An Open Letter to the Grieving – from the Body of Christ
Part One: Permission
To the grieving, the afflicted, the soul-sorrowed, the broken-hearted and the burdened:
We see you.
We acknowledge that your grief is real, personal, and life-changing. We accept and understand that no two people on the planet grieve in exactly the same way, and we make no attempt to ‘improve’ your grieving, your healing, or your process. There is no right way to do this.
Even if your loss is not tangible… even if there is no grave, no ashes, no funeral, we acknowledge that it is valid and heart-searing. We know that there are losses that offer no closure and we are sorry you are facing this.
We acknowledge and accept your words that this sorrow has irrevocably changed you, and that you will never be the same. We acknowledge that this is your reality. Our opinions are insignificant.
Wherever you are in your grief journey… whether it is still raw and searing and gaping-wide-open, or freshly scabbed over, or just a deep, heart-penetrating bruise that almost always hurts but sometimes doesn’t… we give you permission to be where you are. Even if we are uncomfortable and wish you were ‘better’, we give you permission to be where you are, feel what you’re feeling.
We give you permission to give voice to doubts and questions. We will be inclined to whitewash doubt with platitudes, but we know what you need is a listening ear and a quiet mouth.
We give you permission to rend your clothes, to weep aloud, to rage and wail, to sit in dark silence and stare blankly for hours because there aren’t words. We will sit with you or honour your space, depending on your need.
We give you permission to memorialize as you have need. Light a candle. Visit a grave. Have a cup of tea with the one you miss. Write letters that can’t reach heaven. It may not have helped us in our grief, but we acknowledge that we are not all the same.
We give you permission to take your time. As much as we would prefer that process of grief was linear and simple, we humbly accept that it is not. We acknowledge its circular, unpredictable nature, and we offer space to move at a pace that seems right for you.
We give you permission to laugh again. We know… right now that feels like betrayal. Your guilt might be immense. We give you permission to find a joke or comment funny, and to laugh without guilt. It is okay. You’re allowed. There is no judgement here.
We give you permission to heal. Healing… that turtle-slow inching towards a new sense of whole… it feels like betrayal sometimes too. It leads to guilt. Is it too soon? Are you too far gone? The balancing act is tricky. It is okay to step towards healing. We will help you when and if you’re ready.
We see you.
You don’t need our permission for any of this, really. Not actually. But there is something in permission that echoes quietly with acceptance. Your grief does not deny you access to our love, support, prayer or empathy. You are part of this Body and we are part of you. If this grief is changing you, then we are equally changed through the sharing of that burden.
We see you, and we grieve with you.