We've all heard about the grieving process: Denial. Isolation. Anger. Bargaining. Acceptance.
Grief can be a result of many things. The loss of a loved one...the loss of something special. I know it is a step by step journey toward acceptance and letting go. I know it takes time and little things matter most. And I know it's good to have friends and family around to help make things better.
But I didn't know how deeply the grief could flow through a person's heart.
For the past several nights I have cried myself to sleep. Flashes of memories and unbidden vignettes punctuate my dreams. There are good memories and not so good ones. Some make me laugh. Some make me smile. Some make me weep, wondering how my students are doing. So many times I watch them struggle with things that are too big for their teenage shoulders to carry, and it breaks my heart.
Like the young man who came running into my room at 7:30 a.m. one morning - he'd just found out his parents were getting a divorce. His gut-wrenching sobs brought my world to a standstill...and over a decade later, I wonder how he's doing.
Or the young woman I found crying in the ladies room because she simply couldn't take the teasing and bullying anymore. Righteous anger rose up in me and I wanted to confront the "mean girls"...but she needed a shoulder more than a defender.
And there were many - so many - desperate to fit in, being torn apart by compromise, lies and guilt. I spoke truth and prayed it would grow into revelation.
I've witnessed hundreds of young adults search for significance...for value...for assurance that someone cares. Knowing I won't be part of that process at the school where I've taught for twenty years is indescribable. Yet, I must believe I can go on and make a difference regardless of where this new path takes me. I continue to pray for all of "my kids", knowing that God watches over them now and always.
Where am I in the grieving process? I don't know how to answer that, because the ebb and flow of emotions is so unpredictable.
One step at a time...