How Love heals grief

Sunny Days, construction paper cutouts with acrylics on canvas board, by Steve Buzash, the Son.

Sunny Days, construction paper cutouts with acrylics on canvas board, by Steve Buzash, the Son.

There was a time when I was terrified of death! In fact, I could not even identify my mother’s body when she passed away in a nursing facility many years ago.  So, I sent my husband to do it.

But this all changed when I had to put down one of my favorite cats, Treasure.  I called my daughter to meet me at the vet’s office, thinking that she could be with him while I waited in the waiting room.  But she didn’t arrive in time.  Even though I was afraid, my desire that the cat not be alone when he passed overrode the fear.  I stood there patting him and telling him how much he was loved.  When the vet said “he’s gone”, I realized that Treasure never left me, I still felt his love.  I knew his innocence and wide-eyed approach to every new situation was still with me.  The real essence of who he is – all his wonderful qualities – were not gone and would never leave me.

From then on, I was no longer terrified of death because I knew that death does not terminate the real substance of something that is alive. I felt I could trust this because I think of God as Life and as everything being an expression or outcome of God. Each life that is an expression of God is eternal (like the Divine) – whether I can see it here on the earth or not.

So, when my son “died” in March of this year, I was by his side and unafraid for him.  I knew he still had a lot of living ahead of him – he had dreams to fulfill and lessons to learn.  I was not afraid for him. What I was really fearful of was having to live my life without seeing him.

In the ensuing weeks after his passing, there were many times I thought it impossible to climb out of the darkness called grief.  But I knew I must.  I had read studies and even written two blogs about the impact on a person’s heart that grief can have, and the role that prayer and faith can play in helping someone heal that grief. But, now, I was faced with actually proving what I had written about.

When you think about the oft-used phrase, “broken heart” – a reference to the idea that someone is suffering greatly from grief – it’s easy to understand where it comes from.  My heart appeared to be breaking and so did those of his siblings and close friends.

In an article, “Dealing with grief and bereavement”, from Harvard Health Publications, it says: that “Grief is physical as well as emotional.” And that it can “lead to a decline in health” – particularly to heart problems.  It also mentions several ways to overcome these problems, among which are talk or write about your feelings, talk to friends or seek help from a spiritual advisor. I chose this latter path, with a bit of a twist. I sought help, comfort and healing directly from God.

The Bible and a textbook on Christian healing, Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, provided insights to God as my friend, comforter and advisor. It pointed me to the Bible verse, “like as a mother comforteth her children so will I comfort you”, was especially helpful.  I knew how I had comforted my son – how we all stood by him.  He knew how much he was loved.   I realized that God loved me, my son, and his family and friends even more.  “God is Love,” St. John assures us.   And “God is a God at hand not a God far off.”  The God that is Love is with us at each moment, always. I could feel that.

As I began to feel that love and comfort, I also knew there was more I needed to understand and do. A divine demand from Joshua (24:15) says, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.”  Was I going to choose sadness, longing and loss or was I going to choose happiness, strength and courage?  It was a choice I knew I needed to make.  I did not want to wallow in sadness and grief. Day by day I chose joy.  It was not always easy.

Eventually, as with the passing of Treasure, I began to realize that the wonderful qualities my son exhibited when he was here with me were still all around me. The ever-present unselfish love he had for everyone was still here.

At one point on my journey, his sister shared an idea that was very helpful to me as well. She said her Christian faith helped her know he was continuing on his journey.  He still has a purpose to fulfill she felt.  She felt she could trust this because the teachings and example Jesus offered tell us that Life is not in the body but in our understanding of God and his son.

Our family vowed to be there for each other and we were – always willing to talk – always willing to get together and comfort each other.  Isn’t this love?  It is; and it felt to us that it was not mere human love but God’s love surrounding us like the sunlight.

I was learning how not to suffer from my son’s death, but still thought it was my responsibility to help family members not suffer as well.  However, there did come a point when I realized it was not. I reasoned we were all part of the universal family of brotherly love with God as the head.  We relied on God and His love – not me – to comfort and sustain us. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isa 41:10)

As the days passed, sometimes friends or acquaintances would stumble over coming up with the right words to say to comfort me.  I would tell them that there was nothing they could say, but what I really needed was a hug.  Not one person stumbled over wrapping their arms around me.  It was good for me and for them.

Kate is interested in blogging about health, health care, spirituality, science, religion, the importance of prayer in maintaining a healthy mind and body.  She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media, legislative and public contact for Christian Science in the state of Maryland. Contact Kate on Twitter: @CscomMaryland, on Facebook: Kate Johnson CS, or email:  maryland@compub.org.

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Mike Johnson

    I know how much this meant to you to write and how difficult it was as well. I know this has been a special healing for you and for everyone around you.