In the immediate weeks following Micah and Judah’s death, we felt an amazing amount of care and support from people both online and offline. People sent us flowers and chocolates, folks from our church brought meals to us every night for a week, and cards kept pouring in. The amount of Facebook Wall Posts and messages, emails and tweets was overwhelming – in a good way.
The above image shows the hits that this Dazed Dad website had the day that we lost Micah and Judah and the next few weeks. I find that it’s an appropriate image to represent the way many talk about support after loss. It seems that everyone cares at first, and they all want to let you know, but then it starts to taper off. It makes sense – other people’s lives go on, and no matter how sad they are for us, they have schoolwork to do, family to care for, etc.
Some can probably get quite frustrated by the way the support seems to disappear. However, Sarah and I were talking about this last week and Sarah had an interesting thought. She viewed it not necessarily as a bad thing that the support seemed to wane, but rather viewed it more in the sense that the community was preparing us to move forward and go this journey alone.
In Jerry Sitter’s book “A Grace Disguised” he wrote the following:
“A willingness to face the loss and to enter into the darkness is the first step we must take.”
Those who have experienced tragic loss are unwillingly propelled into a journey of grief. They have no choice in the matter – but they do have a choice of how they respond. The journey ahead looks dark, intense and lonely. And it is. Sarah and I, while obviously in this journey together in many ways, are also alone in our own personal grief journeys. We each have to make the conscious decision to enter into the darkness and take that first step.
So while having the love and support from an immense community was amazingly important and necessary in the beginning stage of our journey, grief is inherently a lonely journey. It’s a journey that we have to make ourselves. And I think we feel more prepared for the journey alone because of the support we’ve received from our communities, and because we know that when we feel like we can’t keep going, or when we feel like the darkness is too much, we know they’ll be there for us still.