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

 

 

In Christ Alone: Homegoing Hymns Remembered

We chose the songs for Dominic’s Homegoing Service with great care, knowing that we wanted to honor him and his life, lift high the Lord Jesus and give a clear preentation of the hope we have in Christ.

Today, I’m sharing them again.  

in christ alone old barn

“In Christ Alone” (Getty Music)

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

the wrath of god

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
and as he stands in victory

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
jesus commands my destiny
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Keep On Keeping On

The months roll by, the calendar pages turn, soon school will be back in session and you are still not here.

Sometimes I think I have figured out how to do these days that remain between now and when we will be together again.  

And sometimes I realize that I haven’t.

Today is one of those days.

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I miss you.

I love you.

 

 

I can’t round a corner without thinking of you and wishing this was not my life.

But it is.  

So I’ll keep on keeping on.  Just like you would want me to.

Just like you would do.

Even when it’s hard.  

And some days it is so very hard.

Astonished. Again.

For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often — will it be for always? — how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment”? The same leg is cut off time after time.
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

No matter how tightly I strap on my armor, grief sends arrows through the tiniest unprotected chink and pierces my heart.

Read the rest of this post here:  Not as Strong as I Look

 

Inseparable!

In the first days and months after Dominic left us I copied this verse dozens of times-in my journal, on notecards, on posterboard to plaster across the refrigerator and stick on mirrors and doorposts.

I had to remind my heart that even death could not separate my son from Him.  

That even the most wily schemes of the enemy could not rip me from the hand of my Savior and that even my own doubts or fears or questions were not stronger than God’s love through Christ to hem me in and keep me safe within the confines of His protection from eternal damnation.  

God’s Word is living and active.  

It is part of my inheritance in Christ Jesus and I can appropriate it for my own life.  When I am afraid and when I doubt, I try to repeat truth until my heart can hear it:   

“If God is for [Melanie and Dominic] who can be against us?

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for [Melanie and Dominic]—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give [Melanie and Dominic] all things?

33 Who will bring any charge against [Melanie and Dominic] whom God has chosen?

It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

35 Who shall separate [Melanie or Dominic] from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

37 No, in all these things [Melanie and Dominic] are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [Melanie or Dominic] from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8: 31b-35,37-39 NIV

nothing can separate1

A Thousand Ways to Miss Him

There are obvious stumbling blocks on this road of grief-birthdays, holidays, the anniversary of the day Dominic died. I can steel myself to face these dates as they ruthlessly approach.  I devise ingenious ways to pay less attention to these agonizing reminders that my son’s living presence is no longer part of Thanksgiving, Christmas and family celebrations.

I have removed all the wall-hanging calendars that used to be my favorite way to mark time and count the days until the next happy gathering. It’s a feeble defense.

But there is nothing that can stop the breath-sucking, heart-stopping sneak attacks of longing that creep up, unannounced with a fierceness that belies the ordinary object or word or action that precipitate them.

“How are your children doing?” someone asks.  I start with the oldest and count down-I have to skip Dominic and my heart stops-he’s still in heaven and I’m still here.

Facebook post noting his peer’s success.  I’m so proud of him or her, but reminded that Dominic’s opportunities to impact this world are buried with him.

Our table for six that will always have one chair empty.

The photos that remind me Dominic will never grow older.  I can never update his portrait.

His dusty mug hanging beneath the cabinets because it is unused for nearly eighteen months.

Cereal still on my pantry shelf-he was the only one that liked that kind.

Walking by Bath and Body Works and the smell reminding me of how he always got me the good handsoap for my birthday because I was too cheap to buy it for myself. I can’t go inside.

A dark head and squared shoulders-for a second-is that Dominic over there?  Hope rises to be dashed by reality.

Someone (who means well) asks, “How are you?”  I want to scream that I’m surviving, am still walking, standing, functioning but that really, how do you expect me to be?

I miss my son.  I miss my life before my family was torn asunder. I miss the confidence I once had in the Sunday School answers that I too often dished out to people walking hard paths. I miss the old me that wasn’t missing the old me.