My first-born son, Graham, died when he was eighteen years old. He took his life while stranded on a country road in his vehicle.
A few months after he passed away my grief counselor advised me to find a place where I could go and “let it all out and cry hard to release my painful emotions.”
At that time I was not able to speak about my son’s tragic death to anyone. My heart felt like it was frozen. Even when I was alone the tears would not come. I didn’t trust myself or anyone else enough to talk about it and expose my raw emotions.
I was too hurt to do that.
I have always found great comfort in writing. It was easy for me to pour out my thoughts and feelings on paper.
I missed my son terribly so I wrote him a letter to tell him things about myself and how his family was coping. I wanted to share it with him!
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
I used to spend a lot of time in the barn. It was where my son spent many hours caring for his beloved horses.
I headed towards the barn to read my letter out loud. Our horses were enjoying their favorite treat, a scoop full of oats.
I wanted to be somewhere away from people and the phone and the horses seemed to be calling me.
At first I felt a bit uncomfortable and wanted to laugh. I was actually going to read to three horses!
They had finished eating their oats and we’re just standing there with their heads hanging outside the stall doors.
The powerful silence and presence of these animals in front of me gave me confidence to keep reading my letter. The breathing of the horses and their warm energy comforted me.
I was surrounded by the warm light of the barn.
Another great Presence was there too. I could just feel it.
It was powerful!
No expectations or judging came from these huge honest animals. Their ears were pointed forward. I had their attention and that is all I needed to gain confidence in expressing the words in my letter.
When I finished reading out loud, my heart felt lighter.
It broke my silence, somehow.
After that time of the “barn reading,” I gained more assuredness. I just needed a go-to-place where I felt safe. I needed a place to mourn.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
In Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s book On Grief and Grieving she states, “if you do not take the time to grieve, you cannot find a future in which loss is remembered and honoured without pain. We will never forget our loss of a loved one and that we will never be the same.”
“The Lord is near to those who have a broke heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)