The Strange Reality of Grief
By Rev. Alan Mead
I was in Williamsburg, Virginia for our annual diocesan council, when, in the middle of a joyous worship service, as we were praying and singing, we came to the place in the prayers where we are asked to name the departed, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with grief as I quietly, almost silently, named our son. Since his death last July I have grieved, pretty constantly at first and later only for moments, and thought I was doing pretty well. And yet suddenly, here I was in tears and trying hard to cover it up. No matter how much I want to change it, I can’t. I am powerless to change the reality or to make it go away or to make it better.
My grief came as a wave, washed over me, and passed. I tuned my heart again to praise and later reflected that although I can’t change the event of his death, I can remember his life. And remembering is a tremendous power.
Whether as individuals or as congregations we are constantly adapting as things change. Recognizing the power and unexpected nature and timing of grief as a help to healing and wholeness, we need not fear its presence; but rather create opportunities for our feelings to be an invited part of the process of life.