Humans can make a rule for anything. We want to make sure we get it right, so we create rules to monitor our every behavior. In the Victorian Era, mourning was dictated by rules of social decorum. Mourners were to remain in full black garb, including jewelry, then they could promote to grey, mauve, then white. The relationship dictated the period: widows, 2 years; loss of a parent/child, 1 year; down to first cousins, 4 weeks.
These silly guidelines for mourning say nothing to the heart. How do we know how long to grieve? Whether we’ve lost a loved one to death, a sweetheart to misunderstanding, or a friend who had to move away, the pain is intense and comes and goes as it pleases without consideration of the mourner. When the pain is fresh, it’s time to mourn. But as time moves on, we begin to realize that the world is still in motion and there’s life to be lived, and we find ourselves in an internal struggle – is it time to let go? Will there be harm done if we don’t cling to the loss?
Ending our mourning is not saying goodbye to the person or to their memory; it’s simply saying goodbye to the pain. If you’re currently grieving, let God reveal His nearness and rest in Him. Look forward to the end of the mourning, and get ready to dance in honor of the One who dries every tear.
(There is) a time to mourn, and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)