Three Years Later – Processing Grief

Last weekend, August 20, was the anniversary of Carleton Cannon‘s death. The last three years have passed exceptionally quick. Perhaps that is where the balance is with Grief. On one hand, when Grief visits, she brings excruciating painful loss while on the other hand, as time passes, those moment by moment times when you are completely overwhelmed, become mercifully manageable hourly, then daily, weekly, monthly, and longer.

Quietly and unannounced, Mercy, the sister of Grief, quietly enters your life. She does not make the grand entrance her sister, Grief, does. Yet, she begins the task of tempering Grief, admonishing moments of peace, and gradually persuades Grief to allow for longer times of peace between Grief’s unchained outbursts.

Yet, it is Time, Himself, that makes this passage nearly bearable. It is at this recognition on Friday, August 19, that I acknowledge it has been three years since Carleton passed from this physical plane. I credit Father Time with magically merging the moments of intolerable loss and modifying those feelings of absolute, overwhelm pain of loss, intimacy, and hope.

Time takes the immensely explosive emotional chaos of a terrible moment and begins to stretch that moment through a day, a week, a month, a year. Time works daily to mitigate the pain, reduce the excruciating, turning it first into tolerance, then into an ability to hope, and ultimately into a “new normal” that for me has taken nearly three years. So, it is with only a few tears today that I am so thankful and remember.

It is good to know that when Grief visits, whether expected or suddenly, that her Sisters – Mercy, Peace and Hope – are certain to arrive. You can rest assured that Father Time, or as I see Him – God – has a purpose in Grief’s visit. Her visits are never without loss, regret or pain. Yet, Grief creates a common ground between people who she visits. And, it is there, when others have visits with Grief, when I can share, as well as appreciate, the visits of Mercy, Peace and Hope who are sure to come.

Ultimately, this entire experience reminds me of one truth. Grief’s visit can never match the experience or value of pursuing God’s greatest gift – Love. Thank you, Carleton. Rest in God’s Arms.

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