I used to think that if I let grief in, I would drown. But it’s like Moses and the Red Sea. Somehow the waters part. You walk through them…you get to discover that living a full life is the best way to honor him. Dr. Edith Eva Eger
These words were spoken by Dr. Eger during a counseling session with a bereaved mother who struggled to move through the grieving process after losing her son. Having lost family members and friends in the Holocaust, including both her parents, Dr. Eger is well qualified to speak to those of us who grieve.
She knows it all firsthand.
The hollow places of loss. The spaces that were once occupied by someone you love that you could actually touch and see and talk with. And now you can’t. How inconceivable it seems to just go on with life, and certainly to enjoy your life, when those deep recesses threaten to swallow up everything. And how dare we laugh and eat and play and pursue goals when our loved ones cannot.
What I have learned and am continuing to learn is that the only way to get through this acute stage of grief is to step right into it. You take a deep breath and say to yourself, “This sucks. It’s going to suck for a long time. But my feelings will not kill me. I will feel what I feel….and I will keep moving.”
Dr. Eger likens it to the parting of the Red Sea. You take a step forward, and the water begins to separate to make way for you. You just keep moving forward a step at a time, and the water keeps parting. It’s a frightening trek — after all, I’m still in the middle of the sea. I’ve come this far, but tomorrow will the walls of water come crashing down and drown me right where I stand?
Then comes the next part of Dr. Eger’s sage wisdom to a hurting mother:
Living a full life is the best way to honor him.
I honor Chandler when I don’t allow my fear to keep me from appreciating and enjoying the simple gifts offered to me each day. When I don’t let it stop me in my steps and keep me stuck there.
I honor Chandler when I love well, enjoy the moment, and do the next right thing.
Right here in the middle of the parting sea.