by Leah Stirewalt
As we tiptoe closer to those often-marked events that can wreak havoc in the life of a grieving widow, I’m reminded of a place I found myself this time last year. A place I had to stop and ponder – several times over – whether or not I belonged there or was truly there to begin with.
The Road of Healing.
I had been trudging along what I still dub, Grief Road, going through the motions of my new normal. I had some good days and many, many bad days, but I could see a gradual change in the good vs. the bad. Overall, I felt I was doing pretty well, considering having gone through the loss of my husband to suicide within the past year. I honestly didn’t know where I was on Grief Road, but I knew that I could sense God healing me…in His own way, and in His own timing BUT with my determination and deep desire to allow Him to do it.
So, what caused me to stop and ponder on that definitive day around this time last year, when I felt my two roads – Grief Road and The Road of Healing – had converged? It was the feeling of being suckerpunched. Suddenly – I felt as if my world had stopped, yet again. To me, it seemed as if it came out of nowhere. But, I vividly remember the realization I felt when I noticed the holiday season was coming up quickly, and I would not be spending it with my sweet husband that year. Oh, the ache I felt at that sudden insight.
I began to wobble on that supposed Road of Healing. Suddenly, I felt I had taken a detour along a new road. It looked similar to Grief Road, but yet different. I felt so unsure on this new road and so shaky. I felt I was a foreigner on very unforgiving soil. I began to listen to my own thoughts…
You have a long way to go.
You’ve had a setback in your healing.
You’re nowhere where you thought you were.
See? The grieving process will never end.
Oh, the thoughts! The ugly, self-defeating thoughts.
Thankfully, with the help of some friends, I began to see the untruths of those thoughts. Yes – it was a very difficult time that had just crested in my life. The waves were going to be crashing again. But, they don’t last forever. Just like the waves in the ocean can’t stay in one place forever, this place of pain would also not last. It was very difficult, but I found walking directly into that place of pain, rather than trying to avoid it, actually helped me to get to the other side even more healed than I was when I began.
A setback? Hardly! I was being way too hard on myself. It was all a normal part of the process. I just had to come to that realization myself. It’s okay to be moving along The Road of Healing to discover a momentary detour. It’s okay to cry…to scream…to feel deep loneliness…to be angry…a whole host of other emotions on this detour. Just don’t get off the detour and make your own path. Keep moving…keep walking, and if you simply can’t walk right now…allow God to carry you. He just wants you to ask.
Isaiah 42:16 (NIV1984)…
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.