Broken Hearts Still Beat

When Dominic was born by c-section, they placed the epidural too high and I was unable to feel my chest rise and fall as I continued to breathe.  It was a frightening experience.  But I WANTED to keep breathing-because I wanted to touch this new life coming into the world and into our family.

When the sheriff came to tell us that Dominic had been killed, I was sure that I wasn’t breathing and my heart stopped beating. I wanted to escape the pain that filled my heart, my soul, my bones.

I think most bereaved mothers will tell you they have absolutely NO IDEA how their bodies continue to live and carry this heavy burden.  We do it for those still here and because having felt the pain of being left behind, our mama hearts want to spare the ones we love as long as we can. But rest assured, it is a daily struggle to decide that we will go on.

I’m not breathing.
They assure me that I am.
My heartbeat thumps the truth for all to hear.
A welcome wail ushers his life into the spotlight of this wide world.
I’m not breathing.
They assure me that I am.
My lungs draw air against my will and my better judgment.
An anguished cry marks the end of his earthly life.
I am breathing.
My body refusing to keep pace with my broken heart.

november 7, 2014

The Good, the Hard and the Ugly

Sundays are both good and hard…good because I am with other people who believe that this life is not all there is and hard because to many of them it is still only a belief, not the lifeline they cling to for the next breath, the next heartbeat and the next step.

I’m thankful that in our country, relatively few parents bury children, but burying mine has put an invisible wall between those that can quote “all things work together for good” because they found a parking place close to the store in the rain, and me-who will have to wait until I reach heaven to see the ultimate good of my son’s untimely death.

The ugly truth is that while I wait in hope and with faith, I want my son back.  I want my family restored.  I long to see all four of my children once again around the table-laughing, fussing and sharing life together.

I trust in the Lord’s promise of redemption and restoration.

But the valley I walk in the meantime is hard and lonely.  His Word sheds light on my path but does not fully dispel the inky darkness of grief and pain.  I walk in half-lit places, stumbling on, clinging to Him.  I long for the sunshine of heaven.

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

John 6:68

A Single Candle

 

Death is surrounded by ritual and sharing.

Friends pour in and bring food, church members call and drop by, cards arrive in the mail to express sympathy and solidarity.  We compose and publish an obituary.  We choose the songs for a funeral.  We stand and greet the mourners who file by the casket, shaking hands and heads and sharing stories and sorrows.  Together we lower the casket and eat a meal.

So much activity.

So many people.

But then you go home.  To the empty room.  To the empty heart.

Funerals are public, but grief is solitary.

The comfort offered by others sheds light on my path, but in the darkness of night it’s only the light of a single candle that helps me find the way toward sunrise.

When Jesus prayed in the Garden, He asked His disciples to keep watch with Him but hey fell asleep.  He struggled alone to embrace and accept the will of His Father.

I think often of His pain and find it easy to understand that He sweat blood.  

The light that gave Him courage to face the grim task before Him was the promise of the unfailing love of the Father and the trustworthy character of His God.

It was the only hope for victory out of seeming defeat.

Sometimes I struggle to find courage to face the task of grieving my son for a lifetime.  I cling to the promise of God’s unfailing love.  I trust that He will redeem and bring victory.

This is the Light I cling to in the inky black of sleepless nights:

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.”  ~ Revelation 21:4