What Is Grief?
© Betty Sue Eaton
As you move beyond your loss, perhaps you are wrestling with the basic question:  Just what
IS grief?  Grief, simply put, is an emotion rooted in loss, separation.  No matter what has been
lost, or who has been lost, or from what or whom we are separated, the emotion manifesting
itself in us is a deep sense of grief!

Do you ever remember being left with a baby sitter, an aunt or sister, for an evening?  
Remember how desolate you felt that your Mom and Dad were out of your sight even for a
short while?  Remember the feeling of betrayal and anger that you were left behind?  The
loss is inestimable!  You probably felt as though you would never see your loved ones again!  
You felt as though you had lost connection with reality; and in a sense, you had.  But the loss
you felt was temporary. Losing a loved one in death is not temporary; it is permanent until we
meet them again in heaven.

When my daughter married, I gave her as something old my Grandmother Parker's wide, gold
wedding band inscribed inside with "ADP to Delia A".  One day while my daughter was at
work, their house was burglarized and along with ear studs that my mother had given her, the
thief took the wedding ring!  I cried as though I were losing Grandmother Parker all over
again!  Sure, it was only a gold ring, but to me, it was a link with the history of my past and my
daughter's as well. Today, that little gold ring would have been over 100 years old and
lovingly passed on along to my granddaughter.  What I felt was a deep sorrow over a "thing",
but a very cherished thing to be sure.  When we feel that attached to things, the loss of them
is just as painful as losing someone dear to us, as those things represent that person in our
hearts.

Everyone and everything has a finite period of life or existence, and when that time has
expired, then it or they die. We become attached to having that thing, person, way of life, with
us. We find it hard ~ if not impossible to let those things or persons go out of our lives, and
when that happens, we have a sense of disappointment, of loss, in some cases ~
abandonment ~ that is hard to get past.

We all know that we cannot change history and what has happened, even though it is only
milliseconds from occurring, it is already history. We cannot turn back the hands of time and
make events "unhappen". That is a law of physics, a natural law that is incontrovertible! If that
were not so, we would have caused wars, famine, destruction, catastrophes to never have
happened – in a sense ~ to "unhappen". But that is not God's law! God's law is that He is
the Master of the Universe and has dominion over everything in the Universe  ~even the
death of our loved ones, the separation from what or whom we loved with all our hearts.

The only way I know to cope with a loss of either a loved one or a beloved thing is to cherish
the memories we had of them when they were with us, and in some way, honor their memory,
whether in our hearts, or as many do, in a significant concrete way as a lasting memorial to
them. That memorial will not bring them back but it will keep them with us in our hearts and
minds. One such way is the establishing of scholarships for others to benefit in a real way.
Another example of such memorials is the Viet Nam Wall of Names and other such tributes.

However, none of these memorials will resurrect our loved ones or bring back the lost item. In
all Creation, there has been only One who died and was resurrected in Spirit form, and that
person was Jesus Christ, who was born of man, lived in the flesh, died and was resurrected
as God's Spirit. Jesus Christ in God from God, from life in the flesh to Spirit, and back to God.
When we understand all these things, we must also recognize that God is in control of our
mortal lives, even as He was of Christ's life on earth.

When we finally understand all these things, we must also understand that we will meet Him
in heaven and be reunited with all our loved ones who have gone before us. We will
understand that things we cherished on earth have no meaning when we sit at the feet of God
with Jesus standing at His right hand. We must also understand that all our lives are but
fleeting moments in God's time, and that ALL things and people will eventually die or cease to
exist.

That does not mean that we loose all feeling of love for those whom we have lost; it only
means that we must love them in a different form, in a different way than the way in which we
have been accustomed. We must now love them through God's eyes, for they surely are in
His presence now, as all who believe in Him will soon be. We must thank God for taking care
of those loved ones and continue to live out His plan for our lives here on earth. We must  be
ever thankful to have had those loved ones with us here for a little time before God called
them back home to live eternally with Him in heaven.


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