I've been doing my best to ride out this neck-jerking, teeth-jarring roller coaster ride of grief this week. I wanted to say that there's no reason for why it's been so difficult, but I'd be lying. With the start of the impending school year, I am thrown under the bus with the reality that I won't be sending my son off to college. I won't be taking any photos of this new chapter in Matt's life. And it still sucks.
Thankfully, however, I've gotten a bit familiar with the grief ride and have learned a few tricks to getting through the drops. Getting off the ride isn't an option. The ticket of bereaved parent comes with a lifetime membership and is non-refundable. But I refuse to be a victim. To succumb to bitterness and live a life void of joy would mean my son's death was in vain. I refuse to accept that.
One of the crazy things about the grief ride is that it, at times, is predictable. The birthdays, the anniversary dates, the milestones, they are predictable, repetitive. Because of this, we can brace ourselves and prepare for what's coming. Of course, it doesn't make it any less painful, but it does keep you from getting the wind knocked out of you. One of best ways I know of how to combat the sharp turn of the roller coaster is to lean hard into it. Leaning into the grief, not denying what I'm feeling, and then dumping it all on my Heavenly Father's lap is the most effective remedy I've learned in getting through the despairing moments.
The second tip is to put on the praise and worship music. There is simply no better way to drown out the voice of sorrow and regret than to drench it with the truth of God's word and the reality of who He is. There are days I literally play a song thirty times. I love that God Himself puts such great emphasis on music. He instilled our souls to be moved by it. He knows what touches us. He knows what speaks to us. He knows what words change us. He uses the music He has gifted us with to do that.
So while the ride this week has been rough, it's been filled with His grace. He's gotten me through days I didn't think I would get through. He gave me comfort. I have His presence. I will ride this out with Him beside me.