There’s a Hole in My Bucket

I bet most of you reading this have listened to more than one round of the kiddie tune, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza”.

It is a funny song full of silly remedies for patching a bucket that won’t hold water even though it’s been dipped in the well and filled to the brim.

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.

Good things still happen in our lives (our bucket is being filled) but losing Dominic has put a hole in the bottom of it (the bucket never gets full anymore).

It’s not that we don’t appreciate and enjoy happy moments.  We do.

We love seeing our children, we like to celebrate their accomplishments and sing, “Happy Birthday!”.

We are so very proud of who they are and what they have overcome.

We savor the time we get to spend together, we enjoy eating and laughing and sharing experiences.

But we can’t plug the leak of loss that saps our strength and reduces the fullness of our joy.

Hope postponed grieves the heart; but when a dream comes true, life is full and sweet.

Proverbs 13:12 VOICE

Lest anyone think I’ve forgotten that Jesus promises joy to those who follow Him, I haven’t.

But I also know many promises will not be completely realized until He returns as King on Earth.

lion-and-lamb-best-friends-fahad-photographer

 

The lion will lie down with the lamb, but not today.

Swords will be beaten into ploughshares, but not just yet.

 

There will be no more night, but the sun still sets once every 24 hours.

rev 22_5

I am looking forward to the moment when every single thing I now believe in faith will be plain to every eye.

I can’t wait to see the redemption of not only my pain, but ALL pain.

I long for the morning when JOY is all I will know.

In that day the New Jerusalem shall descend and there will be no need for the sun or moon, because the LORD Himself will be the light.

All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.

Ezekiel 48:35 NKJV

 

The Absence of His Presence is Everywhere

Something I’ve been learning in this grief journey is that loss is an ongoing event.

It’s not confined to the moment of death, the funeral, the burial or even the boxing up of belongings.  

I suffer loss every time there is a moment when Dominic would have been present, should have been present and isn’t here.

It happens when I need to ask him a question, get his opinion, long for his help or just want to hear his voice.   

It happens when I look at myself in the mirror and realize that the living mirror that was Dominic is gone.

There is so much more to his absence than just the hole in my heart.

I shared some of these feelings a few months ago:

A family isn’t just the sum of its parts.  It isn’t a simple equation that can be worked out on a chalkboard or around a dinner table-this person plus that person equals two persons.

A family is an organic mixture of personalities, relationships, strengths and weaknesses that exponentially influence one another. I always joked that our family was a ready-made committee.  Wherever we went we brought a fully staffed, action-ready army of six that spread out and triumphed over whatever challenge we faced.

You can read the rest here:  Minus More Than One

Choosing Brokenness

From the world’s perspective there are only two potential responses to trials-better or bitter.

I can either use the struggle to strengthen my resolve to take charge of my life or I can give up and give in, wallowing in self pity.  

If I embrace popular culture as my guide, the best outcome I can hope for is that I grow as a result of sorrow, pain, conflict, tragedy and hardship.

But Scripture tells me that there is a third option:  I can choose brokenness.  

I can choose to submit my heart and my life to God and His purpose.  

I can lie prostrate, unprotected, impotent and trust that the One Who made me will ultimately remake these shattered pieces of what’s left of my life into a masterpiece, declaring His faithfulness and goodness.

“But enduring deep pain and unchangeable circumstances requires continued commitment to face the fork in the road over and over, and to choose well each time.”

It is A Daily Struggle

 

Some Days, Getting Out of Bed is Courageous

We walk past them every Sunday.  

Those people who almost didn’t come to church.  The ones who spent thirty minutes just talking themselves into getting out of bed.

And we never know.

Life is hard.  Suffering abounds.  

Since losing Dominic I have become ever more aware of how very many people are hurting. And how very many people are truly brave.  Every. single. day.

It’s one thing to act in an instant-when adrenaline rushes through your veins and pumps extraordinary strength to your muscles and grants clarity to your mind to gather all your nerve and power to jump in and DO SOMETHING.

It is quite another when, without aid of chemical courage, you wake each day to a long list of “to do” items knowing all the while you will be dragging the heavy weight of grief and sorrow everywhere you go.

Read the rest here:  Brave

 

Then and Now: God’s Grace in Grief

I’ve kept a spiritual journal for decades.  Every now and then I like to gather the pages, look back and reflect.

My journaling intensified after Dominic’s accident.  

Writing out my thoughts, questions, pain and sorrow was one way to process the grief.  I copied quotes and scripture.  I prayed prayers and screamed, “WHY???”.  I tried to document the moments when I felt God close and when I felt He was far away.

As I filled each notebook, I added the dates it covered and tucked it away.  I wasn’t sure when I would be able to look at those painful pages again.

A couple months ago I brought the pile of journals and set them by my chair.  A couple weeks after that, I started reading them.

Some of the entries are still too painful to read.

Some of the events too personal to share.

But over the next few days I’m going to offer a peek into the first hard days after loss.

The days when breathing is a chore, when it still seems like a bad dream, when part of my heart was certain Dominic would walk through the door once again even after I had seen his body lowered into the ground.

My prayer in sharing is this:  that those who read know that God did not abandon me in despair; that it is possible to survive the seemingly unbearable loss of a child; that God does not despise our honest lament; and that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19).

April 12, 2014 (The day of the accident)

The LORD gives and the LORD takes away:  Blessed be the Name of the LORD.  May my soul find rest in Thee alone.  May my eyes look only to Thy Face.  May my heart’s peace be the Prince of Peace.  “Dominic”-belonging to God-You gave him to me and he is Yours once again.  Marana Tha-Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

 

 

A Different Me

I’m not the same me  I was two years ago.

I no longer look with confidence down the driveway as friends and family pull away, certain that we will see one another soon.

I whisper, “Be safe” when we part, but know that they are not the keeper of their days and that “being safe” doesn’t mean everyone escapes deadly peril.

I don’t have the luxury of emotional distance when I read the newspaper anymore.

I can’t watch the text scroll by on CNN or FoxNews and allow my eyes and heart to glaze over as numbers representing lives flash by.

Burying my son has tenderized me.

My mind drifts effortlessly and immediately to the ones left behind any time there is mention of a murder or a suicide or an accident.

And my spirit rejoices  when a heroic rescue uncovers someone buried in the rubble or a passerby stops to help a person who otherwise faced certain doom.  Second chances make me cry happy tears.

I have higher tolerance for the failures of others and lower tolerance for hatefulness and unkindness.

Maybe I’m just tired, but I find it easier to extend grace than to fuel anger.

I don’t care what latest or greatest movie, TV show, fashion fad or IPhone App has just been released-ads for a better, bigger, newer anything don’t entice me.

Don’t try to draw me into drama or worry or hand-wringing over politics or social media or foolish disputes.  There is no part of my heart with room for that.

I will exhaust myself loving others but not on loving things.

I’m a pilgrim and a stranger on this earth. I’m walking a path in a foreign land, looking forward to my heavenly home.  

By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.

Hebrews 11:8-10 MSG

 

 

 

 

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