A few girlfriends and I spent time chatting, worshipping, crying and praying together the other day. It struck me that we kept saying the words, “I’m so sorry” as we paused to blow our noses or sniffle, as if it weren’t okay that we were sad about the sucky things going on in our lives. Every concern was worthy of tears, grief, questioning, and sadness. Why are we sorry that we’re upset over things that we should be upset over? Saying goodbye to foster babies, being diagnosed with a terrible illness, friends and family members who have cancer, a husband disabled by a brain injury…these things are worth crying over. Yet, even I, one who is well acquainted with grief, apologized for being sad. My inner dialogue was telling me that I should “get over it” already. It’s been two years, surely everyone expects me to be over it by now. Why are we so uncomfortable with grief? Even our very own, very real grief.
Still. That simple little word has haunted me for years. When Zack got sick I thought, “Will I still be sad in six months…in a year…in two years?” The answer is a resounding yes. Yes, I am still sad. Still, dammit. I have never stopped being sad. No I am not paralyzed by my sadness any longer, and for that I am thankful. But I have come to understand, and even embrace the fact that I will be sad for the rest of my life. I am never going to stop being sad. My husband lost his ability to walk, speak, show emotion, feed himself, stand up, sing, laugh, yell, play music, jump, run, play with our baby, support our family. He has gained some of those abilities back over time and we celebrate each milestone with joy and pride…and grief. Because he shouldn’t have to learn again.
I will be sad forever. Even if restoration comes in this life. The horror we have lived through will cause sadness for always. A sweet friend recently shared how distraught she was to hear me say that I would be sad forever. I can understand, we don’t want our loved ones to be sad or to experience pain. But life is painful and messy and ugly. And bad stuff happens to unsuspecting people everyday. Those we love are well worth the grief and sadness. It’s okay to be sad. If no one else gives you permission, if no one else feels comfortable with it, hear me now…it’s okay to express your grief. Express it until it’s all gone, until your soul is weary and your knees are weak. It’ll hurt like hell, do it anyway. Loved ones, your job is only to hug, cry, cover, carry, love, and fight for and because of our sadness. And occasionally sweep our floors when we can’t get off the couch…You don’t need to have special words.
I will be sad forever because my husband is my best good friend in the whole world. All his lost abilities and dreams-they’re worth it, he’s worth it.
I will be sad forever because my daughter will never know her dado before brain injury. She is worth it.
I will be sad forever because my relationship with my husband, as I knew it, was taken in a day. The missed slow dances at weddings. The inability to walk hand in hand around the block. The loss of easy and effortless conversation. Having to shoulder a larger load of parenting and finances. The loss of emotional connectivity. The loneliness that has gripped my spirit night after night. I am worth it.
The good news is that time does mend. There will always be pain, until Jesus comes back and the aches of this life are rectified in our souls. I don’t have to live there anymore, those days have passed and done their job. I get to live in and through hope, the sweet grace and mercy of my Jesus. And sometimes I still feel sad. They can coexist, grace and sadness.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Oh my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy.
Yet He is holy. Still.