A Day in the Life

If you get up every morning and go to work-I applaud you!

Most of my days start with work, but I don’t have to go farther than my own property to discharge my duties.

But today I had to get going extra early for a doctor’s appointment with a specialist about 50 miles away.  So I rushed through my morning chores, double-checked I had everything I needed and left home by 7:10.

I had to park in a parking garage-no easy feat when you drive a full-size pickup and the spaces are designed for mid-size cars.  The low roof, confined space and limited light make me feel trapped and uncomfortable.

Every time I have to fill out health paperwork there is always a question or two that makes me think of Dominic.  I shake off the beginnings of tears and wait to be called back.

My blood pressure is higher than it usually is and I’m a bit heavier than last time I was there-both things that make me feel like a failure and add to the voice in my head that says, “You aren’t good enough.  You are doing something wrong or this wouldn’t have happened to you.”  

My disease is progressing and although my doctor is kind, and patient, and fully aware of the fact that I’ve buried a child,  she broaches once again a treatment option that has more risk but potentially greater efficacy.

I’m just not ready to take the leap.

So my anxiety mounts as I think of both alternatives:  Submitting myself to a new treatment that may have grave consequences or giving in to the inevitable limitations that rheumatoid arthritis is imposing on my life.

She graciously puts off the decision for another three months but I know I won’t be in any better position to make it then either.  I’m paralyzed now when I have to decide these kinds of things-torn between “doing what’s best” and “what difference will it make?”

Bloodwork means waiting in a area next to the infusion clinic and hematology departments and I am surrounded by people that are in dire straits. Once more, between the waiting and the thinking, I’m ready to be out of there.

When I get back to my truck, what had looked like a pretty good place to park has become a nightmare.  Another truck beside me and two parked opposite have closed the space I should have had to get out to the bare minimum.  And someone is waiting for my spot.  

Oh, joy!

I try.

I really try to figure out how to get too much vehicle out of too little space.

Finally, in tears, I step out of my truck (now in what I think is an impossible position) and raise my hands in the air-I give up!  You win!

The kind man that was waiting steps out of his car and guides me backward and forward (4 turns!) until I am free from the awful predicament.  I thank him and keep going.

Before Dominic left us this day would have seemed like a tiny blip on the radar of life.  It certainly wouldn’t have brought me to tears.  

But the energy required to simply get up and get going in the wake of losing him means that I have so much less to spend on anything else.

I don’t suffer from anxiety.

I’m not depressed.  

But there are many moments throughout the day when I am anxious or sorrowful.

One minute I’m fine.  And then a series of events, phone calls or memories pile one atop the other until they become a load I can no longer bear.

It feels like I am always behind, always short on resources, always close to tears.

And no matter how hard I try, I am unable to simply “get better”.  No matter how much I organize or plan or work at it,  I always end up frazzled and frustrated and feeling like a failure.  

I wish it wasn’t like this-this added burden in addition to the missing and the sorrow. Maybe it’s part of the missing and the sorrow.  I don’t know.  

But I’m ready for a day, a single day, when I feel just a little bit victorious..

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

20 thoughts on “A Day in the Life”

  1. Boy, I can really identify with your trying daily experiences, anxious feelings, and ambivalent thoughts.

    I’m a school teacher. Even after almost 4 years since Claire went to Heaven, I consistently wake up to a darkness on my soul. I leave the house at 7:10 each morning and pray to God to fill me with energy, hope, and joy for my day with classroom children. Before I walk in the door, I feel empty and ambivalent, a little like I’m in a dream trying to accomplish something that’s elusive . Thankfully God has given me young children that light my heart up each day when I see them and they light up upon seeing me. He answers my prayer for strength, but I still have to pray for it every day. I take nothing for granted anymore….Before, I could bust out my days at work like a machine… teach, late days grading/prepping, meetings, exercise, errands…. Now every task is measured, contemplated, considered…

    I never suffered from claustrophobia before, but like your panic/anxiousness about the tight space in the parking garage, I can’t stand to be in small windowless spaces, like an exam room at the vet’s office.

    Yesterday I snipped unfairly at my husband and I apologized and added, “It just seems like I’m always running on empty .” The context was that I was at the very hospital Claire died at when I called him, in frustration as I was trying to unravel incorrect bills that the hospital had sent me for our oldest son who had attempted suicide, who is now incarcerated due to mental illness and drug use & crime…(Where did THIS life come from…?!) yes, we’re depleted…

    Like you said before, we have 1 foot in the world, and 1 foot in heaven. I vacillate between striving for purpose here on earth with my other remaining four children, and praying every day, “Come Lord Jesus come, please come, Lord Jesus come !”

    Thank you Melanie. Your stories are our stories. It helps to share the tumultuous journey with a few others. May we find some encouragement, peace, and strength today. 🕊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deirdre-oh, yes! I was never an anxious person before. I had moments of anxiety but not that generalized sense of impending doom and/or the intense need to be released from a room or a situation like I do now. Thank you for the encouragement. It is always my prayer that by sharing I help others know they are not alone. May the Lord continue to give you strength for each day and may He overwhelm your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

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  2. “Like” seems like such an inappropriate response to the heartache expressed above. I only hit that button because you have so effectively described my heart and mind and I imagine that of the average bereaved parent. The feelings of failure, self-condemnation, inadequacy, and paralysis – the frustration and anger and again the self-condemnation over the inability to “simply get better”. The deep desire to escape this pit of failure and find just a little bit of victory.

    I will say Melanie, that you and I and everyone one else, have a skewed perspective of ourselves and of what victorious living really means. We think victorious living means conquering our emotions and fears – eradicating “negative” emotions. But I wonder how God defines victorious living. Maybe His definition has more to do with the tenacity and determination to search His Word for understanding, to wrestle with Him and cling to what we know to be true in spite of how we feel. Maybe His definition includes feeling and venting and working through the pain of living in a fallen world than it does attempting to deny the pain or whitewash it into something that is palatable to those standing on the sidelines who so often hold unrealistic expectations for what faith in action looks like out of the blissful ignorance of inexperience.

    From my perspective, regardless of how you feel, (but not dismissing the value of your feelings), you are the epitome of living a victorious Christian life. You are standing firm, even if your knees are quaking. You are holding fast, even if your grip is sliding. You are steadfast in faith. You are educating those fortunate enough to be ignorant of the grief and devastation the loss of a child wrecks in the human heart.

    You may never “feel” as if you’ve walked through the shadow of the valley of death victoriously, but how you feel and how God sees you are probably vastly different. His view of you is truth. Your view of yourself is not. We are our own worst enemies! My grief counselor has worked diligently to help me view myself with “Radical Acceptance” – accepting myself without judgment. I have yet to figure out a way to actually practice radical acceptance, but I can extend that grace to others.

    You are not a failure! You are not inadequate! You are not doing something wrong and thereby causing problems for yourself! Instead you are exercising the full extent of your level of spiritual and emotional maturity and God is perfecting your faith in the process. That’s victorious living, Melanie. Your Savior is not disappointed in you – He’s proud of you!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I appreciate the insight and the encouragement. It’s funny that I can identify with your counselor’s wise advice to practice radical acceptance on yourself and equally with your ability to extend that to others yet NOT to yourself. I can see others’ victories but now my own. You give strength to my heart with your words. Thank you.

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  3. Melanie, your posts really speak to me; I so appreciate your honesty. You are a true follower of Jesus, but this all- encompassing grief is a daily thing to have to deal with. That’s exactly how I feel. Six years into this, I feel that I have learned and am learning to live with the loss much better, but there is that sorrow every day- some days a little, some days a lot, that never goes away. It’s debilitating- and some days I say to myself or to my husband : “I’m so tired of coping!” Then I screw up on something like I did yesterday- something that I shouldn’t have let happen, and I feel so down on myself. I can so relate to what you said! I am so very sorry that you are dealing with a serious physical condition, and I will keep you in my prayers. In the end, all we can do is to acknowledge to our Lord that His grace IS sufficient for all our needs, and for that I am so thankful!

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    1. Thank you so much Susan. It is very encouraging to know that others are praying and to be reminded that the LORD’s grace IS truly sufficient-even when it doesn’t feel that way. May He give you strength for each new day and fill your heart with His love,grace and mercy.

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  4. I don’t want to think about the second year being harder than the first. I’ve been struggling this way for nearly 2 decades, since an unwanted divorce and raising 2 boys as a single mom. I have heard it said that divorce is worse than death…I tend to agree. At least you know if your spouse dies while married to you they didn’t want to leave you so the rejection & abandonment wounds aren’t there. I get up every day for half hour commute to work. I hate it. I am tired before I get out of bed. My house that I used to keep organized & clean is always messy now, I have a hard time remembering & keeping up with business matters. Some days I manage to take care of an errand on the way home or take care of my grandson. His conception by my youngest son and his girlfriend last year shook me, but God is allowing him to be a source of comfort. I can’t help but smile when I see him but I’m sad that he will never get to know his uncle this side of heaven.

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    1. That’s really hard, Stacy. I’m so sorry. I think grief in all its forms is hard. Loss is loss. It changes us, changes how we interact with ourselves, with others and with our surroundings. I’m glad you have your grandson to brighten your days. May the Lord give you everything you need for each day and may He fill your heart wtih His love, grace and mercy.

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    2. Hi Stacy. You are doing well. You are functioning, breathing, praying, living even when you don’t want to do anything. Sending you Hugs and Prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you ladies. Melanie is right, loss is loss and all are hurt and changed by it. I don’t want to ever think or make others feel that I think my loss is worse than theirs. His grace is sufficient, even when I tell Him it’s not. Hugs & prayers to all who come here for comfort.

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      2. Stacy-I didn’t mean to imply that you were saying your loss was worse-I wanted to acknowledge that the pain of divorce is very, very real. Hugs to you too!

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  5. You are not alone. Only those who have been where we are can understand. Thank you for your true words and transparency. Your blog posts have been a huge help to my broken heart. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sandy. I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. May the Lord ovewhelm your heart with His love, mercy and grace and give you strength for each day.

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  6. Yes, Melanie. This is the new “normal”. I am still there four years later. The compassionate friends group that I attend told us that the second year would worse than the first. That was true for us. The third wasn’t any better. The fourth seems to leave me numb most of the time but I still very close to tears over things that should not bother me. Hugs. Thank you for the truthful posting. It’s okay to cry. Go cry.

    Liked by 1 person

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