shoes. I weep for these poor people who believe they have nothing left to live for. After loss, the anger, fear, and pain often takes over rampantly, leaving fragments of hearts in its wake. It’s a scary place to dwell in.
Do they not know the love of Jesus? Well, some don’t, so it’s our job to show them.
While loss causes dreadful devastation, I also know that it also can be the start of a journey filled with new beginnings and blessings. That sounds weird I know, but in retrospect, it’s one of the things I have learned after experiencing such deep indescribable pain after my daughter died.
So many only see the negative- the what if’s, the sorrow, what they’re missing, the pain. That’s completely understandable and so easy to do-totally normal and acceptable. For myself, I absolutely could fixate on it all day if I chose to. We are supposed to feel the pain and indescribable sadness, mourn and cry, but we don’t have to live it forever.
I have million reasons to be sad and unhappy. But I also have a million reasons to be grateful.
So what if we turn the page and look at the other side of grief? The sweeter side I like to call it. The side that is slowly revealed when you least expect it and maybe you never knew it existed. It may take years to uncover, but I promise it’s there.
To find it, we must pour out our hearts and nurture our faith. By taking baby steps and having an open mind, it unexpectedly discovers us.
The sweeter side is the side of you who learned the capacity to love like you never believed possible. The side of you that has a heart of compassion waiting to be uncovered after being lost for so long. It’s that faith that had to be questioned and cultivated just to find that mustard seed deep down, the side that showed you how true love really felt. It’s that side of you that smiles and sheds tears simultaneously when you hear your child’s name.
You know that old saying, to love and to have lost is better than to have never loved at all. Initially, it made me angry, offended me and made me want to throw up whenever I heard it. At the time, I had just lost my future, myself, my life, my precious child. Yet over time, (years), my perspective changed.
I’ve gained that eternal perspective- knowledge and wisdom beyond anything imaginable-to know that I will be reunited with my beautiful girl someday. I’ve learned that He does make beauty out of ashes, and that He absolutely did die to give us an abundant life, not a life of sadness and hurt.
I’ve been given the perspective to appreciate the intricacy of flowers, the spotted baby fawns in my yard every spring and the renewal of life, physically and spiritually. What a gift, the ability to be present in the moment, opening our eyes to see the blessings we have right in front of us. Many things I was oblivious to before my daughter passed away. It awakened a new spirit in me.
How awesome when we feel the delight in our hearts that warms us when we think of our children. Our subdued smiles and joy brewing beneath hunger for those memories we are scared to lose. Rest assured, our loved ones will always be with us.
We must modify our hearts and seize every opportunity we have, to shed a light for those who are new on this difficult path, for we can be vessels of hope for them.
We have the gift of a listening heart to help others, to know that our jobs here on earth are unfinished, to be a giver, taking the opportunity to plant those seeds of hope, no matter how small they may be.
We must unite and connect with others who understand our journey and make every effort to live and love life with a passion that we never knew we had, to do things we never believed we could achieve and take those chances while believing in ourselves. Most importantly, we must have hope, waiting expectantly and confidently for things to come. That’s what God wants us to do. We simply cannot exist and live without hope. We must have that grit, that determination and drive to strive, believing for something better.
Death of our loved ones is not all perpetual sadness and pain but we must intentionally take the opportunity to recognize that beauty does lie beneath those ashes, we just have to uncover it when the time is right. Rest assured, this does not happen overnight. It can take years. Don’t give up.
Perspective is everything. A reminder to be grateful for what we do have, because someone, somewhere is fighting battles beyond our comprehension.
I truly believe that we are not meant to hang onto our pain, but to use it for good. God doesn’t want us living blindly in sorrow, but wants us to have the life that He died to give us, flourishing in joy, love, peace, and hope.
If I can do this, so can you. What do we have to lose?