Grief, the Uninvited Guest

I have a guest these days. Grief is his name. I did not invite him, but he came and at the worst of times, too.

Grief is a strange beast.  Sometimes I don’t mind him very much and we sit with each other awhile. Other times, I mind him very much, especially when he surprises me in public. I’d prefer he just stay at my home. DSC_0150

I always hope he’ll follow the rules I lined out, but he doesn’t which annoys me. He rarely takes up the guest room but stays in odd places like the shelves of a cabinet, between the pages of a beloved book, or in the smells of familiar food. He’s often in my way when I’m trying to get things done.

He has some shockingly bad habits. He’s a nocturnal sort and has the gall to shake me awake in the night and, then, not let me go back to sleep! He stares me in the face upon waking some days which is a horrendous way to meet the day.

Kind friends come over expecting to meet him, and he is out for the moment. Things are like before, and it’s strange. Then, Grief barges in without knocking. We quickly lay a place setting for him. Then, he doesn’t use the proper utensils if he uses them at all!

If you caught a look at him, you’d know why. Grief is a foreigner. His customs are strange. Though I’ve befriended those with this same house guest, I learned little about how to host him myself. I’m not sure anything can acquaint one so well with grief except a house visit, which no one really wants. But, we all seem to get at some point in our lives.

I get the feeling grief means to stay for a long, long time-maybe forever. I don’t know how I feel about that. Some expect grief to behave, stay for a respectable amount of time, and then depart.  But, as I said, he hasn’t yet followed any rules, even the rules of hospitality.

I’m learning an odd comfort in grief’s companionship. It’d be nice if he paid some rent, though, or helped out a little with the chores. I’d prefer a kickback to the pain in the arse he is from time to time.

My close friends expect grief to stay far longer than I hope he does and seem to welcome him with much more grace than I can afford. I’m afraid grief means to put his name on the deed, and I’ll never be rid of him. I get the feeling that once he comes, he never completely leaves. I also see that others who host grief graciously are ones I respect. I long to learn how to host as they do.

There is one Friend who is with me every moment. He is well acquainted with my house guest having hosted grief himself for a long, long time. He is such a comfort and an excellent help with this added load.

I’m beginning to recognize when other people are hosting grief like I am. So many are these days. Sometimes they don’t want others to know, and hide their guest which I think is a shame. He is a tough one to manage, and I can’t imagine trying to do it alone. I guess I understand. Grief is not the most attractive.

Others host a grief that is so painful and soul crushing, I can only shed tears for how violently he invaded their home. I, too, am at a loss to know what to do with such shocking behavior.

I hope I will not run from my guest or scorn him or shut the door on him. He’s not the type that tolerates that well. In fact, I know he chases those down that try to escape him. He always catches up. It’s better, I hear, to just let him in.

My best Friend says there will be a day when grief will leave. When there are no houses with tears, sorrow, and pain. Everything my Friend says seems to come true, and I believe that day will come.

It’s a great comfort to anticipate such a world, a world without grief.  It helps me deal with today and Grief’s demands with a little more energy.

But, just a little.

17 thoughts on “Grief, the Uninvited Guest

  1. Beautifully penned sister, beautifully written. It’s a poem in free verse. I was blessed by the reading of your words. Grief’s cousin Mourning has been with me for over a week. She and I have been looking at each other quite a bit. Father’s Day is hard. 10 years with the absence of my dad hasn’t got easier but it is becoming an experience that I can choose to shape in ways that are healthy and best for me. But the taste of grief remains. And the need to mourn continues. With you in this journey.

    Love you.

    ~ m

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    1. Thank you, Melody, for sharing your journey with grief. Father’s Day was hard. There is just no one like a father and none that can fully replace the ones we’ve lost. The mourning does shape and mold. But, like you say, it can mold into something good though it feels so painful.

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  2. This is so beautifully stated, Ali! Praying for you as you “entertain” grief and experience true comfort from God! You are loved and missed!

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    1. When I read your word “entertain”, I learned a new thing about what I was trying to say. I’ve been unpacking fine china and crystal and thinking of you. Will I give my finest to this guest? Or make him eat off of paper plates? I want to risk my best. Thank you, for your words.

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  3. This is one of the most visual and healthiest word picture of grief I’ve heard. The fact that he’s so pushy and demanding and present is something I don’t want to think about. I don’t want to have to deal with him. But I have. And I do. And I will. I’m praying for your heart to be strong, to be able to deal with such an unwanted, unappreciated guest. That he can’t, won’t, be a defining visitor.

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    1. It was a difficult one to write as Grief is so hard to define and so present, too. I am reading Hinds Feet on High Places again. Sorrow and Suffering are good companions and not without comfort either. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

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  4. Ali this is the best piece of writing I have ever seen penned (typed) on grief. My friend, grief is all you spoke of and you spoke so well. This reminds me to keep praying for you as your visitor comes in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. I’ll pray for that Friend to keep reminding you He is near. xxxxx

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  5. Life gets messy sometimes, doesn’t it? You’ve exquisitely captured the grieving process -Hannah Hurnard would be so proud!

    I will re log this so I can find it easily, for this is part of my journey this year and will be helpful to re-read.

    Paper plates?? Love it.

    Thank you. 😊
    \o/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautifully written. Grief is certainly a complex companion, and sorrow knows that is the truth. One of my favorite bible verses is from Revelation 21:3 “…He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying or pain.” The promises of God are a wonderful friend.

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  7. Beautifully written. If I may share a lesson learned from “hosting” grief. Many people told me “to be strong” and you will get through this. What I learned was that “being strong” only put a barrier between my heart and God’s comfort. When I gave that powerless, frightened, aching place within permission to voice whatever it needed to say Father God met me in that place with supply for my every need.

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    1. That sounds like wise advice! It’s such a strange thing these days to release the “be strong” expectation. I, too, experience much more help in my needs when I come to Him with what is truly on my mind and heart. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  8. Thank you, Ali. I can’t pretend to know how your dad’s passing has affected you. Everyone experiences grief differently. However, what you have described below is exactly what I have felt for the past 5 years following my best friend’s death. I am amazed at how every word you have written speaks to me. Now…my dad just died Wednesday – just diagnosed on June 19 – of lung cancer. Thank you, again, for your heart, for your sharing and for your faith – even when in tears. You are allowing God to use you mightily. Thank you. Your sister in Christ, Staci Powell

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s sudden passing and the ongoing loss of your friend. It seems God grows an understanding of His sufferings in all these deaths. Sometimes I wish to be free, yet I also wouldn’t want to give up the fellowship that comes from it. Thank you for commenting.

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