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 earlier 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, 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

Ryan Jake Applegarth of Ponoka, 28, is scheduled to appear at Ponoka Provincial Court on March 12, 2021. (File photo)
Discussions about justice continue as Ponoka murder victims’ court cases proceed

Responses to comments Ponoka Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley made to town council Feb. 9

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

(File photo/Lauren Collins Vana)
Ponoka cat owners have until July 1, 2021 to purchase licenses

Town council passed new Animal Control Bylaw Feb. 23

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside courthouse for slain Ponoka man

At what may be the last opportunity for Jeffery Kraft of Ponoka… Continue reading

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Most Read