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Grief and Gratitude

It seems like this has been a season of tragedy, both for the country and in our personal lives because many of us have also lost loved ones to natural causes. However, nothing can compare to the grief that comes when a life is cut short unnecessarily, especially the life of a child in whom we saw such hope and promise.

When it came to the tragedy in Uvalde, I was doing okay with it until I saw footage of parents being blocked from entering the school when they knew that children, possibly their children, were being murdered. It was not long after that when I came across someone who had friends that were directly affected by the tragedy. When I saw those grieving parents on the news reels, I realized that those hearts were not broken, they were shattered.

What can you say about something like that? I’m sorry falls way too short, like a drop of water on a raging fire. A hug may help, love may help, but nothing can remove the torment of such a loss. Like a raging fire, that grief has to burn itself out. When we are grieving, rather than trying to stop it, rather than trying to suck up the tears and “be strong”, rather than pretending that we are okay when we feel anything but okay, we need, instead, to let the fire burn and let the grief come. At first, it can feel overwhelming, like we will never stop grieving. Later, it will come in flare ups between periods of calm and a return to routine. Eventually, it becomes an ember in our hearts. It will always burn a little, but most of the time we can ignore it. If we remember what we had to be grateful for, every hug, every laugh, every meaningful conversation, every gesture of love, and every precious moment spent together, eventually those embers become a warm place in our hearts that may bring a smile of gratitude for the wonderful gift we were given, instead of so much torment of having our loved ones ripped from our lives. Eventually, if we try, if we are lucky, perhaps we can remember the gratitude more than the pain.

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