When my friend passed away last fall, I let the tears flow freely and sometimes they were uncontrollable. The tears came often. Sometimes they came out of nowhere, but every time they came; I let the tears roll. I knew…
It is okay to be sad.
This truth struck me as I came across a journal entry which I obviously intended to share, but for whatever reasons did not:
I am feeling particularly sad this week. I am missing my friend. The last day I had on the schedule to go and sit with her, help out around the house or run errands has come and gone. The schedule only ran through October for those of us who were organized to help. I am sad that there are no more days with her name on my calendar to remind me of her. I fear losing my memory of her. Many reading this right now will possibly be uncomfortable with my sadness. Some may even judge me and think she has been gone for over a month now; it’s time to move on. But most are largely uncomfortable with sadness and do not know what to do with it.
During those first few months after her passing, everywhere I turned I saw her, I heard her. Everything reminded me of her. Even though it seemed all wrong, I was in a place where I knew…
It was okay to be sad.
But at some point about the frequency of uncontrollable tears began to lessen. Life seemed to creep in and take over providing a natural diversion from the pain. One day, something triggered a memory evoking emotions. I could feel the tears began to bubble to the surface, but before they did; I caught myself. I caught myself pushing back the tears. I tried changing my thoughts and attempting to manage my emotions. Had I taught myself…
It’s not okay to be sad anymore!
How did I get to this point? A point where I ran from the pain, felt the need to control and subdue it. The level of emotions still present was surprising. But more surprising was my response to this onslaught of emotions. I was blind sighted by the passing of time and an unrealistic expectation of how far along I thought I was supposed to be.
I do think sometimes it is okay to hold back the tears. It is important to keep it together to make it through the meeting, class or event. Running mascara, a Rudolf nose, blood shot swollen eyes would not be good.
Regardless of our source of pain, God gave us a plethora of emotions with which to experience this life. We weren’t meant to be on some constant elated high of one happy feeling after another. Life happens and we respond with laughter, anger, happiness, dread, delight, and sadness. These emotions help us live. Because each time we stuff, bury, ignore or avoid, we die a little. If these emotions are not expressed eventually in healthy ways, they will surface in unhealthy ways. A healthy expression of emotions result in a life being lived to the fullest, while unexpressed emotions become a cancer of the soul draining life slowly. From the outside one may seem to be living, but on the inside one is decaying.
It’s okay to be sad.
Perhaps uncomfortableness with sadness is a result of our culture’s constant pursuit of pleasure. Sadness counters this pursuit, because, well it is sad. Christians do this with the pursuit of God’s promises of heaven, His plan; He will work all things out. However, while these and a host of other promises we can claim during a time of loss are true, they are not meant to replace the sadness. The Psalms are doused with expressions of sadness and tears shed. Solomon surely understood this type of persistent sadness when he wrote “Even in laughter the heart is sad,” Proverbs 14:13. We can’t take sadness away nor should we. Sadness reflects someone was loved deeply, was cared for greatly, and is missed terribly. These are good things, special things and do not need to be placed on a shelf to be discounted.
Sadness then becomes a beautiful expression in honor of the love felt.
It is okay to be sad.
There is no appropriate time frame for grief. The grief from loss covers a wide span of time. Grief finds a seat in the back for most until something moves it to the front while others sorrow is always close by.
I am learning this in new ways as this is a firsthand journey for me in grief, because it hits closer to home than previous experiences of loss. I want others to be okay with sad too as we each need to feel and express this emotion as needed.
I am learning this all over again only six months into this grieving process. I am learning to let the tears flow freely again as I need and move into expressing my sadness regardless of any time frame. I wonder why I even care whether I cry or not? Ironically, I don’t event wear mascara.
It is good to accept and express this emotion of resurfacing sadness. May we all understand all emotions have their place and…
It’s okay to be sad.
(In loving memory of Daryl Cahill and the life she lived and in anticipation of one day sharing the life together that she now is living! Daryl was able to see Jesus face to face on September 19, 2011)