Yesterday morning was that morning that I had been anticipating since we’d moved whilst all the while hoping it wouldn’t come. Yesterday morning Jonty was completely inconsolable and kept saying, “Mummy, I want to go to my old home”… the crying and this phrase (along with “I want my Daddy”, who was not at home as he was already at church) was repeated for about an hour… A very long hour!
I tried everything to calm him down…cuddles, food, getting cross, trying to rationalise, crying with him out of sheer desperation… But nothing seemed to work! My heart broke for his little two-year old heart that has understood that we have moved, but doesn’t quite understand why we can’t go back and see his little friends again. 😥
I felt utterly helpless in the face of his distress. This was not something that I could kiss better, as I usually do when he has hurt himself. This sadness we had to ride out together until it eventually passed (and he allowed himself to be consoled with two slices of Marmite toast).
But… It did pass and since then he has been fine, and in fact quite delightful!
I guess, in his own little way he was grieving what has been lost. As a parent, I now know that I need to recognise that he is grieving and allow it to happen, rather than trying get it to stop straight away, as grieving is important and the sadness will pass and he will move on to Marmite toast, or his helicopter toy or possibly an episode of Octonauts.
I love how children are able to express their emotions and haven’t learnt yet to suppress them to reflect how they think they “should” be feeling.
There is a huge lesson in this for me. When I was poorly, I spent a lot of energy trying to keep myself together, I think as a self-preservation tactic more than anything else. Grieving is exhausting, so although I grieved for what had been lost, I did so in quite a measured way (and to be honest I think there might be some residual grieving that still needs to happen).
I think part of the reason I only allowed, and still only allow, myself such “measured” grieving times is because I am aware there is a fine line between grief and self-pity and once crossed it is so easy to slip deep into the self-pity zone which is a place I most definitely do not want to end up! It ain’t pretty down in the self pity zone and it is hard to get out of there!!
But my little Jonty has modelled for me unhindered grief, that had to express itself, but that also allowed itself to be comforted, and this was such a helpful (if heartbreaking) thing for me to experience with him.
The Bible is full of beautiful imagery of how God is both our comfort and our refuge. So, I have nothing to fear when I need to grieve because I know that as I bring this grief to Him, I will be comforted. I know that I will be held and loved just as I hold and love my own child.
Psalm 91:4 is one of these beautiful images of comfort. I love the idea of finding a refuge in the shadow of God’s wing!