Grief is personal. Death is universal. So far, no one has been able to escape death. During this week of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, it has been interesting to see the reactions, of literally, the world. Those who chose to use her death as an opportunity to push political statements against the monarchy and authoritative rule. Those who are simply curious and want to be a part of history. A chance to say “I was there when”. And those who mourn her for who she is to them. A Queen. A picture of longevity. A symbol of something more. Then there are those who mourn her personally. Her staff. Her children. Her grandchildren. Can you imagine being one of the privileged few who served Her Majesty her morning breakfast? Who knew how she liked her tea and her favourite dessert? Or if she took her teeth out at night. I wanna talk to the guy who watched her skin a deer or throw her goloshes by the castle hearth to dry up after mucking out her horse. Did the Queen muck out her own stall? Who ‘stooped and scooped’ after the Royal corgis? Surely they have neat and tidy rose bushes in the royal gardens hiding poop baggie depository cans! Seriously, friends, these are the things I think about.
Grief is personal. We can watch the long funeral procession and wait in long lines to pay our respects, but how many of us have sat at the bedside table and watched as a loved one’s chest slowly stopped moving. On both occasions, you count the hours. Or minutes. God has given us such a unique opportunity to feel emotions. Pain. Joy. Grief. I marvel at the chemical reactions that occur in our brains, our physical reactions, our change in temperature, and our inability to keep tears from flowing no matter how hard we try. Some of us crave the comfort of others, we need a steady hand to hold us up and assure us that there is solid ground. Others of us pull away. We need our space to process and “work it through”. Only then do we gather ourselves up and press on.
I watched the younger generation mourn their grandma. Oh, I am sure they have been trained well to accept flowers from the crowd, and nod and wave. To stand tall in fine black clothes and try to not show emotion. But grief is personal. What memories flash through their mind’s eye? Christmas morning with gran? Do they wonder if her broach will get handed down? Do they giggle about the time when she told them off for being silly? Does she carry around mints in that handbag of hers to shush the children during church services?
We are told, “there is a time to be born and a time to die”. No one tells you how you react to either of those events. Nor can we cannot predict the exact moment they will occur. Who will be there? Who will miss it? Grief is personal. If you feel you need support because you are grieving, I encourage you to seek out good counsel. It is wise and worth it. Time does heal. May we take this time to reflect on our unique ability as human beings to experience grief. I have seen many creatures die. Creatures do not have the same emotional attachment to death that we do. That has been breathed into us as unique masterpieces of a living God. Cherish it as a gift. Because grief is personal.