I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with grief. My name is Nita.
In August 2017, our thirty-year-old son died of a drug overdose. A year later, my father died after suffering with dementia for years. A year later, my mother battled through cancer treatments and severe pain for 11 months before dying in November 2020.
As I have watched the Covid-19 virus cause worldwide disruptions, upheavals, and losses of every kind, my heart has grieved anew. I see families experiencing economic hardships, severe illnesses, and painful deaths.
The unexpected, shocking, and random nature of Covid-19 has caused much confusion, anguish, and deep pain. My heart aches for the widespread grief affecting so many people because I have felt the crushing blows of grief myself.
Though the death of my parents caused us much sorrow and longing, they had lived long lives and they were eager to go to their heavenly home. We were able to bury them in their old age, in the more usual order of things. Burying our child was a different matter.
By far, our hardest grief journey was with our son. After a bad motorcycle wreck in college, he became addicted to painkillers. He was 19 and remained living on his own, but he battled drug addiction from then on. We joined the legions of anguished parents who have experienced the prolonged heartache of pleading, praying, dreading phone calls, having long nights of tears and fears, being cut off, and attempting interventions. My husband and I sought counseling, talked to recovered addicts, and used every tool in the Celebrate Recovery toolbox to help us navigate the unpredictable, tumultuous years. Two years before he died, he began using heroin, though we didn’t know it until the second year.
We knew and had been correctly advised not to try to “rescue” him when he wasn’t willing. For months he had stopped answering our calls and texts. Eventually, the Holy Spirit prompted us to go look for him at his last known address in another state. We found him as he was returning from begging on the streets. He was unrecognizable—filthy, in rags, and nearly dead from infected sores. My heart was blown to bits. Then, by the grace of God, our son’s heart shattered also, and he broke down in our arms.
He agreed to go to rehab that day for the first time ever. We were elated, though agonizing over his physical state. He did well in 45 days of rehab, then came home to our house, made amends, attended meetings, and happily went straight to the 2017 Celebrate Recovery Summit with us. But on day 85 of sobriety, he overdosed.
I’d heard that losing a child is the worst ever, but I didn’t know I could hurt so badly and still be alive. And hurt for so long without relief. Curtis’ death gave me a bigger picture of why God hates sin and separation so much. Nothing like his death has brought home to me the horrid reality of what the word “separation” means. It was instant, final, irretrievable. On earth, Curtis physically existed, and then he didn’t. Exist, Not Exist. It’s inconceivable.
Thousands of moments feel like God himself can’t touch the pain or bring enough comfort. Grief is debilitating and disorienting—kicking you around continuously in a surreal nightmare that won’t stop. The world feels disjointed and like you will never get back to equilibrium. Being carefree and light become foreign concepts. Instead, it feels like an anvil is on your chest and that your body won’t move because it is carrying 1,000 pounds in every cell. Brain fog, chest pains from a broken heart, inability to breathe, sluggishness, insomnia, depression are true physical manifestations of grief. Words can’t express how bad it feels. The emotional pains and spiritual struggles are worse. Healing is slow.
Never have I needed more to live out the first three steps of Celebrate Recovery. When death, suffering, and loss occur, my life is most decidedly unmanageable, and I am utterly powerless to deal with it all. To paraphrase Steps 1-3:
Step 1: I can’t!
Step 2: God CAN!
Step 3: I think I’ll let him!
In Step Three, I “turn my life and my will over to the care of God.” So often, moment by moment, I have to turn my pain, fears, questions, and future over to God’s care and let him “do for me what I cannot do for myself!”
This is extremely hard to do amid severe suffering. “Relief” of any kind seems woefully unsatisfactory. I needed my forever family to pray for me when I couldn’t pray. They asked God to help me when I could barely raise my head. They spoke Life and Truth over me when all I could do was cry.
Death and suffering are the worst of human experiences. The 12 Steps and the 8 scriptural Principles of Celebrate Recovery are tools we can use to get to the only cure—God himself—the Supreme cure and Hope and Help.
God neither caused nor wished the abject pain of Curtis’ death, but he has used it to draw me deeper and nearer to him. God’s love and Jesus’ salvation are EVERYTHING!
ETERNAL EXISTENCE—nothing else matters!
“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NIV)
“And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17 NIV)
Even on my worst days of sadness, anger, or despair, I know God is my Comfort and Hope.
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” (Psalm 119:50 NIV)
Because of God’s grace, Curtis woke up in the arms of Jesus and is now tasting the bliss of heaven. We, believers, have the same hope because of God’s great love. My favorite Scripture is on the family tombstone where one day I’ll be buried next to Curtis:
“He rescued me because he delighted in me.” (2 Samuel 22:20 NIV)
If you would like to learn how to start your own Celebrate Recovery ministry, to contact your Celebrate Recovery Rep, please visit: https://crgroups.info/. To get involved in an already existing Celebrate Recovery ministry near you, please visit: https://locator.crgroups.info/.