I was not going to write anything last week. But God…
Since I started this blog, I had been faithfully posting midweek, but last Wednesday came and went and I didn’t have any words to give others. I think that Thursday was the first time I was out of bed before noon.
I just wanted to sit in my grief as I had no desire to encourage anyone else. I wasn’t even taking phone calls and barely responding to text messages. How could I inspire anyone?
A lifelong friend of mine reached out, innocently asking where my blog was. I knew she was hurting, and like many of us, wanted some understanding of what we were all feeling.
You see, my friend had lost her mother last year and was still dealing with that grief. She was a close friend of my brother’s and was experiencing another painful loss.
With God’s grace, by Friday I was finally able to share an encounter that I wrote specifically to encourage my family and loved ones, having no idea that it would resonate with so many people. If you missed it, you can find it here.
I’m sure the celebration in heaven is still going on – with all the people there whom my brother crossed paths with during his life on earth. But those of us down here were still hurting.
What is supposed to happen now?
I can’t answer that, as I know the journey is different for each person who has lost a piece of their heart. What were my next steps supposed to be? Nothing would ever go back to the way it was.
Sure, when I get sad, I reflect on the thought that he will live in eternal joy forever, but that notion doesn’t always translate to joy down here.
I miss my brother. Over the past week, I’ve gone through countless pictures of us, from the time we were little. I’ve been laughing about memories that I hope will always bring a smile to my face.
But I’m also struggling with motivation and productivity. And when it rains, I just want to stay warm under the covers, hoping to fall asleep and escape the nightmare. I still haven’t returned all the calls from last week; it was a major accomplishment to respond to all the texts.
I went from losing so much weight from fasting during the time he was in the hospital, to putting on weight from eating whatever I felt like once my appetite returned.
I’ll work out again. And return to my healthy eating habits. Maybe next week. Maybe not. I’ll get back to some semblance of normalcy soon. I hope.
People ask how I’m doing. And my response is I’m taking it moment by moment. There are some good moments, and there are some struggles. There are moments when I forget.
And then there are the times when I’m reminded of the unthinkable – like when my heart drops while I’m working and see the file of the obituary I’ve written with my brother’s name on it.
And there’s the daily scripture someone sends via group text that still has my brother’s name on it. I see his name there every day, and it takes but a moment for me to remember the heart-wrenching truth. He’s not there – he didn’t get the text that was sent to encourage him.
And then there’s my mom. And my daughters. And my sisters. And the rest of the family members and friends that I want to be strong for, but I must be strong for myself first. I have to take care of me.
And so I’m figuring out what my self-care looks like. Taking care of this new me, who no longer has a brother on earth. What does that life for her look like?
I think it will look different each day.
Last night during devotions with my girls, we read about the different types of love in our Brio magazine. I knew about agape, eros, and phileo, but it was my first time learning about storge.
Storge describes the love and affection shared by family members – natural and instinctive. This is the love I have for my brother. It was not based on what he did, but on who he was. And the disruption of that affection was the source of my pain.
But God’s agape love was the healing balm for my agony. It is what I needed to heal my broken heart. I don’t know long that will take. Maybe it’s an ongoing process that won’t be completed until I join my Savior, my brother, and other loved ones in Heaven.
Agape love is perfect and genuine. God loves me. He cares about everything I’m feeling. And He wants to help me feel better. Do better. And be better.
That is my hope. That’s what keeps me going.
I’m figuring this new life out. In my own time, and on my own terms. And as I stare out my window while isolated in my house, the world seems different out there.
It IS different – my brother is not out there anymore.
But I’ll be ok. Moment by moment.
Are you grieving the loss of eros (romantic), phileo (friendship), or storge (familial) love? Will you allow God’s agape love to heal your heart, little by little?
The first step is to ask Jesus to live in your heart, acknowledging that He died on the cross to save you and give you eternal life with Him.
After that, you will be forever connected to His spirit, and as you grow to know Him, allow Him to heal your broken heart. You can start by having a conversation with Him right now, letting Him know exactly how you feel, and what healing you need from Him.
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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