Getting Through A Loss, Not Over One

March 28, 2009 by Audreys 

There are so many cliches out there like “This too shall pass”, “Time heals all wounds”, etc. etc.  I could probably list about a dozen or so but I won’t.  Trust me, when you are going through a loss, simple words of advice offer little comfort. Some people will say ‘you will get through this’.  And they are right, you will.  Others, however, will say, ‘you will get over it’ and will expect you to ‘return to normal’ rather quickly.  My friends, these people are incorrect.  First, there is no returning to the ‘normal’ you were before; second, you will never truly get over your loss.  Your grief for your baby will forever be in your hearts.  It might not be as intense, but it will always be there. Why? Simply put, our hearts will never ever stop loving those who have gone on before us. 

There are some weeks when I feel like every day since we lost Katelyn has brought with it another learning experience.  It is amazing how reactions from other people have had such an impact on us.  We could have written a book on all of the different ways people treated us after Katelyn died, including the words that comforted and those that didn’t.  Some friends and family chose avoidance, others compassion, others were there with us every step of the way, and still others brushed us off like we were making a big deal out of something that was not that important at all.  Following a loss like ours, it quickly becomes very apparent who truly, completely and without a doubt has Christ’s love in their hearts.  This love shone and continues to shine above all others.  What surprised us the most was the reaction from some close friends and family who claim to love the Lord with their whole being, and yet were part of the avoidance group and still remain there.  

I have to admit, there were times when I was not always that shoulder that someone needed to cry on, or that available listener in the middle of the night.  Since we lost Katelyn, though, I look at these situations differently.  I am also more cognizant of the fact that sometimes when people are flat out mean and hurtful, there could be something they are experiencing that is causing their behavior.  The main reason is because there is no way for me to tell at face value what trials a person is going through, has already experienced, or is about to experience.  Maybe they are not even going through a trial at all. Maybe they are just miserable with life and feel better when they make everyone else feel as miserable as they do.  No matter the reason, I now fully understand that nothing I can say or do will change that person’s heart.  Only God can. 

I remember a few weeks after Katelyn died and going back to work and feeling the pity around me and the sadness.  My wound was still fresh so I was emotionally not ‘all together’ as you might say.  I shared my story with a select few individuals at first, and then to more as time went on.  I remember vividly that there were some people who (though they did not voice this) thought I was loony or something because my faith in Jesus had grown stronger.  I was gathering all my strength from Him.  To be completely honest, I don’t think Scott or I would have been able to get through losing our baby if it wasn’t for the strength and hope we receive from Jesus. 

A few weeks after going back to work I was literally torn to pieces during a conference call with a colleague in the company.  Since this incident happened so soon after losing Katelyn, my emotions were still very raw and close to the surface.  Rather than lashing out at this person, I used my new defense mechanism; I cried.  There were at least 10 or so people on the phone who sat on the other side of the phone silent during the whole exchange.  I received multiple instant messages from others on the phone telling me “You’re doing fine”, or “Don’t worry about it, you’re doing a good job”, etc.  Not one of them spoke up though; they were all too afraid to stand up to this person.  Was the verbal lashing I received valid?  Honestly, no.  But at that time I did not have the strength to fight back.  Professionally, I had poured myself into my work as much as I could, but emotionally I was worn down.  Why am I telling you this story? Because once you experience the loss of a baby like we did, other things that were once top priorities fall more towards the middle.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very passionate person and still pour myself into everything that I do, but there are some things that are not as important as they once were.  The main thing I have learned is that I cannot get through this or any other less than positive experience on my own.  I need Jesus.

Back to the whole premise of this post; I am getting through this loss, but will never fully get over it.  And that is okay.  Getting over it to me is like forgetting about Katelyn all together. That will never happen.

There is no way I could even list all of the general and specific knowledge we have gained about people, about grief, about loss, about hope, about healing, about listening, about resting, about trusting in God, and just about getting through. I do know one thing for sure, for true healing we need to give it all to God; all our fears, our sadness, our grief.  Only He can truly give us rest and heal our hearts.  There will always be days when we break down and feel lost with our grief, but that only makes us human.  It is on these occasions that we need to pray for Jesus to carry us through.  If on these days you sometimes don’t know exactly how to ask Jesus to help you through, meditate on the words in Psalm 71:1-3:

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
   let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
   incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
   to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.

Never fear. God will never leave you or forsake you. Hold that promise close to your heart knowing that He is cradling your baby in Heaven.















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