The Selfishness of Grief

The severity of that statement is harsh, cruel and true…for me. So, you may ask, how is it that a life-altering, debilitating emotion such as grief be considered selfish?

Initially, I will say the loss of my Angel Girl ignited an enveloping grief that was so overwhelming; it paralyzed my thoughts into a single, tunnel vision focus. There is no doubt this was crucial as I processed the unexpected heartache that had fallen upon me. I believe this process will follow me the rest of my days.

As I began and continue my journey through this sorrow, it became evident that the word “I” took the lead on most if not all of my self-correspondence. “I wish this…” “I want that…” “I will miss another…” The “I’s” had it so to speak. I do feel this is necessary, and vital for memories and what was to come to be brought to the surface and my loss to be deeply realized on this side of heaven. But, at the same time, it limited my belief in the promise of Angel’s eternal home.

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 gives a clear picture of our temporary home and the promise of our true home.

1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Be assured, there is nothing I would want more than to have my sweet Angel Girl here with me to hug on, laugh with, and just gaze upon…I dream of it daily. But, she has shed her earthly tent and is now heavens above this physical plane. So with my selfish “I’s” now exposed…I have come to know that Angel has found her eternal home.

Dear Lord, I pray that as I reminisce of what was and what I hoped would be, you remind me of what is; that my Angel is with You in her true home. Please lift my selfish thoughts as I come to know and embody this truth. Amen.

May God Bless You and Give You Grace.

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About Michael Cartwright

Follower of Christ Jesus! I am a person of patience, compassion and understanding. I have been married to my wonderful wife Stephanie since 1990. We have 3 children Dalton, Dylan and my late daughter Angelica (My Angel Girl) who ascended to the heavens on June 29, 2010. She continues to teach me many great lessons.
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15 Responses to The Selfishness of Grief

  1. You and your family are in my prayers

  2. bellaverita says:

    Such a moving post, Michael. My prayers are with you.

  3. Ann Gardner says:

    I think that you can grieve while still knowing that your loved one is in Heaven and that wouldn’t be selfish, would it? Wouldn’t selfish grieving be more if you only think about yourself and how the death affects you and not think about how anyone else is affected? Please help me understand . I’m praying for all of you.

    • I have to experience my grief. Just one year removed from Angel’s passing, I still weep and experience my loss at different levels. For me, when I get caught in the “I wants” it brings separation to the truth of where my Angel now resides. I am learning to be joyful in that truth while walking through this side of the tragedy. The selfishness I speak of is subtle, but it could lead to despair if I do not acknowledge it.

      Thank you Ann and God bless,
      Michael

      • Ann Gardner says:

        Thank you. Now I understand where you are coming from. I am grieving the loss of a friend of 45 years and wondered if I was being selfish about it. I cannot imagine the depth of your, Stephanie’s and the boys’ grief and pray for you. Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you through all this.

  4. Irene Cortez says:

    Your post is very touching, Michael. It is really hard to lose someone you truly love. My grandfather grieved for my grandma’s loss in 2003 for, I think, 5 years. But he is a lot better now. Only time can heal your wounds, Michael. And remember, Angel is watching you from a much better place–Heaven.

    God is with you in this journey. 🙂

  5. Rosemary Wilkes says:

    Michael,
    My mother passed in 1998 and I thought I would never get over the heart wrenching grief. The thought of us being together again in heaven is what soften the hard feeling in my heart.Thank you for your post.
    God Bless and you continue through
    Rosemary Wilkes

  6. Debbie says:

    Michael – my heart aches with you and grieves with you and your family. You’ll all certainly be in my prayers. Have you read A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis? This was really a journal he never meant to publish, but he talks about the tangibleness of grief. I understand your heart to not give into despair. That’s a deep and unique grief. I simply can’t imagine, but I can pray.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Good post, Michael.

    I think whenever someone very close to us dies, we have to grieve the “secondary losses” as well as the main loss of the loved one. For me, it’s been a host of things from a big chunk of self (part of me that was given to Vincent in love) that at death felt violently wrenched away, the loss of service in the relationship (my role as a mamma to a very little boy who needed to be fed, clothed, diapered, bathed, nursed, comforted, etc.) as well as loss in our family structure, loss of feeling safe (although that mainly came after our house was burgled after the funeral), and then loss of our future here on earth together. I don’t think these things are selfish per se, they are a normal part of processing and grieving the loss of someone very close to you.

    • Thank you Rebecca for stopping by…
      Yes, the waves of self dialog are indeed a normal grieving process for me and most definitely necessary as I work through my heartache. My perspective on this is to come to true terms that my Angel Girl is joyfully in her her eternal home…and I do not want the illusion of my thoughts to ignore this truth.

      God bless you!
      Michael

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