The friend who suggested I seek counseling mailed a book to me called the Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum.
I was convinced I didn't really need it, but, in solitary moments, I began reading it.
The first few chapters bolstered my smug attitude. Sure, some of it made sense, but I couldn't relate to problems addressed here. I wasn't angry at my brother. I wasn't in denial of his death, I'd been at his bedside when he died. I didn't need this book. I had this under control.
But, day after day, something kept drawing me back.
Then, one afternoon while the kids were napping, I turned to a page that basically said - 'if none of this works for you, picture the deceased person and talk to them, beginning your sentence with, "If only..." or "I wish..."'
Suddenly the floodgates opened...I wish you hadn't died...I wish you hadn't gotten sick...I wish you'd had a career....I wish you'd had a wife...I wish you'd had a family.....I wish you were still alive so we could still wish these things for you...I wish I'd done more for you...
I went on and on. Sobs racked my body. I cried aloud to no one at all, blurting regrets until I was depleted.
I felt like a shaken soda can that someone had finally pulled the ring top, allowing the
explosive contents to escape.
Days later, I finished the book. One of the final chapters advised that you knew you were healing from grief when you could see something good come out of the experience.
My head snapped to attention. What? Really? Was that possible? Something good could come out of Jim's death? It sounded absurd.
That was my challenge.
I couldn't see it...I couldn't understand Jim's death or see anything good about it...but God had more to show me....
And I was about to read another book....a really good book...
(This is part of an ongoing story. Here are Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII and Part VIII.)