You certainly weren’t planning on it. Grief just showed up at your doorstep and demanded entrance into your well-ordered life. Nothing is the same…and nothing will ever again be the same.

It may have happened slowly or suddenly. An automobile accident or sudden infant death syndrome, or a death notice from the military; your husband was killed in action, All these left an empty chair at the dinner table and a conspicuously vacant room in your heart.

No matter which, you were not prepared. It was a child, or a spouse. Perhaps it was divorce which can just as devastating. The one you gave your heart to suddenly declares the intent to depart. You are stunned! Your heart begins a series of unanswerable questions. “What did I do wrong?” or just “why?” accompanied by uncontrolled tears. Then there is terminal disease, immediately diverting your status quo to hospitals, tests, staggering bills, and an emotional roller coaster. These are just a few of the items on the menu of tragic events life serves up to us humans. In each instance, a dismal journey begins that you must walk alone.

Your life, almost everything that was a daily part of your world has been ripped open at the seams. You were not prepared. It blindsided you. You said “till death us do part,” but the awful reality latent in those words were not in anyone’s mind on their wedding day. Perhaps if you had known….but no one yet has ever been fully aware of, during the exchange of lifetime vows, the almost certain knowledge that at the end of the rainbow of human love, lies at least one broken heart and soul wrenching pain.

Others that have walked can look in and cry with you and give you hope, but the stark unvarnished fact remains that no other human, can walk in your steps. Even God Himself seems distant. Your heartfelt prayers for relief seemingly go without answers. Sleep will come; fitfully at first, and your pillow will be wet with unwelcome tears that will, in time, become your friends.

Your days will move along slowly, with a deep aching loneliness. Some on this journey will wish for wish for death. If your path veer’s off in that direction, it is not abnormal, but neither is it a legitimate exit. Some, regretfully, will turn to drink, which will only mask the symptoms of grief and prolong the healing process. Physical symptoms of your troubled heart, like parasites, will make themselves at home in your body and in your mind. It could be panic, or some phobia; often both. Sleepless nights will find you weary in body and spirit. You might see the one who can no longer be seen; like a phantom, almost real - but just a disappointing mirage. Grief will become the ghost that suddenly appears, unlocks the chambers of your heart, and lets all that you have so carefully locked away spill out once again. If you were not prone to tears before the event, you will learn how to cry!

You can easily become overwhelmed with denial; the refusal of your mind to accept reality. It just can’t be true! It’s just a nightmare…but you just don’t wake up.

Your friends will not understand your broken heart and spirit; that will add to your pain. They will try to comfort you with sympathetic words that are really no help at all. They will offer bits of wisdom like “time heals all wounds” or quote the familiar scripture Romans 8:28 “all things work together for good to them that love God…” which may be true, but just not what you want to hear right now.(They really don't know what to say). If you are not careful, you will begin to resent those who care the most. They cannot understand unless they have been where you are. You will need to bear their misguided desire to help with grace.

But there is healing. Sometimes it takes years, and that’s not what you wanted to hear when your will to go on is challenged daily, but it is true. You will live with grief, make peace with it and learn great lessons from it. You will eventually go on living with purpose, focus, and even joy. You will, one happy day, look up and realize that the pain has subsided.

There will be some attitude adjustments. You will look at hurting people with more understanding eyes, and find yourself more Christ like in how you treat others. You’ll discover that the “small stuff” doesn’t matter near as much as it did before. You will then look in the window as others are detoured onto the road of grief and cry with them. You will give them hope as they realize that you “made it.” You will find travelers in the desert of grief, thirsty for a cool drink from the dry well of past reality and with an understanding heart that comes with no other process guide them to the living water. Your heart will find comrades because they themselves have made the lonely journey. You will find yourself included in the ranks of those called to the fellowship of his suffering.

Jesus walked! Scripture calls him the “man of sorrows.” He was well acquainted with grief.” Despised and rejected, he can show up unexpectedly on the road if you are trying to find your way. Convicted unjustly of blasphemy, He laid down his life for us and took it up again. He who cannot lie has promised to take us to a place where there is no grief! What a wonderful hope!

The songwriter expressed it well: "Man of Sorrows," what a name For the Son of God, who came Ruin'd sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemn'd He stood; Seal'd my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we; Spotless Lamb of God was He; "Full atonement!"—can it be? Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

He paid for our sins with his own sinless life’s blood; and after all, isn’t sin the heartless villain that allowed grief to visit at your house? If there was no such thing as sin, there would be no such thing as death or anything else that troubles us! Well, on we’ll go and hold each other up in the storm, and someday, if we know HIM, we'll all be together again! - YES!!!!!