The Gift of Grief
July 5, 2014 I laid my wife of seventeen years, Lakisha Michelle Mitchell to rest. I write this blog reflecting on my life prior to her transitioning to the present.
Over the past two years, particularly the last three months I have done so much soul searching. I think one of my greatest struggles after her transition was the thoughts that accompany grief. So many things I would have done differently. So many things I should have done differently. So many conversations I would have had. So many conversations I should have had.
I have had so many words of advice. You know, the words that follow the Christian tradition that almost require you to “get up and get going.” However, I have learned that the most healthy way to handle grief is to do just that . . . grieve. This is because the inability to grieve is the inability to grow. Grief is one of life’s gifts.
Genuine unfettered grief is a gift. The tears are a gift. The hurt is a gift. The guilt is a gift. I say this because I have learned so much of who I am now from what I lost in Lakisha. I can’t say that a part of me went in that grave that day. But, I can say that parts of me have went in that grave as the days, weeks, months and years have gone by. It’s called closure.
I got it wrong on so many levels. I don’t need anyone to remind me of that. And, this is one of the gifts that grief affords us. The opportunity to make the decision to get it right. Now, I can’t say also that the last two years since her transition I’ve gotten it right. I haven’t. And this is one of the gifts that grief has afforded me. It has given me the gift of time to think about so many decisions and situations.
To those reading this blog, my hearts desire and prayer is for you to embrace your grief. Lost is lost. Lost of employment. Lost of possessions. Lost of individuals. Lost of health. Wherever you are on the continuum of lost, know these two things – Lost is lost and the inability to grieve is the inability to grow.
I don’t think that there is a specific day that you just get up and move forward. I think we honestly vacillate between forward and pause daily. In one area of your life it is forward. In another area of your life it is on pause. . . the hurt, the guilt, the tears. For me, they occur often on the same day. I can begin the day laughing and end it with a tear. Or, I can begin the day with a tear and end it with laughter.
So in this blog, let me offer this advice. I read a Instagram quote this morning that said – “My circle is so small, that I’m beginning to talk to myself more.” Now, that can be good and bad. But, I think there is a message there. If you have experienced lost embrace your grief. More importantly,0 surround yourself with individuals who give you the room to embrace your grief. The inability to grieve is the inability to grow.
I am not an individual who hinges on the significance of numbers. So this third year for me has no parallel to those who stretch the use of numbers in the scriptures. For me it is simple – this third is year is going to be a year to get it right . . as a parent, as a person, as a pastor, as a preacher. I am really trying to make sure that the life I live in the privacy of my own home is no different than the life I live before the people.
Man . . . . I’ve gotten it wrong on so many levels. I am thankful that through lost and the grief which accompanies it, I am beginning to get it right.
Thanks Kish and I’ll see you on the other side.