Friday, March 30, 2007

Grief 101

A few weeks ago I wrote that I pay attention when I hear or see reference to something from 3 different sources in quick succession. At that time, this was rather frightening, because the reference in question was the passage in Luke stating that of those who have been given much, much will be expected. If you knew how blessed I am, you’d be scared too.
Well, it happened again. This time, I received a card, and a meditation, and read a book referring to the woman who anointed Jesus with perfume before his crucifixion. Jesus says that Mary has done a beautiful thing for Him, in preparation for His burial. In Mark’s version of the story, He also says “she has done what she could.”
To be honest, when people quote lots of verses on how much better things are in heaven, it can seem like they are forgetting that it’s those of us left behind who are struggling. Yes, things are better for our loved ones in heaven. And yes, it is still hard for us here on earth, especially without our loved ones.
Whether it is realistic or not, guilt is part of the grief process. The “what if” game is just part of the territory. That’s the kind of tough stuff we don’t really know how to respond to when trying to comfort someone who has suffered a loss. We often don't know what to say in the face of such distress.
The story of the woman who did “what she could” ought to go on the list of good things to say.

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