What You NEED To Know About Your Grief

I want to take a break from uplifting for just a moment and talk about something serious, something that causes a daily rollercoaster of emotions for many. It is something I have heard called on MANY, MANY occasions “unfair and really, really mean.”

The topic … being 7 years old in a world full of so many rules. Hmm, so maybe I exaggerated the seriousness of the subject a tad, but now that I have your attention… Do you remember when you were 7 years old and the weight of the world was on your shoulders? Yeah, me either, but according to my 7 year old, life is “really unfair” and I can be “really, really mean.” It isn’t just him, I am hearing it from my 4 year old and other Moms are telling me their children (ages vary) have the same rough life. The more I learn, the more I realize this is not a localized affliction, but a wide spread epidemic I have named, “The really, really mean and completely unfair syndrome.”   Okay, I’m done with the sarcasm at the moment. I was once a child and I am certain I had similar complaints. My guess is, we all did, and we just don’t remember it well, right?

As an adult with bills and responsibilities, it is easy for us to focus on how ridiculous our children’s complaints really are. We typically respond with something like, “You have no idea what a rough life really is.”   My husband’s usual go-to when the kids start complaining is, “Oh, really? How was work today, kids?” Admittedly, I always chuckle and so do the kids when his response is delivered. It is really hard for us adults to think back to when our only problems were how to get more candy and more playtimes.

We forget just how rough bedtime was when we wanted to stay up just 5 more minutes. Or how Mom and Dad didn’t understand how that one last snack before we could go to sleep was only because we were starving and probably wouldn’t survive the night without it. It had nothing to do with stalling. We forget how eating our veggies were pure, unjust torture. Remember how Mom called us in from playing outside and at that very moment we were having the most fun possible? Or how our parents were out of their mind crazy to think that ONE cookie would ruin our appetite. AND the sharing, don’t get me started with the sharing. Why did we have to share with our siblings? Okay, is it coming back to you now? Thought so.

Like I said, being 7 years old is rough. We forget, but it really is rough. These little “problems” are so big to us as children.

My son, Hagen, reminded me of this after mindfully watching him go through a typical day in the life of a 7 year old.

I believe the day started off rough because I asked him to change out of his pjs before going outside to play. He had one foot out the door when I stopped him and stepping backwards into the house, going to his room and changing was a lot to ask. I may have even requested him to brush his teeth too, clearly not something he had time for. Then there was lunch, he had to actually come inside, wash his hands and sit down to eat. Oh man, how rough. The day went on with many requests and reactions that played out no differently.

As I mindfully watched how the simplest things could be so frustrating and disappointing to my child I noticed something else. I was reminded of how it was also the little things that made him the happiest. The wind blowing at the right time, so his kite shoots up into the sky or how a frog jumps into the water as he approached. The garden hose slipping out of my hands and, the entire time the water is shooting straight into my face. It is the simplest things that produce the biggest smiles.

It is refreshing to watch children find happiness from the smallest things. Have you ever really noticed this? Go ahead, test it. Give a child a cardboard box and watch as they make it a castle. Give them a butterfly net and you are soon preparing for the most exciting adventure ever. The simplicity in their joy is something to be treasured.

I will openly admit to you, I was not fully aware of ALL these moments until Mac. I didn’t watch for the little moments of joy to fully cherish them as I do now. I really think I focused more on the negative, all the things my kids would complain about.

My life was a lot like the beginning of this blog, I was mostly noticing stress and complaints. I would get so frustrated that the kids would complain of such silly things when life was so…heavy. Don’t misunderstand me, I noticed good moments, but there was more of a focus on my next task or the whining that seemed to be streaming from both of my kids. I was constantly worrying and rushing to complete something I perceived as important (you know, like laundry, cleaning the house or keeping their toys picked up) rather than being in the moment and realizing my perception of what was important was just as skewed as I thought theirs was. I never really drank them in as I do now.

Until… I was fully emerged in grief. I had no say in it, no way of changing the course my life had suddenly taken. The very moment I lost my son, I gained grief and it was not a welcomed companion. I hated it. I would have given anything to trade it for my baby boy. I thought of grief as a burden, something I have no use for in my life. But, you know what? I was wrong. It took time, and each of us is on our own time schedule when it comes to grief. I prayed, a lot, and still do. I struggled, and still do. But, eventually, I have come to the place where I am finding blessings in grief. Can you believe that?

Losing Mac has opened my eyes in more ways than I could have ever imagined and I am so thankful for it. Thank you, Mac Bryson Rensi. Thank you, GRIEF, and thank you, God, for opening my heart and my eyes to these beautiful moments right in front of me. I have said since the very day he left this world, there WILL be good to come from this tragedy. I promised him I would strive to learn from his loss rather than be defeated by it. I promised I would remember just how precious life is and cherish every moment I have with the two children God has blessed me with. I promised Mac I would walk by faith and lead Hagen and Suzie to one day meet their little brother. I promised that although I knew I would not be perfect, I would work hard and do what I could to be present in this life I have been given. I whispered to Mac I wanted him to be able to look down at me and say, “THAT is my Mommy. She is doing a good job.”

If you ever find yourself asking what good could possibly come from your grief, I want you remember this. My grief has given me, among many other blessings, the awareness and a perspective of what truly matters for me. No, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade it for my son being here. I would, but I can’t. So… I want you to remember the good has come from my grief. I want you to consider the possibility that amidst all the heartache that comes with grief, there is also joy, love and blessings. All we need to do is open our hearts and eyes enough to see.

My hope for you is that you will be able to see beyond your grief. Those blessings and the good that I am talking of, they are right there in front of you. When you are ready, open your heart and eyes to them.