Even that most awful first day I swallowed tears as I made phone calls and airline reservations and asked for help from those I knew would lend it.
But sometimes the weight of grief and life and stress and pain is simply too much to bear.
So falling apart is really the only option.
And that’s OK.
I can let go and let the tears flow.
I can hide under the covers or inside the house and not answer the phone.
I don’t have anything to prove.
Because I know the One who will hold me until I feel strong enough to pick up the pieces and carry on.
And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak,And your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you.
As hard as I may try to help those around me understand how very difficult it is to walk on in this life I didn’t choose, my efforts often go awry.
I forget to make a phone call, I assume some plans are in place, I mistake silence for assent, I’m unaware of secondary pressures or I simply underestimate pent up feelings waiting for an opportunity to be expressed and what I thought would be a regular encounter ends up being an uncomfortable or painful confrontation.
And I’m trapped. No where to go, no where to hide. Stuck in an unfruitful conversational circle.
No matter how carefully I listen, how cautiously I employ “I” statements and affirm another heart’s perspective, it isn’t enough. Because what they really need from me is something I can’t give: to make life like it was “before”.
But we both know that’s not possible. So I become the sacrificial punching bag-the person they pummel until the negative energy is spent.
I want to agree to disagree and lay down arms. I want to walk away, hang up the phone, run and hide.
Because if there were a way for me to relieve this built-up inner pressure (without hurting another heart) I’d do it too.
But there isn’t. So I take the licks.
I add that to my sack of “Things You Have To Endure Post Child Loss” and carry on.
When I first began writing in this space, “lament” had only just come into vogue.
Now, it’s everywhere.
If this year has taught hearts a single thing, I hope it has taught them there’s no use pretending life doesn’t hurt sometimes. We were not created to carry that kind of pain alone.
And thankfully, we don’t have to.
God, in Christ, invites me to speak it, to sing it, to release it as an exhale so His grace and strength can rush in to fill that empty space.
You’re invited too.
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday.
I loved everything about it: the color scheme, the food (I love, love, love to cook-it was never a burden), family and friends gathered around the table, and the wonderful slowness of the day as it lingered into nightfall.
It was more flexible than Christmas for including all sorts of folks who otherwise didn’t have someplace to go. Living near colleges meant that we welcomed students from around the world-we might have two or three dozen laughing faces milling about.
It was wonderful.
And I loved going around the circle, tummies bursting, to share what people were thankful for and why.
When Dominic left us everything changed.
Oh, I was (and still am) so very thankful for so very many things…
It has taken me a lot of time and a lot of energy to do the work grief requires. There’s no short-circuiting the process. No way to rush through the painful and necessary steps.
For years I struggled with why, “Just think about the memories” didn’t comfort my heart. I treasured them. I tried hard to hold onto them. But that wasn’t enough.
And then I realized that a mother’s heart is not prepared to go on without the company of her child. I never, ever expected that it would be ME reminiscing about Dominic. I was sure it would be HIM thinking about me.
I pull out the memories like treasures from a locked strongbox.
“Handle With Care” because they are all I have left.
But they are not enough.
They will never be enough to satisfy this mama’s heart.
We are supposed to have to remember our elders, our grandparents, even, maybe our spouse at some point-but not our children.