Learning the Ways of Grief

“Have mercy on me Lord, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by my sadness.” Psalm 31:9-10​

Somehow until the past few months of my life, I was oblivious to this verse. In fact I feel like I was blissfully unaware of so many of the cries of pain and lament in the Bible. It isn’t that I haven’t had struggles in my life. I’d just never experienced the devastation that grief can bring. That all changed when the ultrasound tech confirmed my worst fear. There was no heartbeat visible for one of our twins. What only three weeks ago had been a sweet, wiggling baby measuring perfectly at nine weeks was now still and lifeless. The other baby looked strong and healthy, but that offered little consolation in the wake of this devastating news.

I spent the remainder of that week in shock, disbelief, and despair. I cried until I was sure there were no tears left, and then I cried more.  I was able to take a little time off of work which was so helpful. My world had shattered and I didn’t know how to pick up the pieces. But, life goes on. It doesn’t really give you the option to hide. I had two children and a husband who needed me. I had a job that I had to go back to, and I still had a little baby growing inside of me. And so, I limped back into my duties. I don’t want to say that things got easier, but being a part of family dinners and classrooms full of kids did help me find pieces of joy. *I have to add that what I’m not diving into in this post are the many ways that God provided for me during this time and the many, many family and friends who eased my burden.*

I read a devotional during those first few weeks that centered around Psalm 30:5 which says “Sorrow may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” This verse makes it sound like there is a quick turn around between the sorrow and the joy. The author of the devotional talked about how long it takes for night to turn into morning. The change is ever so gradual as the hours of early morning pass. From pitch black to ever lightening shades of gray until the dawn finally breaks. It was really helpful to think about grief in that way. I couldn’t expect to go from pitch black to bright light in an instant. I had to look for the gradual changes that signaled healing. If you want to read the whole devotional you can find it here. (If you don’t have a daily devotional, I can’t recommend signing up for Proverbs 31’s Encouragement for Today. They email you a new, brief, but always meaningful devotional each morning. To subscribe, click here.)

Fast forward to today. It has been almost two months since we were told about the loss of our sweet baby. Being new to this walk with grief, I’ve had to adjust my view of grief. What I first thought of as something I could overcome or get over quickly morphed into the idea of the gradual lightening of grief. Placed in that metaphor, up until yesterday, I would have said that my pitch black had continued to gradually lighten until I was truly noticing the shades of gray. I felt like I was moving forward. And then, boom. For no reason that I can pinpoint, yesterday I felt as though I’d been shoved right back into the blackness of night. So now it seems as if my idea of grief must morph again. From a process that is linear, always moving forward, to… what? I suppose I will find out as I continue to walk this path. What about you? What is your idea of grief?

Far be it from me to end with no hope. I’m a staunch supporter of hope in all situations. I cling to it now even as I feel back in the depths of grief. The verse that I have all but tattooed on my arm throughout this process is Psalm 34:18 which says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  I know that God is with me no matter where I am in dealing with my grief.


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