Sitting in the parking lot of Costco, I stared at the huge building and swarms of people and felt paralyzed by Grief’s presence. Mustering strength, I weakly shoved Grief aside, said a prayer, breathed deeply, and entered the overwhelming fortress to proceed with the duties of the day. Why do normal responsibilities suddenly feel like mission impossible when Grief shows up? Grief sure makes for a mighty mean companion.
Another day I needed to pop into Kroger for just a few things while my daughter was at ballet. My heart felt light. All seemed good in the world. Being on a time crunch wasn’t of concern until I suddenly found myself unexpectedly standing in invisible quicksand in the middle of the grocery aisle. Out of nowhere, Grief had appeared and spitefully pushed me in; I couldn’t move. My brain stopped functioning. What had I even needed? Why couldn’t I process and accomplish a basic shopping trip? I had been totally fine. Why had Grief chosen this moment to stand taunting by my side? Time raced on while my impotent mind and body stood frozen. My broken heart was all I knew while I desperately looked at my list to determine what in the world I even needed. Somehow I finally found a way to slowly move forward, but by this time the whole store had transformed into quicksand, forcing me to use all of my allotted time to find the few items on my meager shopping list. Grief makes for a mighty mean companion.
Weeks later while happily scrolling through Facebook pictures seeking to get to know a new person in my life, I suddenly felt Grief grab my heart with such ferocity and yank it down to the ground stomping all over it without relenting that I could only gape at this horrendous companion who would appear at the most unpredictable times. What was the catalyst for such a sudden attack when I thought Grief had finally decided to back off? I had merely seen a picture of four people and one was wearing a “Talk to Me Goose” t-shirt. In that split moment a friend’s name and face immediately came to mind. She had been my “Goose,” and she was now out of my life. Clarity of the depth of my loss came into focus. So, that’s why the Top Gun movie is so relatable and one of my favorites I realized. I’ve had the taste of dearest friendship and then it being ripped away. Grief understood that too and wouldn’t release me from his strangling grip till he had squeezed every tear out. Grief is a mighty mean companion.
Yet this nemesis has unintentionally prepared the way for my most treasured memories. When he is present, Compassion and Love often grace the room after him. I’m sure this is not Grief’s intention, but nevertheless, repeatedly it has happened. Of all the wonderful memories with my loving dad, the one that stands out above all the rest is when he tightly hugged me and just held me for forever when I was having one of my first real encounters with Grief. HighSchool had introduced me to true heartbreak, but my dad’s loving arms proved Grief powerless when held within the stronger grip of Love. With others it has been their timely words, which were pure ointment to my grieving soul. One friend dropped everything and flew hundreds of miles simply to be by my side when Grief made one of its fiercest attacks.
I hate Grief’s persistence to suddenly interrupt my life. But how is it that my most valuable memories are almost always intertwined with his presence? The greatest love seems viewable only in the darkest nights. So, Grief, be my companion if you must, for you unwittingly bring the most priceless gifts.
“For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men.” Lamentations 3:32-33