Navigating Grief with Grace and Gratitude | Nimmy Philip, USA

While many of you may not feel the need for this article now, it holds a message that will likely resonate with you at some point in your life. Grief and loss are an inevitable part of our lives, and it’s my prayer that by sharing my journey, it can offer some strength and solace during similar moments. People go through heartbreaking situations in their lives; for me, I felt my heart was broken into a million little pieces on June 22nd, 2023, when God found it fit to take my best friend, my mom, to her heavenly abode. My mom battled a severe illness that recurred intermittently over the past decade, leading to numerous instances where we faced the imminent possibility of losing her. Miraculously, each time, God would restore her back to us and we would find solace in her recovery.
In June of 2023, my mother fell severely ill once again. I hastily booked a flight from the US to India, embarking on a nearly 25-hour journey. Just before boarding, my father reassured me that she was recovering well and eagerly anticipating my arrival. Upon reaching India at 5:30 am, I faced a three-hour drive to the hospital. However, by the time I arrived at 8 am, my mother had peacefully departed for her heavenly abode an hour earlier. I never had the chance to see her again. It was an incredibly heart-wrenching moment, and I found myself grappling with the question, “Why, God?” I couldn’t comprehend why she couldn’t have been granted one more hour of life, giving me the opportunity to hold her, hug her, and say my goodbyes. In that moment, the heavens felt silent, and the pain was indescribable.

Now, it has been 10 months, God has made me stronger than the person I was back then; I’d like to reflect on some valuable lessons I’ve learned during this challenging period:
a) It’s not within our right to question why the death of a loved one occurs as Job wisely expressed in Job 1:21, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” As Isaiah 46:10 mentions, “I make known the end from the beginning…I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”, we need to believe that God knows ‘the end’ (our death) from ‘the beginning’ (our birth). And that He has already orchestrated ‘the in-between’ of our lives beautifully.
b) Grieving is a personal journey, and it’s crucial to take the time needed to cope. Everyone grieves in their own way, and at their own pace. Allow yourself that grace. Allow the tears to flow when they must. There’s no expectation to heal quickly, especially in the aftermath of losing a loved one. Sometimes, all you can do is embrace the tears and reminisce about the good times shared. The key is to recognize that only God can provide true peace. In my own experience, holding my Bible became a challenge after my mother’s passing. Yet, with the support of my best friend, a dear sister in Christ, I found encouragement to turn to prayer and scripture. Matthew 5:4 became a source of solace: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

c) It may initially be challenging to grasp, but God has a way of helping us understand that we will be reunited with our loved ones in heaven. The most heart-wrenching moments for me were when I realised that with each day, I feared forgetting my mom’s smile, scent, and the sound of her voice calling out my name. Furthermore, the extreme pain of her absence during the significant moments in my life, moments she should have been there to witness, is simply unimaginable!
As Psalms 34:18 mentions – “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart”, God grants grace for us to cope and comprehend that a joyous reunion awaits us.

We need to remember that God is always faithful. My promise verse for 2023, was Hosea 6:1 – “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has injured us, but he will bind up our wounds.” Though I initially couldn’t grasp its depth, I realised later that God already knew in 2023 my heart would be broken and gave His promise beforehand. The only question was, would I choose to return to the Lord and trust that He has a greater plan, or would I keep asking Him ‘Why’?

I can boldly say, that even though every day I miss my mom and tears are a daily routine, God has enabled me to gracefully navigate this journey, finding gratitude in the cherished memories of my dear mom along the way.



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