Saturday, November 26, 2011

Don't Borrow Grief

Today I attended the funeral of a close friend of my mother's.  In addition to being my mother's friend and prayer partner, Kathleen was the mother of one of my high school chums; and I was in her home often during my teenage years.  I remember card parties, platters stacked with her special chocolate chip cookies, and most of all, her kindness.  Kathleen was a Christ-centered woman who shed the Lord's light on everyone who came within her circle of influence.  I loved her.  

During the service I suffered a sense of claustrophobia.  When they brought the casket in my knees went weak.  I felt there wasn't enough air in the room.  I felt nauseated.

I cried in the car on the way home and was mean to my husband.  I told him that when my mother died he by golly had better be nicer to me than he was being right then.  He gazed at me with an absolutely astounded look on his face but said nothing.  I could hear him thinking, "What in Heaven's name did I do wrong now?"

I came home in a vile mood and began a text conversation with my cousin, Pam.  Pam is a baptized in the Spirit Christian who also is a social worker, is trained as a health coach, and has worked with Alzheimer's patients.  Plus that, she loves me.  All caregivers should have a Pam to turn to for counsel and care; she is a wonderful blessing to me. 

After a few texts regarding my husband's lack of empathy Pam explained, "Men keep things in boxes.  One event has little to do with another.  Women weave webs of connection.  He had no idea that you were relating Kathleen's death to your mother's."

Well, that made sense.  But I still wasn't happy.

A few texts later Pam said, "Take the following or leave it as the Lord guides you, but..."

"Do not borrow tomorrow's grief today. The Lord gives dying grace to the dying AND to those left behind. He gives it when it is needed, not when we borrow the grief from tomorrow..." 
 I trust Pam's analysis of this subject because she was holding her husband's hand when he went home to Jesus at age 51, having succumbed to esophageal cancer. 

The gentle peace that came with her words affirmed that this was indeed a word from the Lord.  I felt a confidence that when my mom goes to glory that I will be given what I need to walk through the valley of the shadow of her death.

Scripture: My life verse:  "So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).


  1. I can understand your anger and fustration at your husband. When Elbert died I had a lot of anger, not so much directed at him as at the people still living. It's a part of grieving. I like your Pam. We all need one.

  2. We drove out of town ten hours to attend a memorial service ten on Tuesday night. We took two days going and two days coming home.

    My friend of over thirty years died of MD one day shy of her 66th b.d. She had the whole memorial service planned. I was privileged to deliver an eulogy for her. I praised her for living well with the disease and for dying well. We communicated by e-mail the last years of her disease. We talked a day before she died and I said that she would either be with Jesus or He would help her go through these last terrible stages of MD. She uttered weakly that she understood what I was saying on the phone. The next day the MD took over her lungs and she went to be with our LORD.

    That same LORD that helped my friend, is there to help us caregivers who face the death of our loved ones. My friend from her wheel chair even prayed daily for our journey with Alzheimer's. She planned her funeral out to even include humor. At the end of the service the pastor said, "Let's all clap for her." She lived well with the disease and she died well.

    I am not in a wheel chair, but I have to pick up some of that praying--for you and your mom, Linda. Thanks for being real on this blog and thanks to God for the counseling you received via text!


    P.S. Hope your husband read this post and is learning how to support you. We wives can be puzzling for sure.