Repost: Sacred Spaces

I wrote this last year because I realized that even three years (now it is four) after my son’s sudden departure, I was absolutely unwilling to wipe away the evidence that he had once been here.

I could not (cannot) bring myself to put his cup in the cupboard or in a shadow box or on a high shelf like a museum piece testifying to a long ago personality that is interesting but hardly pertinent today.

Because Dominic is STILL part of my life.  Every. single. moment.

Just like my living children, his heart beats inside of mine.

Always.

That place where you hung your jacket, tossed your shoes, left your backpack-it’s still here.

Foolish, really, to hold space for someone who will never need it again.

But it belongs to YOU and leaving it bare means that it is still yours.

And it is- Still. Yours.

Read the rest here:  Sacred Spaces

Repost: Grieving With Hope

The church at Thessalonica was confused about some fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.  They were frightened that they had missed Christ’s second coming and they were concerned about loved ones that had preceded them in death.  So Paul wrote this letter to remind them of truth and offer comfort in their emotional distress:

And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.  I Thessalonians 4:13-14 MSG

This verse is quoted often to believers who have lost a loved one.  At first, gently, sweetly–as an invitation to remember that God is in control, that He has a plan, that the grave is not victorious and that burying the body is not the end.

And, in the early days and weeks after the funeral, it IS comforting–I chanted it to myself like a mantra and it drew my heart from the brink of despair.

But at some point, this verse begins to feel like a rebuke–the well-meaning friend says, “Don’t you know, that Jesus followers don’t grieve like those who have no hope!”

And I turn, dumbfounded, to the person saying this, and wonder, “Have you buried a child?”

Read the rest here:  Grieving With Hope

The Reality of Ongoing Grief in Child Loss

 

One of the most difficult things to explain to anyone who has not buried a child is this:  I didn’t just lose Dominic ONCE, I continue to lose him.

dom looking up with camera

I lose him every single time there is a moment when he SHOULD be here but isn’t.

I lose him when his friends graduate, get married and have children.

I lose him again on Christmas morning when HIS face isn’t around the breakfast table and HIS name isn’t on the presents around the tree.

I lose him when I need to call and ask a question about my computer or need his opinion when trying to make a decision.

I lose him when everyone else is making their way home for the holidays or a birthday or just a visit-his car never rolls up the lane, his smiling face never emerges, his arms never reach out to wrap me in a bear hug.

I lose him when his siblings line up for photos-the space where he SHOULD be but ISN’T looms large.

photo-36

I will never know the joy of standing at his wedding.

I will never be able to congratulate him on his first court victory.

I will never see his children

I won’t have his companionship in my old age.

He is gone-out of reach.

Untouchable.

Lost.

 

i will always wonder what you would have been

The Loudest Silence

I’ve been away from home for eleven days now.  For a homebody, that feels like forever.

Most of those days I’ve been surrounded by unfamiliar people and lots and lots of noise.

But in the midst of all that activity and sound, there has remained a quiet spot deep in my spirit that holds space for Dominic.

No matter how frantic, how deafening or how crowded things get, his absence is the loudest silence I hear.  

days when your absence is the loudest silence ive ever heard

I Don’t Cry Every Day Anymore

I’ve never really been much for lots of tears.  

Most of my crying before Dominic ran ahead to heaven consisted of silent tears slipping down my cheeks and onto my chin. Every now and then I would have a good, old-fashioned sob.

But between April 12,2014 and that October or November, I cried every day.  I cried so much I thought surely I would run out of tears.  I cried so much I needed to drink more water to remain hydrated.  

Then it stopped.  

The ache settled deeper into my bones and tears no longer came as an easy outlet for the pain I was feeling.

I still cried a few times a week, but not as long or as loud as those first months.  I could tell (most of the time) what had triggered the tears-a photo, a song, an item his hands had touched, a memory or even a whiff of someone who wore the same cologne walking past in a crowd.

Then THAT stopped.

just because no tears doesnt mean heart doesnt hurt

I got so good at stuffing the immediate emotional response I hardly ever cried anymore.

Except that sometimes-random moments-the heavy lid I keep screwed down tight on all those feelings comes undone.  And I am helpless as the sorrow, missing and horror of child loss creeps up my spine, raises my heart rate and settles as a silent scream at the back of my throat.  

A sob escapes.  The tears flow.  Usually I’m done for that day-left a quivering mass of emotional jello, unable to pack it all up and get on with things.

And that’s OK.

I don’t cry every day anymore, but when I do, it’s a necessary and important part of the healing process.  

I won’t apologize for my tears.  

grief-is-loves-souvenir

 

 

No Words

Some days there are just no words for this journey.

Sometimes I can only feel what I feel

and do what I do

and cry when I cry.

Today is like that.

I cannot wrap my mind around the FACT that my son is dead.

Am I somehow defective because I can’t?

Can any parent do that?

I know it’s true-I’m not in denial.

But knowing something is true and embracing it as true are two different things.  I am forced to walk in the world but not always forced to confront Dominic’s absence.

He could just be on a trip, or away at school, or out of cell phone range. It’s funny the tricks your mind will play to placate your heart.

But this morning when the light pushed back against the darkness my mind refused to continue the charade.

In a moment of clarity, the sword of truth penetrated my soul.

And here I am, naked and bleeding clinging to the fact that I am mother to a dead son.

Nowhere to hide.  No way to escape.

No words.

sound of my heart from the inside

 

New Eyes for an Old Story

I’ve studied it many times over a lifetime-beginning with fun “coat of many colors” crafts in preschool and ending with an emphasis on remaining faithful in trials.

Joseph’s story is typically told from his point of view.  

But I’ve never considered it from Jacob’s perspective.  Until now.

Because on Jacob’s side of the door, Joseph was gone, gone, gone-beyond reach, out of sight,  nowhere to be found.

All the while Joseph was very much alive, God was working and Joseph would (ultimately) flourish and Jacob would (ultimately) be reunited with his son.

There was no way for Jacob to know this so, of course, he was heartbroken:

Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.  Genesis 37:34-35

Jacob’s grief was real.  His loss was devastating.  His heart was shattered and there was no substitute for the son he was missing.

I understand that now.

I glossed over these verses in the past-rushing to the “happy ending” promised a few chapters later.

But Jacob didn’t have that option.

He was living these years-one day after another, one foot in front of another, one sunrise, one sunset-never knowing he was making his way toward reunion with a living son.

I share Jacob’s heartbreak.  

My son is out of reach, out of sight, unavailable to my arms and eyes.

But I have something Jacob didn’t have-I know the end of the story.  I have the Bible and it’s promise that this life is not all there is, that while this body dies, the soul lives on eternally.

And for those who choose Jesus, the soul lives for ever and ever with Him.  

Hallelujah!

While I too, mourn deeply for Dominic, there IS comfort.

I cannot ignore the pain of separation, but I will hold steadfast to the promise of reunion. I cry for what has been lost, but cry out for faith to cling to what will ever be.

This earthly journey is dark, but there is assurance that light will triumph.  

john-1-5