Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roller Coaster of Grief


by Rebekah Mitchell

 Within the first few weeks of my baby Jonathan’s stillbirth, I read something that said, “Grief is like a roller coaster. You slowly inch upward, then, without much warning, you come crashing down, seemingly, right back to the place where you started.” Though some grieving people may find that discouraging because they want to continue climbing their arduous journey of grief and never come down, I personally found it helpful and hopeful knowing that my “down times” were very normal,the slow climb back up would eventually come again.

Holidays, various anniversaries and the announcement of others’ pregnancies were events that typically caused me to fall from my then current precipice. When I fell, I usually fell hard! Around four months after Jonathan’s death, I truly thought I had made great strides toward “finding our new normal,” but a certain series of events caused me to crash on my face. It really scared me. I truly feared I would never be the same again: never happy, never joyful, never nice, never fun, and never again content.

I soon learned that over time, those emotions would resurrect within me. I would fall again, rise up, fall yet again, and struggle to the top once more. Over the years, those ups and downs came less often. The top got higher, as did the lows. Seventeen years later, I can testify that rarely do I find myself coasting downward, but when I do, it’s not far at all, and the climb back up is quick.

As I reflect on those times of living in the lonely valley of sorrow, I realize how much I learned while I was there. I discovered the only way I would ever make progress is by turning to the Lord, lifting my eyes to the hills, seeking His help and acknowledging that He continuously watched over me (Psalm 121). I knew that when I fell, He would be by my side to pick me up and help me move again.

Further, I saw a glimpse of what David in the Bible must have felt on a regular basis. If you’re familiar with his life, you know that it seems things were always great with him (going from a lowly shepherd boy to the king of Israel) or absolutely beyond dreadful (running for his life and the death of his sons). We read in the book of Psalms the beautiful praises King David wrote while he was living life to the fullest on a mountain top or cries for help when he was desperate beyond measure in the valleys (literally). I conclude with an excerpt of one of David’s writings, found in Psalm 116:1-7, that I pray will be an encouragement to your hurting heart.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
The anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
Our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
When I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
For the Lord has been good to you.

Reprinted With Permission
Author, Rebekah Mitchell, M.E.N.D.. President/Founder
 Mommy to Jonathan Daniel and Baby Mitchell
© Copyright 2012 M.E.N.D.

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