The Price of Love
Chances are, you've been on the receiving end of that phone call that forever changes your life. You hang up the phone and you're left reeling. At times, the news is a complete shock. Other times, due to illness or some other reason, you may have began preparing yourself for this day. Either way, the news of the loss you now are dealing with has just thrown you on the struggle bus. For some, that loss was made known by a phone call. For others, that loss was realized in the midst of the emergency room. Some are standing beside their best friend when he or she is taken. And some are holding their spouse as they realize the dreams they had for their unborn child are quickly fading. Whatever the catalyst that threw you on the bus, fact is, you're now stuck in this almost hopeless cycle of pain, tears, anger, hopelessness, guilt, and everything else. And no, this grief is not only triggered by death. Grief is a natural response to any kind of loss, be in the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the sudden shocking loss of a relationship, and anything in between and beyond that seemingly robs you of what you truly and purely love.
> Someone once said, "Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. It is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith; it is the price of love."
When we get punched in the gut with grief, the immediate response is to try to run away from it. Why? Well, honestly, I'm not sure there is ANY emotional or physical pain that hurts worse. We run away by trying to numb it, working ourselves into exhaustion, surrounding ourselves with distractions, etc. I don't have magical words that will ease the pain or speed up the process, but what I do want to offer is a little bit of perspective. The last six words of the above quote..."it is the price of love." That hits deep. No matter who you are, do you know what the person or thing we grieve has in common across the board? LOVE. We love our parents. We love our best friend whom we lost. We love that unborn child. We love that relationship. We love that career that was cut short due to injury. We love whatever it is we grieve. They say that love hurts, and I believe that hurt is manifested through grief.
Now, how does this help? Truth is, right now, in the midst of pain, it may not. What is needed when we find ourselves sitting in this seat on the bus is a willingness to own the fact that this hurts, badly. When we own it though, we must own the reason behind the pain, and that is because we LOVE! And, truth is, we still have love to give. Dreams, hopes, plans for tomorrow...all of that stuff that we were robbed of is a product of the pure LOVE we share with others.
Because I am secure in the fact that I shared a love with one of my best friends who died of cancer at age 21, I can begin to healthily allow grief to do it's job, and that is lead to healing. The love we share as brothers, even if it was prematurely severed by his death, made me STRONGER when he was alive, and guess what, in his death, it made me even stronger. His voice still echoes in my heart and mind, over ten years later, pushing me further. Do I miss him? Absolutely. Will I ever stop? I sure hope not. Does it hurt? Yep. But...the grief I feel surrounding Nathan George has somehow, in it's weird way, allowed me to understand even more the meaning of love. That love gives me faith, makes me stronger, and moves me deeper into who I am and was created to be. And Nate passing away of cancer actually somehow, again, in it's weird way, helped prepare me for miscarriages and the loss of my parents, just to name a few.
So, if you're on the bus, sit there, in the quiet, in the questions, and FEEL IT. Feel the pain. Cry. Get pissed if you have to. Give yourself permission to feel. Then, remind yourself that the reason you hurt is simply because you love (Notice I didn't say "loved," cause love never ends). And the love we have for each other...that pure love...that's a good thing. So yes, I hurt, but I hurt because I've got more love to give to who I lost...so why not, as healing happens, start giving that love to others who need it. Maybe, just maybe, that is how we honor the love we have for those we've lost too soon.