As part of our healing as a couple, my husband and I have been attending a GriefShare program. It's a faith-based Christian program, which consists of 13 sessions that explore the stages of grief and what the Bible tells us about suffering. When the meetings began, back in January, my husband was very hesitant to go. I think he started attending as a way to support me in my grief. However, I have witnessed how much the program has helped him in his grief and us a couple. The program discusses a different topic each week led by several church members. We have been able to use the group discussions as a way to open up deeper discussion between us as we figure out this path. The grief we have has changed us greatly, so we have done a lot of searching to find each other.
The topic last week discussed how grief is not an identity. I found this very interesting to consider because I don't feel like I use my grief to define myself, but I realized I do in some ways. Actually, I think anyone going through grief could relate to letting it define you in some way. The discussion was about not allowing the grief you face become your entire identity. It really got me thinking about how my grief has changed me and redefined who I am. How can I not allow my loss to define me when I am now a childless mother? I would be lying if I denied crying for myself sometimes thinking of that fact. Although my grief has changed me in many ways, I think the most profound change has been my way of thinking. I always felt that I was a good person and tried to live out my faith. But now, I see how grace only becomes real when you walk through the struggles of life.
People often ask how I am getting through everything in such a positive way. I guess my main thought is that I didn't choose to lose my son, but I did choose how I carried him and how I carry on his memory. If I carried out his life in anger and regret than negativity would have surrounded his life. By choosing to walk through this pain with grace and humbleness, I honor Daniel and am a testimony to God's mercy and love. All Daniel ever knew was love, and what more could a mother want for her baby than genuine agape love? So I think that my grief has defined me in a good way. It has shown me the strength and courage I never realized I could have when faced with deep pain. Most importantly, it has changed my faith and shown me how deeply God loves me. In attending the GriefShare program, I have realized that there is no perfect way to grieve. I know my grief does not define me, yet it has greatly changed who I am. We all walk this path, stumbling and falling over and over again. But each time I fall, God's hand is here to lift me back up. It's up to me to choose to reach out for Him.