Grieving is very unpredictable. It’s difficult to anticipate when the emotions will show up. Sometimes, like on Saturday, when I attended a wedding, I can be pretty certain that my participation is likely to evoke an emotional response at some point. Surprisingly, I got through the marriage ceremony very well and thoroughly enjoyed it from the beginning to the lively, unique recessional. However, I didn’t hold up as well at the reception. All went well, until the bride and groom danced together for the first time as husband and wife, and the emotions were compounded when the DJ invited all the couples to join them on the dance floor. The tears flowed then as they do once again, even more freely now, in the privacy of my home. My heart aches, remembering my Bofren’s warm embrace, as he was always faithful to dance the slow dances with me. And then there are the love songs; they always get to me!
Yes… quite unpredictable! I did not expect any emotion as I relived that memory of the reception and it’s intensity was doubled this time around. I am learning that God gives me the grace to be stronger or more controlled when I’m in a public situation (so far). I would not feel embarrassed if I wasn’t able to contain the overflow of my feelings, but there is a very large part of me that does not want to expose myself or anyone else to the “ugly cries” when I am in a public setting. I do think however; that it is very important and healthy to let it out when it comes! Sometimes, I feel more comfortable getting off by myself, when I need a good cry; other times it feels better to break down in the compassionate embrace of a loved one or close friend.
On occasion, I don’t understand what triggers my reaction, for example: out of the blue, I once started crying while I was at my dentist’s office, getting my teeth cleaned. Most often though, it is easy to recognize what inspired the strong emotions.
Last week, my daughter, Sarah, and I were running errands and I was totally unprepared for the feelings that would arrive as we passed through the huge glass doors at the lumber and construction materials section of Home Depot. I was stunned by the fragrance of the pine lumber and was reminded of all the time that Buck and I had spent there and at Lowe’s. The three years prior to our moving to our new property, we worked hard to prepare the A-frame house he built, in order to put it on the market. We also made many visits as we were planning our new home and countless trips were made, as our new home became a reality. So many dreams, decisions and compromises took place in those wide isles.
As Sarah and I left the huge storehouse of memories, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. In my effort to restore my joy, my sense of humor peaked out, as through my tears, I made the sarcastic comment: “How romantic!!!” It helped me to cry and laugh at the same time and made the moment feel more manageable and still healthy in acknowledging the pain, but smiling at the remembrances.
Occasionally, I run into the “first times” unknowingly, but often I anticipate the predictable outcome. Sometimes I’m surprised and other times, I think I know what to expect. The feelings are always strong as I remember the amazing person my Bofren was. I miss my Sweetheart so much, but my life is full of wonderful people and I am so blessed as I walk my new journey. It is difficult, but the Lord makes it doable. He always helps me move past the pain and He restores the JOY that I totally depend on Him to provide. I am very thankful that He is teaching me how to choose JOY even when my heart hurts. This is not something I can conjure up or talk myself into. He continues to be faithful as I find contentment in getting my life in order and growing ever closer to my Lord and my family and friends.