When It's About Staying Wide Awake

Sunday Quiet Badge.jpg

There’s been a bit of synchronicity in our world lately.

Last weekend, we were in Georgia attending to the arrangements of Kirk’s mom’s passing, being with family, and of course participating in her funeral.

This weekend, we’re in upstate New York for a trip that has been in the works about two years — a reunion with the other side of Kirk’s family to memorialize his aunt Diana, who passed away two years ago to metastatic breast cancer.

Today the family is taking a hike to Huckleberry Point in the Catskills. It was Diana’s favorite place to hike and where she asked for her ashes to be spread into the wind. (I wrote about this remarkable woman and this very same hike we took with her in 2008 here.)

It feels like everywhere we turn, Kirk and I are being invited into the reality of the grief journey. And what I’m learning about grief in this road we’re walking is that it asks you to remain wide awake.

Every day is different on this path. You just don’t know how you’ll feel. Some days you’ll feel numb. Some days you’ll feel angry. Some days there’s sadness unspeakable. Some days you just want to get things done.

I say all this from the vantage point of being the one standing beside the person in the primary place of grief. I grapple with my own feelings concerning the loss of both these women, yes. But even more than that, I walk every day in the path next to Kirk, in whose life these two women played a primary role. I see him feeling all these things, and each day — sometimes each moment — is different.

And so, wide awake. For him and for me, that’s the invitation. Will we be truly present to this season of grief? Will we choose to live this well? Both of us choose to say yes to this question.

It’s so easy, when we encounter someone experiencing a loss, to fall asleep on them. We say the easy thing. We rush to the answering place. Sometimes we run away. We feel self-conscious and helpless.

But walking with someone through grief means staying wide awake. Attuning to them. Attending to them. Participating in the conversation. Being open to all the feelings. Even having your own feelings.

It’s interesting to me that, as I shared with you in one of these recent letters, God is directing me into a season of learning to carry stillness with me wherever I go, no matter the surroundings or circumstances. One thing I’ve been noticing about this journey is that it has something to do with remaining present to the present moment — just like this grief journey is teaching me too.

Again, synchronicity. 

Is there any synchronicity happening in your life right now? Is there any way in which you’re being inviting to remain wide awake?   

Much love,