October 26, 2021

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More space for sadness – expression

Grief is natural because loss is inevitable. However, it can be difficult to face your own grief and the grief of others in good ways. As a pastor for twenty-five years, I have walked with many people in their grief. Now it is my sadness.

On June 4, I lost my beloved of nearly 35 years, a year later to cancer.

I chose to share something openly on Facebook, then was encouraged to write a statement here. I do so – with the hope of contributing to the conversation about how we can become better in the face of our own grief and that of others.

I think it is about, among other things, taking care of love. About giving each other more room to grieve. And about having faith – a view of life that bears in the face of life and death.

take care of love

Lars Christian and I spent a year knowing death was coming soon, but we didn’t know if it was months or years. It was very difficult. Unlike sudden and unexpected deaths, we had the opportunity to prepare and say goodbye.

It was a year where at the same time we wanted to pay attention to every minute we met, at the same time counting down and going beyond what lies ahead. Love and lose at the same time.

He documented his son Noah Gilfer, 19, last year with Lars Christian. Here, mom and dad dance for the last time to the tunes of Leonard Cohen. Image is from the photo gallery “Ta Tiden” in Høvikodden.

Photo: Noah Gilfer

We were 20 and 21 when we met. He proposed on the third date, so the road was set up as we went together. We were different in terms of beliefs and most interests. Ten bullets can heat up multiple times, and we didn’t always have much to talk about. But we learned a lot in the end.

Take care, guys. Don’t wait for the right person, but make the person you meet or already live with, the right person. if it is possible. This is not always the case.

We worship each other. Choose their matches. Make memories. calls. Take care of those around you who don’t have much.

The grass isn’t greener on the other side – it’s greener where it’s watered.

A bigger room to grieve in

On Saturday, the day after my beloved died, I went down and bathed in Tjuvholmen for a few hours while the children were out. I sat in the midst of a crowd of young, seemingly happy twenty-year-olds, and felt sudden joy over the sun and sea. But I wondered what people would think if someone read my Facebook status, knew Lars Christian was dead, and recognized me.

Do they think that I didn’t like him very much, or did I banish the sadness? If you feel it, as a professional mourner, what about all the other mourners? Traditions about grief are strong.

My experience is that many people visualize grief almost linearly. That you’re broken from day one – then there’s 100% of the time. Then she cries less and less, and it ends after three months. Because then life must go on.

Research and experience paint a different picture. Sorrows are different, and we grieve differently. Grief comes and goes – partly expected, partly unexpected – over weeks, months, and years. It takes hard work, and we take it in small portions if we can, until we can carry it around.

We need the people around us not to leave us alone or ask us to grieve over the book. We need others to be responsive and intrusive, show practical care, and allow us room to grieve as we need to. Maybe go down and swim on Tjuvholmen.

Sad work is demanding, but it may be less urgent if we have the courage and help us grieve in ways that benefit us. Let’s listen, ask, and give ourselves and others more space to grieve. It also means realizing that grief can be complex.

It is indescribably painful to lose a loved one; She loses her best friend and life partner. At the same time, I am fortunate to have experienced such love, and what I might call pure and uncomplicated grief. Many sorrows are more complex and lonely. For some, sadness brings relief, anger, shame, and loneliness.

And grief in a dead relationship, or after a breakup, flowers are not sent. But it hurts. Remember that.

faith holds

Throughout this year, I have once again felt the importance of having a faith that stands up to life as it is, and can provide safety, hope, and perspectives in the face of death and grief. I have felt so much good amidst all the unbelievable pain, and I do so now.

I believe that God’s love is stronger than death, and I place my beloved in God’s hands. I do not think that there is a meaning to everything, in principle not with this either. However, I still feel like life means enough, amidst all of this.

I have been able to rest in the Svein Ellingsen prayer that has been with me since my sister’s death when I was 16:

Although we do not answer why our hearts constantly tremble, we pray: Lord, give us faith. Believe in you who fight with us, full of love in close combat against the evil force of the world.

Introductory Image Sunniva Gylver
Photo: Noah Gilfer

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