Black Family Matters, Black Mental Health, Faith & Spirituality, Grief & Coping

Grieving…Faithfully.

There is something so bittersweet about the grieving process. For Black Christians, it is often swept under the rug as we are encouraged to “just pray about it” and to “hold on to faith”

Well, I would like to talk about grieving…faithfully.

Yes, I know how faithful God is and that He has never left me. Yes, I know that earthly death is a part of the cycle of life that we will all face someday.

However, I have to be honest with myself and also say that grief SUCKS. It sucks so, so, so badly. It hurts and it can be very painful.

Fortunately for me, I never experienced true grief until 2 years ago when one of my childhood friends committed suicide. For the first time ever, I did not just feel a sense of loss — I felt grief. I had to mourn the loss of my friend, which was something that I had never done before. No one taught me how to do it (properly).

Anyway, I also had not experienced an immediate loss until last year, when my sweet PaPa transitioned on to Glory (I am holding his hand in the picture above). My PaPa was a loving, caring, strong, God-fearing Black man who loved to tell the world that I was his “heartstrings” (I was, of course, his favorite).

He fought in the Navy in Korea to protect his country, then he came home to protect his family. He never finished high school and he did not get the chance to go to college. He did domestic work, cleaning White folks’ houses so that his kids and grandkids could have a better life. He was a PROUD, Black man. He was a Mason and a father to most Black men in our community. Someone once said that he could talk to a wall and the wall would talk back. He was just that kind of guy– he never met a stranger.

And then, 9 years ago, he was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. It hit us like a ton of bricks. My strong, hilarious, full-of-fun grandpa was sick. Really sick. But, in true Davis fashion, he fought until the end. He fought for 9 years, through countless surgeries and rounds of chemo. Then, last year, he decided that he did not want anymore chemo because it made him feel too weak.

So, he discontinued treatments and we all just prayed. HARD.

I prayed (selfishly) for God to allow my PaPa to stay with us until I graduated with my master’s degree on May 8, 2015. I prayed that prayer earnestly and God heard me.

Two weeks after I graduated, on May 22, 2015, my PaPa went to be with God.

He was not fighting, crying or screaming….he went just the way that he wanted to go…in peace.

However, this left a humongous hole in my heart. He was my superman! He was supposed to walk me down the aisle. He was the first man to ever love me and the first that I ever loved back. He was my favorite guy.

So needless to say, when he transitioned over, life sort of stopped. I did not allow myself to really grieve because I had to be strong for my mom and granny (yes, I know the SBW trope all too well), but that does not mean that I did not feel his absence.

I had to learn how to grieve. I had to learn that it was okay to have an okay day in the midst of sadness. I had to learn that it was okay to be happy in the midst of being really, really sad. I had to learn to be faithful in my walk with God, despite having a broken heart.

I was grieving…faithfully.

So, to anyone who may have recently (or not so recently) lost a loved one, please know that it is okay to grieve…faithfully. It is okay to be confused and to know better than to question God. It is okay to want answers and know that only God knows.

It is okay, to not be okay.

I once heard someone say that you have to grieve in order to feel something different and I have found that to be true.

So, however you grieve, allow yourself to go through it, so that you, too, can feel something new.

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Peace and Blessings,

Raven K.

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