On not hitting the ‘pause’ button in the rough times

‘Life is not coming to me ‘in pieces’; it’s unfolding regardless of the emotional rollercoaster of a given day or week’

me

Do you ever notice how we constantly talk about ‘getting through’ something?

I know I do. I tend to divide life into ‘categories’ or ‘chapters’.

I’m either doing well, or I’m doing not-so-well, or I’m sad – or the day is brighter than most. But what I’m learning is this – every single experience we have is ‘life’. It’s not coming to me ‘in pieces’; it’s unfolding seamlessly regardless of the emotional rollercoaster of a given day or week.

I’m speaking, of course, from the perspective of dealing with grief.

My mom passed away last January, so this year has been one of enormous personal loss and sorrow. Combine that with this pandemic, and it’s been an extremely difficult time.

I have also learned how our culture, much of the time at least, doesn’t really know what to do with grief. I think that some people wish you could flip a switch and turn it off, at least for awhile. Or hit that non-existent ‘pause’ button.

We are uncomfortable with expressions of pain, and I guess that’s natural. But it doesn’t diminish it in any way.

Grief demands to be experienced, and it tends to have a will of its own.

During the past many months, I have observed how some people view it.

Some people seem to deny it altogether. I’m not sure why they would choose to do that, because it isn’t a healthy or realistic alternative. Others seem to not experience it at all, or very minimally.

Other people seem to convince themselves that feeling sad won’t serve any purpose, so why let yourself go there?

For me, I was blessed with a fantastic mom. We were extremely close, so my grief has been like a looming mountain in my life all these months – seemingly unmovable. And this all ties into what I was mentioning early – about how life is a journey. You don’t hit pause every time you encounter pain or challenges. You keep moving on through them – not because you want to, but because you must.

For me, my Christian faith is central to finding that grace to go on. My life is built on this, so I know that I am never alone in this journey. I pray every single day for help, for hope and for the strength to find my footing.

Also, this year, like no other, has shown me how vulnerable we all are. Life is smooth-sailing when everything is serene – but death, pain, disease and trial throw that sense of security out the window and you can feel very small.

But even then, I have found hope. With not much going on these days, I rediscovered my love for walking – and it’s during those times I find prayer a natural activity to take part in. I have a renewed love for the scriptures as well. I know that not everyone can relate to me in this, but I have to emphasize that these things have been foundational to me.

In the meantime, sometimes when I think of my mom, I can still hardly believe that she is gone. I can hear her voice pretty clearly some days; I imagine what she would say about a given situation. I miss her very much.

And with the approach of the holiday season, I feel a kind of dread trying to cover me. This was one of her favourite times of year, so facing it can feel overwhelming.

I think part of that is because my mother provided me with a huge sense of security, and without that, I feel like there are days when the ground is splitting apart under my feet. When I was with mom, I felt like I was at ‘home’. She provided the essence of home to me. It wasn’t merely a place – it was a sense of having something even more real than that.

So my point? Let’s welcome each day just for what it is. If you are grieving, don’t fight it. Don’t look at it as a period of time to endure and to get through until normalcy resumes. Try to learn and grow from it, and resist any urge to panic at the thought of it.

Don’t hit the ‘pause’ button and try to turn your thoughts away from what you are feeling right now. Don’t look at grief like a foreign thing, or like an intruder that must immediately be shown the door.

It’s all part of this path you are on – it’s ‘life’. You may feel alone, but you aren’t. I don’t know who wrote this quote, but I completely agree. ‘Grief never ends, but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith – it is the price of love.’

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Stettler sign
Stettler Community Builders initiaitve continues to take shape

Project will honour Stettler citizens who were influential in the town’s history

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read