I felt compelled this morning to write about how I've chosen to walk with a friend who's grieving. And the reason I need to write is because I have no idea, and I want to figure it out.
It’s often scary to reach out to someone in grief. I’m mainly afraid I’ll offend them, or cause their pain to deepen. Even with Tamarah, whom I am so close with, I don’t always know what to say. I encourage her to walk through it however she feels. Because mourning does not look the same for everyone.
My dear friend Tamarah is grieving the loss of her third little boy, Tobias. You may have read her story on The Softest Strength (her blog), as well as she is my partner here at Meraki + Light.
She is possibly the kindest and most gentle person I’ve ever met. And she takes no credit for this, as Jesus has changed her heart to be this way. I dearly love her and have watched her walk through this loss, without a clue how to behave or support her. I’m not coming from a place of wisdom, I’m coming from a place of experience and love and support.
But just today, I felt greatly impacted after reading a quote in Flow Magazine:
“We refer to mourning as a roller-coaster, because there are highs and lows. If you feel better one day, it doesn’t mean you’ll feel better the next; sometimes, you’ll feel worse. Then people start to wonder if they’re “doing something wrong”. Grief isn’t something you get over; it’s something you carry with you. It changes shape over time. It’s something you learn to live with, and the period of grieving is adapting to a new way of life without this person there’. - Journalist Catelijne Elzes
After reading this my first thought was, I gotta text this to her! And then I thought, nope I’ll just tear it out and give it to her. And then of course, I knew I should write about this. It’s not your typical business post I know, but I think love is a great business post topic, because 'love' applies to every topic.
Tamarah has been very candid about her loss on social media and her blog. And in doing so, she has impacted many and stirred up hearts. She is receiving recognition in the social world, but it has come with a cost. I was really struck by this in conversation with her yesterday. We talked about how people are impacted by her imagery and words. And they see this beauty in her story, and how she confesses God’s goodness in all of it. She was successful before losing her third son, but the strength in her pain has amplified it. People are seeing her ability to proclaim God's goodness through her loss.
The truth is, and I hate to admit this, but I was feeling a little envious of her success. (Wow, sharing this kinda sucks). I prayed about it ~ ‘God, I don’t want to feel jealous’ ~ especially since our entire Meraki + Light vision is about ‘Rising from lifting others’. (Just because it’s our vision doesn’t make it easy... often visions come from hard lessons.) God answered my prayer, He is so faithful. He said to me, ‘look at her struggle. Her success came with a cost. Don’t think for a minute she wouldn’t trade all that in to have Tobias back’. Ouch, point taken. My heart just broke then and there.
God always answers us, we wait, and then it comes. Today it felt like conviction within an enormous cloud of love surrounding me. Because He doesn’t want to hurt me, but He wants to help me. I felt immediately healed of my envy, and was renewed in my desire to move forward with her through pain.
The pain doesn’t go away, that’s the thing. People forget, they move on, but those walking through grief are still suffering. The pain has only shifted into something that is potentially more manageable.
And I have had conversations regarding being so vulnerable to share this openly on the internet. The truth is, not everyone wants to share their struggles on social media. I get it. I also don’t think it’s for everyone. Both ways are right if they work for the individual.
However, Tamarah has been called to do this, and I believe it is far greater than she realizes. She is touching people she’s never met and allowing them freedom to share their journey. She makes me brave.
I’m not sure I’ve helped anyone in this post. But I know I needed to write about it as someone not directly involved but walking alongside.
I will do my best to love her, never judge her, support her, and lift her up.