After my son died, grief wreaked havoc on my mind and body. It beat me black and blue and obliterated my cognitive capacity. It aged me instantly and significantly. When the initial shock of losing my seventeen-year-old began to fade, my mind slipped into a heavy fog of grief. I feared I was losing my mind. It was as if my brain was thinking through jello and my body was stuck in quicksand.
Friend, are you there now? Hold on. There’s hope.
For a long time, I was convinced I was losing my mind. I couldn’t remember how to do things I’d routinely done my entire adult life. Worse, I couldn’t even remember to do things. Something as basic as taking a shower challenged me. I would step out of the shower, dry off, and not remember if I shampooed my hair. Sometimes I got back in. Most of the time I was too depleted and just didn’t care. I remembered being a person who devoured books, but now I couldn’t digest a small newspaper article without reading the same line over and over.
I used to have a good memory and took good care of my family and home. Now I was sending my boys to the laundry room to find their cleanest dirty jeans to wear to school. Not focused enough to cook, I relied on Burger King to feed my family—for months. I failed to show up for all kinds of appointments. And I shunned social functions and gatherings. It didn’t help to write things on a calendar. During that time, I was incapable of keeping one.
One particularly gut-wrenching morning I found myself curled up in a fetal position on the bathroom floor sobbing uncontrollably, convinced I was going crazy.
Thirteen years later, I know that that was okay. I know now that I was deep in the throes of grief. As painful and ugly as it was, I am aware that I was in the state-of-mind that I needed to be in at that time.
I’m no longer there. You won’t stay there either.
We cannot walk out of the cemetery and back into life as we knew it. We must take the time to grieve. It is hard. It is painful. It is ugly. And it is necessary.
But the news is good. With work and tenacity, the fog begins to clear. And little by little the sun peeks through the clouds again.
We will wander into an occasional patch of fog. And we will find our way back out.
Please hear me: We never, never go into grief fog alone. God enters our suffering. He weeps with us. He sustains us. And He’s wild about us. He did not do this to us. He is here with us.
Nothing will ever look the same again, but we are not rendered useless. On the contrary—grief often carves us into different, kinder, better-focused people.
Please pray that for me and know that I am praying it for you.