My Name is Milo, and I Don't Know How to Grieve

Posted by Milo Wilson On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4 comments
Today is January 24th. Two years ago, January 24th 2010 was on a Sunday. I led worship at Ridgeview Church, and Erin and my girls were all with me for only the 3rd time in almost a year. You see, my son Josiah was on a hospital bed in the Pediatric Cardiology ICU in Charleston, SC which was 220 miles away. That morning, while I was leading a worship song by David Crowder entitled "You Make Everything Glorious," our medical family of professionals performed CPR on our son for nearly an hour before finally conceding that Jesus had taken him home.

Erin and I received the news via telephone minutes after the church service at Ridgeview concluded. After collapsing on the ground together in a tidal wave of emotions, we began the 200 mile drive, most of which we spent in silence. I found myself quiet and emotionless inside. Now what were we supposed to do?

Two years have passed, and I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to do. There are times I am brought to tears, but I still feel a strong emotional tug far less than I would prefer. Grief is a very strange emotion. It takes on forms of anger, depression, intense sorrow, and at times intense joy. I remember feeling a similar way when my grandfather passed away. However, I experienced my father to have a new soft part on his heart. Tears flowed often. First about grandpa, then about graduation ceremonies monumental childhood achievements, and now tears fly at the drop of a hat. This has not been my experience however. I still feel at a loss for what to do. Erin and I experience grief totally differently. How could we manage this together?  In the first few months after Josiah's passing, Erin and I committed to each other to read the entire Bible through in 90 days. We felt that if nothing else, this should be a place to start looking for answers to all the questions spinning around us. She and I loved that season of life. Pouring over such large amount of scriptures gave us a new big picture prospective on God's Word.

The months that followed were very sweet for us. God had unmistakeably directed us to move back to our home region of Buffalo, NY after almost 10 years in SC. He made it so very obvious that we have to have been blind and deaf spiritually to miss all the cues He was giving us. Through this process we became part of the core team and pastoral staff of which has been a ride of a lifetime, experiencing a Creator God, and how he interacts with his human creation.

Yet, while all of this continues to happen, and joyful experiences surround us on every side, grief continues. And I don't know how to grieve. I've learned that Erin and I don't grieve in the same manner, and that she and I grieve very differently from other people who have experienced loss in this way. Fact is, nobody knows what to do. People don't know what questions to ask. I don't know how to express myself. New friends don't know what we've been through. I can't decide whether to tell them every detail, or just the "highlights."

Part of what we have been experiencing at theWELL has been wrapped up in a massive commitment by our church and our staff to be intentional about building relationships, and sharing our building space with people in recovery. Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Over-eaters, and so on recovering from their addictions and the damage it has done to their lives. We have learned that this community has a far better understanding of what it means to be real, genuine, and honest about who they are then our typical American churches have been. They know what rock bottom looks like, and know they need help. Through the process of understanding this, we have also come to grips with the fact that every human has hurts, habits, and hangups that are at the end of the day: unmanageable. For some it is alcohol, others adultery, and others pornography. But to some its anger, bitterness, or complacency.

My name is Milo, and I don't know how to grieve. I know at the end of the day, this is a hangup that is not in my own power to remedy. I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus has the power to heal our wounds, and that he is doing so a little each day.

Lamentations 3
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

4 comments to My Name is Milo, and I Don't Know How to Grieve

  1. says:

    Anonymous Thanks for posting this, Milo. I resonate with much of it. I am grateful that our journey with Jesus has surrounded us with some amazing people who love Him--including those that are very articulate and thoughtful thanks to my time in seminary. They've certainly brought comfort to us in our HLHS journey, but there's a specific encouragement that's come from being around the addict community--the ability to be truthful, honest and accept the irreconcilable things in life. Over the last five years, I've watched people at their most broken stages, with no hope and no idea how they're going to make it. The most they can summon is the decision to just do today (and sometimes only this because of the community that goads them to do so). Tomorrow's scary. Next week is unknown. Next year is unthinkable. So let's just get up and do today. I see it as such grace from God that He placed us in this community as we stumble through HLHS--because many times, the only decision we can make is just to do today as best we can.

    Though we speak the same language, our journeys are different so perhaps my feedback is way off base, but I just didn't want to let a thoughtful post like yours pass by without any response. Thanks for sharing.

    Peace to you and yours.

    Rolf (Rudy's Dad)

  1. says:

    Stephanie, Daughter of the Risen King Milo,
    Thanks again for your transparency.

    I don't have the answer. We can't heal ourselves, we know that. But often I wonder if we have what it takes to allow God to heal us, will our human nature allow it until we see His face? Can we allow God to heal us before we dance before Him?

    We all know that He uses all things for good. And we know that He says in Matthew 5:
    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
    5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
    6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
    7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
    8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
    9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
    and that He says:
    Matthew 11:29
    Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

    I am still not sure though that our human nature would not prevent us from allowing God to heal a would of this magnitude and there is certainly no check list for grieving.

    What I do know is what your Josiah taught me to LOVE others because God revealed to my cold calloused heart that everyone has struggles, a story, a loss of a loved one, the loss of a child, the loss of hope. Every person suffers and needs the hope in Christ Jesus. Love is different for me now. It is defined. I see it in the face of Josiah in the respiratory therapy videos. I love those giggly videos! God has allowed me to love and to forgive others and he used your child in my life for this purpose.

    The good that God used Josiah for in my life changes the lives of every one around me.

    I don't know how to grieve. But I know to live, love, and build up others by letting them know that God used their story and their child to save my life.

    Who would I be if I could not keep the greatest commandment?

    Maybe the key to grieving is to share your story at every turn. It will enable you to draw closer to others and reach more people with His love because you have shared your most painful event with them.
    Be well my Brother.
    Blessings to you and your family, rich, abundant God sized blessings.

  1. says:

    Rochelle Judd My heart goes out to you Milo. Your family is amazing and I hate that Josiah is no longer with us. Healing takes time; more time than one can imagine when they are going through the greiving process. Therapy may sound silly but is quite effective. When you pray at night talk to him and let him know how you feel. You will never forget everything that happened; nor do you want to. This experience makes you humble and appreciative.

    Time heals all wounds, trust in God to lead you in the right direction, and celebrate what Josiah brought to your life.

  1. says:

    Mike Skiff I hear you brother... SO excited to see the latest addition to your family. Congrats!!

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