Repost: There’s a Hole in my Bucket

 

I was talking to my husband the other day about how hard it is to describe the ongoing difficulty of living with child loss.

And this song popped into my head….

There’s a Hole in My Bucket

Grace for Right Now

It’s funny-or maybe not-that God will weave a theme through a day or week or month.  

He will put the same word in front of me in multiple places, speak it through different people, sometimes even (literally) plaster it across a billboard.

This morning it is grace.

Abundant, sufficient, enduring grace.

A precious friend is approaching her son’s first birthday in heaven.  She writes about it here .  In her post she says, “At one time I believed in the Doctrines of Grace…now I am certain.  Because in my own strength, my own thoughts, my own power, I would have walked away.” 

Yes!  That’s it!  In my own strength I would have walked away.  The pain and sorrow and isolation and horror of burying my child would have driven me from the Presence of Christ.  

But His grace keeps me near.

Another mama lamented that she did not know how she would survive missing her son. She’s fresh in her grief-not yet a year has passed since she said “good-bye”.

Oh, how I remember those early months!  How it was a genuine struggle to simply get out of bed and face a new day knowing it was another 24 hours without the earthly companionship of my son.

I thought about how I was able to keep going and wrote this reply:

“I am so very sorry you are feeling overwhelmed and hopeless right now. After the sharp stab of loss, I think helplessness is the most frightening thing I have felt in this journey.

When I am overcome with the sense that I will never make it, that I can’t go on, that I am not going to be able to put one foot in front of the other for even one more hour, much less one more day-I cry out to Jesus and tell Him that.

I have never gotten an audible answer, or a miraculous phone call or a perfect note in the mail-BUT I think in the moment of absolute surrender, the moment when I know with certainty that I can not do this without His supernatural grace, mercy and strength, HE gives it to me.

Nothing changes.

I’m not whisked away to an island where things are better or different-my son is still gone-my heart still hurts, my mind cries out that I want him back.

But I receive the grace I need for that moment and I do take the next step.

After being the kind of person that always had a plan, a list, an idea of next week, next month-I’m now a person who lives right now.

That’s the only way I can make it.

Enough grace for right now.

Praying that the Lord overwhelms you with His love, grace and mercy and fills your heart with His hope when yours is gone.”

Immediately this verse of “Amazing Grace” came to mind:

brought-me-safe

 

And then Ephesians 2:

But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved—and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens. Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.

Ephesians 2:4-10 Phillips

It’s grace-start to finish.  

So when I struggle to find my way, fear that I will lose it forever, question that a WAY even exists-

God in His

abundant,

sufficient,

and enduring grace,

draws my heart back to Himself.  

 

 

Confluence

Like most parents who have buried a child, a line is drawn through my life.

April 12, 2014 changed everything.

Whenever I hear a date or a memory drifts across my mind, I think, “that was so many days, months or years BEFORE or AFTER Dominic left us”.  I can plot events on a calendar like I’m making a history timeline.

Put this one here and that one there. It seems so simple and straightforward 

But daily life is much more complex.  

I live in a world where “before” and “after” run together in a mighty torrent.  And I can’t control the way they mix and churn.

river-rapids

These past few days I’ve been pet sitting for my eldest son, James Michael,  and my daughter-in-law while both are out of town for work training.

They just moved from North Carolina to Florida and are still unpacking.

packing-boxes

So while I’m here I’ve been helping to put things away and clear the boxes.  I decided that working in the office was a good place to start-I figured I couldn’t do much damage by putting books on shelves and pens in cups.

None of these things belonged to Dominic.

But as I opened the boxes I was flooded with memories.  

I found a scrapbook my daughter made for JM’s high school graduation-filled with photos of my three boys-years upon years of adventures, goofy faces, travel and achievement.

Another box held my son’s old Bible with a couple of church bulletins tucked inside.  I was tossed back to the time when we all sat in the same pew, strong voices blending in worship, hands together in service-when I could not have imagined we would be one less-I only dreamed then of adding to the family, not taking away.

There was the graduation program from Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine.

james-michael-grad-auburn

Just weeks after burying Dominic we were celebrating the culmination of four years’ hard work.  It was supposed to be a rip-roaring party, but it was a quiet dinner instead.  

And then onto the mementos marking James Michael’s transitions since then:  from single to married; from sheriff’s deputy to Air Force captain; from West Virginia to North Carolina to Florida.

All important events that were missing Dominic.

Celebrations and achievements that were a bit smaller because we are fewer.

Even as nostalgia swept over me, excitement also filled my heart because James Michael and his wife were beginning a new chapter.

I was happy to be helpful.  

Encouraged that I could be of use in this season where many times I feel useless.

And I thought about rivers-rivers of time, of memories, of experience and of dreams.

Confluence:   a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point, especially of two rivers of equal strength.

This is where I find myself right now-swimming, drifting, sometimes drowning in the rivers

of “what was”

and “what is yet to be”

as they join in the “right now”.

 

 

 

Feelings; The Bane of my Existence — Boxx Banter

From my friend and fellow bereaved mother, Janet Boxx.

Choosing to go THROUGH grief is frightening, and hard, and takes so very much work, energy and commitment. 

I, too, would often rather think about my grief experience than feel it.  But it is the only hope for healing.

“How do you feel about that?”, Ruth, my grief counselor asked. Tears filled my eyes and choked my throat as I desperately tried to prevent them from falling, to prevent a sob from escaping, while my mind grappled for words to define my feelings. For such a wordy person I find it ironic how completely […]

via Feelings; The Bane of my Existence — Boxx Banter

Subtitles

My husband is the child of immigrants.  And even thirty years after coming to America, my in-laws preferred their native Italian to English.

italian-village

So when we would be in a crowded room, comments flying, I struggled to keep up with what was being said because I didn’t speak the same language.

As the years went by and our relationship deepened, I realized they had the same struggle when I would try to communicate complex truth in English.  It wasn’t their heart language and some things just didn’t translate well.

Sometimes feelings got hurt because what one of us thought we were saying was not what the other person heard.

Subtitles would have been useful.

The other day in an attempt to keep my unwell body in a chair, I pulled up Amazon and picked a movie.  It was in French with subtitles.

I thought, “I’ll try it.”

But as the movie went on, I realized that I was unable to give full attention to either the action of the movie or the subtitles that interpreted the dialogue.

It took way more effort than I was willing to commit to what was supposed to be a relaxing couple of hours.

So I turned it off.

Today someone in a bereaved parents group to which I belong asked if anyone else found holidays exhausting.

The comments were a resounding “yes”!

The more I thought about it the more I realized that a big part of what makes it so exhausting is a communication gap.

1538R-61348

I am not the same as I was before burying a child.  

My family is not the same.  

Nothing is the same.

Some of the “not the same” is the gap between my understanding of how I have changed and the lack of understanding by others about how I have changed.

Many friends, extended family members and acquaintances continue to relate to me as if I’m the “old” me. That creates tension and requires energy to deal with-I either have to overlook it, try to help them understand or figure out how to deal with it some other way.

We’re just not speaking the same language anymore.

Sometimes I think subtitles would be helpful.

But even then it would still be exhausting.   

 

 

 

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