Pictures, thanks to "Grieving Mothers," B. J. Karrer
Monday, June 11, 2012
What's with the Rush to "Recovery"?
What's with the rush to recovery? Is there such a thing as "recovery" when you lose a child? Just about every book on grief that's out on the market today has the word "recovery" somewhere in the title.
Look what's out there in the Christian "market" for us to read on grief… Guide Post? Decision Magazine? Have you noticed there can be a very poignant story of a person's child-loss grief, but it seems about the time you get to the part in their story that really resonates with our pain, there always seems to be a kind of "shutting it down" of sorts with a sudden rush to recovery, (to make God look "good," I guess?) The presence of Jesus, or just invoking Jesus, it seems, is supposed to be a quick, miracle cure. No matter their unique story that starts out in these magazines, it seems their conclusion is always the same. It's almost formulaic. Now that's not the God we know, the God of love who loves each person in His own unique way, carrying out each person's own unique story, that includes the human elements with which we daily struggle.
You've heard the public's accusations of the court room's "rush to judgment"; what we see too often is the church's monotonous "rush to recovery." You miss the raw angst and agony that Jesus so clearly showed in His own journey through the Vale of Tears. Instead of such authenticity, in the current literature, you just see the "quick fix" that somehow just doesn't ring true, but comes across rather as some kind of quick apologetic for God, as if the laymen in the church cannot handle the laments of life, but must have the "happy snappy" as we call it.
What is the dictionary's definition of "recovery"?
A) a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength - as in "He looks all set to make a full recovery.";
B) the action or process of gaining possession or control of something stolen or lost - as in "The team of salvage experts will ensure the recovery of family possessions.";
C) "in recovery"- in the process of recovering from mental illness, drug addiction, or past abuse - as in "There are support groups for parents whose children are in recovery."
So how does child-loss grief fit into that recovery model?
A) We will never return to what you would call a "normal" state of health-mind-or-strength; we now "walk with a limp" because we love our child who is gone from our earthly lives.
B) We will never gain possession or control of our child who was stolen from us by death and lost to us forever this side of eternity.
C) We are not "in recovery." Grief is not a "mental illness"; grief is not a "drug addiction"; grief is not "past abuse." Grief is deep sorrow caused by a loved one's death ~ and that loved one will not be restored to us in this life-time. So forget expecting us to "recover" from it! Our grief is here to stay, that is until the day we die and go to Heaven, but for this LIFETIME, we will be in grief. Yes, we may get a little stronger with hard work and much nurturance, but we will never "recover" in this lifetime from losing our child, so please, drop that expectation!
We're not "recovering" to" normal." We're actually getting to a view of truth that we didn't have before, developing a more realistic perspective of God, of life, and of death that flies in the face of our former assumptions, and that flies in the face of this culture's need to deny that death even exists. Our former assumptions have all been challenged, and now, you want us to go backwards???? Backwards to the land of naiveté ("lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment")? Sorry, it just doesn't work that way, nor should it.
We need to learn from our new reality, not try to abolish the truth of that reality. Our "creatureliness" may scare you as it is absolutely humbling, but it leads us to God as we know we must lean on Him to survive, and we know that truth beyond a shadow of a doubt. You want us to deny that truth and go back to ignorance? Ignorance may be bliss for you, but to us it would be downright stupid for us to go backwards and not learn from our heavy, tormented experience that yes, life does end! And when our child's life ended, it concomitantly wreaked havoc in our "life as we once knew it."
Our lives too will end. One day, if left just to natural causes even, our bodies will grow weaker and weaker. To deny that stark reality sets us up for disaster and would prove we learned nothing at all from the harsh reality of our child's death. No, I need to know that I will always need God to make it through, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, second-by-second. Forever.
Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
Facing child-loss grief's vulnerability on a daily basis yields the opportunity for building our "trust muscles" as we learn to lean on our Eternal "Abba" Father each step of the way through this painful journey! May we resist the "rush to recovery" demands, and instead, learn to "run into our Father's ready embrace" throughout the moments, minutes, hours, days, months, and years ahead amidst our child-loss grief.
Please don't ask me if I'm over it yet. I'll never get over it.
Please don't tell me she's in a better place. She's not here with me.
Please don't say she isn't suffering any more. I haven't come to terms of why she had to suffer at all.
Please don't tell me how you feel Unless you've lost someone in the same way.
Please don't ask me if I feel better. Bereavement isn't a condition that clears up.
Please don't tell me she was a good age. What age would you like your loved one to die?
Please don't tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.
Please just say you're sorry.
Please just say you remember my loved one if you do.
Please mention my loved one's name.
Please be patient with me when I am sad.
Please just let me cry.
Pictures, thanks to "Grieving Mothers," B. J. Karrer