Today’s Word from Rev. David Bieniek…
When I was doing grief classes through my job as a hospice chaplain, I warned people who were working through their grief that one time when grief would strike would be during holidays. And I said that, of course, the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries, would be bad. I would add that it is the little holidays you had to watch out for. Those are the ones that will sneak up on you and hit you hard, like the Fourth of July.
It was several years after my mom’s death, and we were watching fireworks. And suddenly I started to cry. I realized I was missing her. I remember thinking that I was being stupid, I should be over my grief, and why would watching fireworks be a trigger anyway? And then I started thinking about our history with fireworks.
Corpus Christi, Texas where I grew up, had big firework displays twice a year – Fourth of July and Buccaneer Days. The Buccaneer Days Fireworks actually spread out over several days. And Mom and I would always get out there to see them. I was a little kid, way back before I can remember, and she and I would go out to watch the fireworks, sometimes from our car, sometimes outside on the grass, but we would go. I remember a few years before she died, wheeling her wheelchair out so we could see those fireworks. But I had no idea that would be the last time.
Grief will strike at the worst possible time – a song on the radio, a certain scent or smell, buying something in the store that was a loved one’s favorite. It can hit you like a ton of bricks, and you may not even know why.
But these grief-bursts are a gift. They are a reminder of love. After all, we only grieve for those we love or had a connection to. So, don’t avoid them or get embarrassed by them. Embrace them, acknowledge your grief to yourself and those around you, and accept them as a gift of love.
I’ll watch the fireworks that will undoubtedly go off around Holmes Harbor, I will feel bad for the pets who are afraid, and I’ll toast my mom and shed a tear thanking God for the love I learned through her.
If you need help with your grieving in this time of pandemic, reach out to one of us pastors or perhaps visit some grief websites. I can recommend this one from The Center for Loss but there are many others: https://www.centerforloss.com/grief/
Sending you love and healing… and fireworks!
Rev. Dave Bieniek
To make a donation to Trinity, follow this link: https://trinitylutheranfreeland.org/give/