Where Does Grief Take Us
God gives us grief as a tool. As time passes on after the death of a loved one, we will be faced with a choice when it comes to grief: We can try our best to avoid it…or we can take its hand and let it lead us.
Lead us where?
Grief is gut-wrenching. It can lead us through anger or guilt, but where it ultimately takes us is a place that we could never get to without it.
A Unique Perspective on the Grief Journey
Brad Knefelkamp experienced what we call the worst loss, the death of a child. His son committed suicide and it flipped Brad’s life upside-down.
That’s when Brad had to face grief head-on. He had a vision, or a dream, about grief where he had a decision to make…does he take grief’s hand?
In an interview for LifeSupport’s Worst Loss series, Brad recalls the dream:
“It’s a figure of a man who’s coming up to the window and the next thing I know he’s standing at the foot of my couch and his figure is all like 9 feet tall and his head is down, his shoulders are slouched, and I can’t make out any distinct features of him. Everything is kind of fuzzy. And he’s holding out his hand for me to take it and I thought to myself, ‘I’m not taking your hand. I know who you are.’ For some reason I knew this was grief. I’m not going. Because in my mind I was like, ‘I know the company you keep. And they’re not good. And I’m not going to go down that road of all that this depression and all this sort of thing. I’m not going there.’
Brad said that no matter how many times he said ‘No’ to grief’s hand, grief wouldn’t leave, and kept reaching out its hand to him.
“It was just taking forever and so finally I was like, ‘OK, I’ll take your hand,’ and the minute I touched him we were on a street, we were in a town and there are all these streets going around all in different directions and I notice that the streets had different names. One was called ‘Anger.’ One was ‘Depression’ and so on.”
Brad then said grief took him down a dark alley, where he noticed something approaching him from the corner of his eye.
“All the sudden, from behind me, I just felt like I had got hit by a sledgehammer on the back of the head and I got knocked to the ground by a list of questions.”
“Why didn’t you go visit him while he was alone?!” “You knew he had to be alone!” “Why didn’t you?!”
“Every time I tried to get up, I got hammered again and ended down on that pavement and I remember looking up and grief is just stand there waiting for me…”
A Light at the End
As Brad endured the hits and hammering from these questions, and while grief waited for him, he finally saw where grief was taking him.
“Way down the alley, there was light. And as I looked, I could see in that light it was a park and the sun was shining. There were kids laughing and playing. And I realized where grief is leading me and nothing else would have led me there.”
Through this difficult journey with grief, Brad had a revelation: Without taking grief’s hand, he would have never found the light at the end.
Does this mean that grief just leaves or disappears?
No, but it gives the person suffering from loss a needed perspective about grief.
Grief as a Tool
Brad’s dream about his journey with grief showed him something very important.
“Grief is not my enemy, grief is now, in a certain sense, my companion. My life is never going be the way it was before Logan died. It can’t be. Part of me is missing.”
Grief is God-given and He gives us grief as a tool so we can cope with the worst losses in our lives. So in that sense, taking grief’s hand is like taking God’s hand, and trusting him to lead us through the most difficult times in our lives.