When Grief Comes Knocking

“When Grief comes knocking, answer the door. Let her in.

Let her tell you all that was lost. Let her remind you how marvelous it was. Let her paint your memories in slow motion, let her sing your story with a cello. Let her teach you gratefulness and how to pay attention.Do not turn her away at the door. If you do, she will come back again knocking.

Let her speak her piece. Let her do her work, cleansing you of your tears. Then send her on her way. Then you can sleep through the night without waking from her tapping” (Jane Marczewski, excerpt from an unreleased poem “When Grief Comes Knocking”).

I think people process grief in different ways. Some internalize while others feel the constant need to express their sorrow in manifold ways, whether through social media or through talking about their lost loved one in conversations. Some visibly show emotions while others choose to grieve privately.

I’ve also learned that because someone processes loss differently than you doesn’t make it wrong. Criticizing another’s way of showing grief only compounds their sorrow and does nothing to alleviate yours.

I’m not an expert in the field of grieving. I do remember the story of Job and how his friends came around in his time of sorrow. Perhaps the best thing they ever did for him was to sit with him in silence and be present to his loss. They messed up when they opened their mouths and tried to explain his suffering, attempting to speak for God and to heal his wounds with words. If they had stayed silent, Job’s pain might have been lessened and the book of Job might be quite a bit shorter. Then again, maybe not.

I know when people are hurting, your presence helps much more than your platitudes. Be the kind of person you would have wanted and do what you would have wanted done for you when you were grieving, and above all trust God to be the healer and comforter.

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