The Devastating Reality of Sudden Death

single white calla lily nestled among green leavesWhen someone dies unexpectedly, the shock and pain are indescribable. Often we are paralyzed. We don’t understand, and we don’t know what to do.

Millions of people around the world are mourning the sudden death of Whitney Houston and trying to take in the reality of something they cannot believe is real. For Whitney’s family and those who love her the most, the pain is beyond comprehension. My heart breaks when I think of what her daughter Bobbi Kristina, her mother Cissy, her ex-husband Bobby, and others closest to her are going through right now, because I’ll never forget the unspeakable pain I lived through fourteen years ago when my husband John went mountain-bike riding and never came home. Tragedy strikes—and we are overwhelmed by grief.

No one is prepared for death, even if someone is sick and isn’t expected to live. And when death comes unexpectedly, we feel even more helpless and confused. Grief is not something we think about until we come face-to-face with it, and by that time, it’s too late. We’re thrust abruptly into grief, we don’t have a clue what is happening to us, how to respond, or what to do—and at some point, we’ll know we have to find a way to navigate the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of our personal grief journey.

Misunderstanding surrounds grief.

Some people think Christians aren’t supposed to grieve. Christians are supposed to grieve, just like everyone else. Grieving is the way to healing. Others feel guilty when they experience anger toward God over the death of a loved one. Moments of anger toward God are normal. God can handle your anger! Some refuse to acknowledge that they are grieving, so they don’t seek help.

Grievers are not superhuman, nor should they try to put on a front so people think they are. The truth is that grief hurts. Only by meeting the pain head-on can you work through it. If you are facing a devastating loss, keep reminding yourself that there is a path to healing, and when you’re ready to start the journey, help is available.

Don’t try to face the grief journey alone. While no one can do your grieving for you, the journey is too hard to make all by yourself. Allow at least one person you trust to stand with you. Lean on him (or her) when you need to. Talk to her. Tell him how he can help. Allow her inside your protective wall.

In time, you can make your way to healing. Trust those who have already been down the path, even if you’re not ready to trust yourself.

Hope is alive for you, too. Hold on…

© 2012 Judy Brizendine

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