Sunday Sermon (February 2, 2020) — From Grief To Gratitude

The passing of the passengers and pilot aboard Kobe Bryant’s helicopter that crashed 5 days ago has made a global impact. But none as those closest to them.

As seconds turns to minutes and minutes to hours grief springs forth demanding a process. From disbelief to denial until acceptance kicks in. Leaving us with distance memories of times once shared. For some memories of our younger years for others events after having met.

For instance, the passing of my dad brought with it memories of my younger years with him and the loss of my husband memories of events after we met and married. While both occurrences resulted in loss, each of them affected me differently. Betrayal was the source of grief over the loss of my husband whereby, the sense of loss was the source of grief accompanying the passing of my dad. Signifying to me emotional grief carries with it an ever present sadness uneasily shaken. Lingering in the form of regret, guilt, self-blame, hopelessness, and despair, emotional grief can become life threatening. Or in my case, purposeful.

I’m sure it is safe to say you are no stranger to grief. Whether your experience with it is from your very own personal experience or vicariously through another who’s experienced loss in one way or another. I will even go on to say you’ve witnessed for yourself there is a process that comes with overcoming grief. Whether or not you are familiar with the process doesn’t matter. Evidence of it is still visible. Most noticeable in the stories of others who loss, suffered and came out, not as victims but victorious.

It is said the grief process comes in stages (shock denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). This is not to say we all experience them linearly. However, each stage is experienced at some point. We may go through one stage quicker than the other and sometimes experiencing one or more multiple times. Even so, ultimately we are the decider of the duration of the process in its entirety.

The grieving process took longer with the tragic end to my marriage than it did the passing of my father. And it wasn’t because my dad was sick and expected to die anytime soon. In fact it was the complete opposite. There was no evidence his health was in dire jeopardy.

After experiencing the grief that accompanies mourning the death of a husband who’s vessel still moved about and having to decide for myself to be okay with being okay. I had to consciously make the decision to want to feel joy again. I had to choose to want to lead a fulfilling life. I had to choose to find purpose for the pains of the pangs ripping my soul to shreds. In other words, I had to be willing to heal.

You see, my grief process was unique unto its own, in that I couldn’t deny what transpired. Physical evidence of the nature of the crime existed. People were hurt and he was no longer present. I was left with an empty space he once occupied. Silence served as a reminder his voice would never be heard in the same manner it once did. Events guaranteed to imprint unwanted memories in the orifice of the mind.

It wasn’t until that faithful day in the early winter months of 2014 did I become sick and tired of being spiritually sick and emotionally tired did I say no more. No more will I remain in the state of sorrow I found myself in. No more will I spend another moment feeling sorry for myself. No more would I accept defeat at this thing called life. No more will I choose to hurt and continue to be angered by circumstances and situations out of my reach or control. No more will I hide my pain for I’ve chosen to throw them aside as I began to look for the light of reason. In other words, I sought understanding.

I knew there was a reason and I turned towards God and demanded an explanation. And not only did answers reveal themselves but they were revealed by the presence and voice of God Himself.

I became empowered by my ability to see the good that can be drawn from a tragedy such as the one I was encountering. Somehow I knew all I was going through wasn’t to punish me but to make me relatable to other’s suffering from similar afflictions. But first, I had to heal.

Seeking God I vowed to do just that. I made a solemn oath that if He helped me heal I would do all I could to help others heal — Worldwide. And since then God has been the center of my thoughts, feelings and the reasons for doing all I do

So much so, the grieving process caused by my dad’s passing wasn’t what everyone expected being a daddy’s girl and all.

I can remember that day as if it were this morning. It was in the early morning of January 22, 2018 when the ringing of my phone jarred me awake. Upon answering I was greeted by the voice of my oldest daughter asking if I heard about my dad. Inquiring what about him I was told he died. The idea I no longer had a dad came instantaneously and in need of processing. It was also the moment I knew I never truly understood what it was like losing a parent prior to that day.

Again my current reality jumped ship; abandoning me once again. Only this time I managed to acclimate easier and quicker than times before. A result I can only attribute to my daily interactions with God.

The grieving process in this instance began with acceptance. I accepted I no longer had the presence of the being I’ve always known as my dad, but then what? Where do I go from there? I chose avoidance in the form of denial. I denied myself from facing what was and made the conscious choice not to deal with it. For two days, life went on without my dwelling on the absence of the physical presence of the man who meant so much to me. On days 3, 4 and 5 I allowed myself to feel whatever emotions stirred within me. And it was during those moments I struggled with what I felt emotionally and what I’ve come to learn about God and life.

Day 6 until the funeral service I focused on putting my gift of speech and my creative mind into doing my part to ensure his send off would be memorable.

Since then I’ve learned to appreciate not only the wonderful memories of times shared with those no longer present but a deep sense of gratitude towards God for instilling in me endurance, understanding, insight, wisdom, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and unconditional love. Life held a whole new meaning for me. Life became an honor to be lived. I also know the loss of a loved one is no excuse to waste the life God gifted me by living it in constant sorrow. We are to live our own gift of life fully and on purpose.

To learn the steps I’ve taken to overcome grief, tune into Sunday Sermon, this Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 1 pm EST on FB Messenger by CLICKING HERE and joining us live.

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