Don’t Look Away From The Pain. Step Into It And Find The Good.

Posted August 27, 2022 by Prairie Wife - 6 comments

Don’t look away from the pain.

Step into it and find the good.

I’ve been thinking about how to write this post for months.

Ever since I learned about the death of our beloved Mary Poppins.

And I’ve deleted hundreds of words and restarted this about five times just this week alone.

Because I guess the reality is…the title says it all.

Don’t look away from the pain.

Step into it and find the good.

There is not a single one of us that hasn’t experienced loss or death.

Perhaps you’ve never lost a close family member or friend, never been to the funeral of a child…

But I KNOW that anyone reading this has seen the pain that comes when someone dies.

I’ve learned that while, in theory, some deaths are “easier” to face…like the death of someone in their 90s quietly in their sleep, as opposed to a young child lost to cancer.

How someone died doesn’t make you miss them any less.

It doesn’t make the tears any easier to bear, or that moment when you can no longer smell their unique smell on their favorite t-shirt any less painful.

And it doesn’t make it any easier to figure out how to help others that are mourning.

In my “short” 40 years of life, I’ve experienced more tragedy and loss than many and way less than others.

And if there is one thing I have learned about learning to live when those you love are gone, it’s that you don’t look away from the pain, you step into it and find the good.

You have to let it hurt.

You have to weep.

You have to be willing to be uncomfortable, to make others uncomfortable, and to be human and feel ALL the good, bad and ugly.

I still cry when I think about the three babies I’ve lost.

I cried in front of hundreds of people in my church this past Mother’s Day as I read our petitions and asked them to pray for mothers who have lost their children.

I was mortified that my heartbreak was so obvious (after all I am not a pretty crier and my voice goes into levels of squeakiness that can only be heard by dogs when I try and talk through the tears).

But you know what?

Afterward, I had numerous people come up and say thank you.

By openly showing my pain (even if it wasn’t planned), I allowed them to do the same.

I stepped into my pain, and good came from it.

When Mary Poppins’ Mother called me and told me the news of her death on the day I flew out for the trip I had planned for decades, I was shattered.

I was angry. I was mortified that I was angry. I was heartbroken for her family and loved ones, for my children who loved her SO much, and for myself and The Cowboy.

Every emotion in the “how to grieve” book was felt a dozen times over.

And then, I knew I had to share with you what happened.

After all, she was a part of your lives too. You knew how excited I was to spend five days with her in Liverpool…the last comment on the blog from her is “I can’t wait! ❤️ x”

(And yes, I am crying as I write this.)

But I was so worried that I wouldn’t handle sharing the news of her death in the right way.

And what would people think after I shared this heartbreaking news and then had pictures of me up smiling and having moments of joy?

In the end, I waited a few days, and when I was ready, I shared the news.

I decided that I wouldn’t worry about what people thought of my grief journey.

Because I know there is no “right” way to grieve.

And as I spent days deciding if I should still go to Liverpool or change my plans, I worried about what the “right” thing to do was.

It turns out there is NO right choice, only the best choice you can make at the time.

And as time has gone by, I continue to reach out to her loved ones.

To share memories of her with my children on my private Facebook page and to find the good from the time I had with her.

If I don’t step into the pain and cry as I look at pictures of her playing Twister with my Cowkids, I can’t feel that rush of love and gratitude when I think about her either.

Recently a friend of mine lost her son.

We saw more of each other when our children attended the same school. We haven’t purposefully connected in real life for years. Yet, we are constantly commenting and connecting on social media, and it’s always an unexpected joy when we run into each other at various events.

I wept when I read the news and felt so helpless.

I know I can’t fix this for them, and that feeling of utter powerlessness is so damn hard.

I signed up to bring them a meal, and when I felt like the time was right, I messaged her.

And all I said was, “I don’t know that any words I share with you will be right, or will help at all. Know you and your family are loved, and prayed for. That I am here in whatever way you need and you have no need at all to respond to this. Just know that I’m here ❤️

Because I have learned that’s what people need.

Someone that won’t look away from their pain.

Someone that will help them to remember the good and to see the good.

When someone is grieving, they don’t want to be the one to reach out and ask for help.

Half the time, they don’t even know what they need.

They’re living in survival mode. Making it through one second, one minute, one hour at a time.

So I try to do what I would want.

When people I love are in pain, I reach out whenever they cross my mind and tell them I’m thinking of them.

I let them know I’m here, and I tell them they are under no obligation whatsoever to respond.

Because it’s not about me and my feelings, it’s about them.

I make it clear that I am there no matter what. That I can cry with them, distract them, be angry alongside them, remember the good and tell stories and laugh with them, listen while they talk or tell inappropriate jokes or ramble on for hours about absolutely nothing as we take a walk.

Don’t look away from the pain.

Step into it and find the good.

God is good, but life is hard, and so I weep.

Photo Credit: Erin Potter Photography Ben Winckler Photography

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6 thoughts on "Don’t Look Away From The Pain. Step Into It And Find The Good."

  1. Tanya Gygax says:

    Thank you for this blog post. That is all!

  2. Glenda says:

    I think you said it perfectly here. As someone who has lost several family members, including my husband, I can say you said it beautifully. Step into it. Thank you.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking the time to let us know this helps us to help others.

  3. Roni says:

    I recently started following you. As a transplant from AZ living in WY for half the year, I marvel at the grit it takes to live here through the winter. I appreciate this post, having lost my husband 6 years ago. I enjoy all your posts very much and will make it to a talk one day from Wheatland.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Oh Roni, Wyoming winters are something else, aren’t they?! Especially this last one. Grateful that you came across this site and thankful that you’ve found it helpful. I hope we can meet in person soon 🙂

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