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

 

He Knows My Sorrow

There are many days when I cannot talk myself out of sorrow.  Moments when I can’t distract my heart from the pain of missing Dominic.

So I don’t try.

Instead I remind myself of the fact that I serve a Suffering Savior.

I follow a Gentle Shepherd.  I can trust a Compassionate Father.

I turn to God’s Word to encourage my heart.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 MSG

Jesus knows my suffering.  He understands my pain.  

Yet it was our suffering he carried, our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness. We just figured that God had rejected him, that God was the reason he hurt so badly.

Isaiah 53:4 VOICE

isaiah-543

God has promised blessing to mourners, He has promised comfort to hurting hearts.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 NIV

psalm-147-3

The LORD will heal my heart-if not here, then in Heaven. 

He is the healer of the brokenhearted. He is the one who bandages their wounds.

Psalm 147:3 GW

God will comfort me so that I can comfort others. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble

2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Jesus will not abandon me in my despair.  He will uphold me when my own strength is gone.  

Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.

Isaiah 41:10 CEV

no one can snatch them

My Shepherd is right here with me. He will not leave me alone.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

Psalm 23:4 NKJV

My son is not dead.  He is alive with Christ.  And he will be raised in the final day.

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

death-swallowed

Death has been swallowed up in victory.

The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. … So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’

1 Corinthians 15:52,54 NKJV

Every single thing the enemy has stolen, killed or destroyed will be redeemed and restored.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away

Revelations 21:4 NKJV

rev 21_4.jpg

 

Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Can’t Heal

Another mama who carries the burden of child loss posted a music video on her Facebook wall and it melted me.  

Because when you wake every day to the reality that your beloved child is out of reach you begin to wonder sometimes if there is a sorrow so deep it can never be healed.  

So I listened-over and over-as David Crowder sang truth to my soul: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.” 

come-as-you-are

You don’t have to lose a child to feel overwhelmed with the burdens of this life.  

You don’t have to look death in the face to feel death in your bones.

I wish I knew how to embed videos in my posts, but I don’t so here’s the link:  Crowder “Come As You Are”

Listen and let hope fill your soul.

This life is hard.  No denying the truth.  But hold on.

What we see is not all there is.

Come as You Are 

Come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted, let rescue begin
Come find your mercy, oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal

So Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home, you’re not too far
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless and all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table, come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary, rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t cure.

wanderer-come-home

 

The Cup of Sorrow

See, here’s the thing: to the outside world, my son’s death happened at a single point in time.

But to me, his death is a continuous event.

I must lift the cup of sorrow every day to parched lips.  I must choose to take it to the One Who can help me lift it.

Jesus knows this cup.

He knows my pain:  My Cup Overflows

 

Retreat

As a kid our family made a yearly pilgrimage to the Gulf Coast-back when the beaches were wide open vistas, the water see-through green and the days long and unhurried.

We didn’t spend money on the “attractions” or tourist trap souvenir shops-we got up early to watch the sun rise and spent the remainder of the day back and forth between the beach and the water.

I loved to find a spot that was about waist deep and feel the waves move across my body-up and down, up and down-floating in rhythm to the world’s heartbeat.

But every so often a wave would surprise me, crash over my head unannounced and break the cycle of gentle rocking with a sputter-inducing plunge beneath the salty sea.

As long as the giant waves were few and far between, I could recover, regather my sense of well-being and continue to enjoy the water.

But when the first wave marked a change in the tide or an incoming storm and was followed by more and more of the same, I knew it was time to move toward shore.

I could withstand one or two of these but if there was no chance to catch my breath in between I was going under.

This past week has been a deluge of waves.

Waves of grief,

waves of regret,

waves of disappointment,

waves of discouagement.

No storm clouds on the horizon.  No major life events or grief anniversaries-just a turning of the tide.

And so I find myself retreating a bit.

Backtracking from progress I thought I had made. Retracing steps and repeating cycles I though I had left behind.

I suspect that most of us have weeks like this.

You don’t have to bury a child to beg Jesus to make things whole again-to bring hope to your heart again-to ask Him to calm the storm and save you from destruction.

Ebb and flow.  Waves and calm.  Storms and sunshine.  Life is made up of all of these.

I am confident that Jesus is the Peace-speaker.  He can calm the wind and the waves.

I want to have faith.  I want to learn to call out in trust and not doubt.

I’m working on that and waiting for His Spirit to work on it in me.

But as I wait, I’m going to have to sit on shore for awhile.

 

 

 

Please-Just. Listen.

It’s hard-it’s hard to stay the words that come unbidden to mind and threaten to fly out of your mouth.

It takes restraint.  And patience.  And wisdom.

But when I finally open my locked box of hurt and pain and memories and heartache-please, please-just listen.

I know better than you that nothing anyone says, or does or hopes to do can change the facts.

Dominic’s not here-he’s there.

And I also know that makes you feel helpless.  I feel helpless too.

I’m not looking for pity.  I don’t want attention.  I have no desire to make you sad.

I have to let it out or I’ll burst.  If others saw the fullness of emotions brimming in my heart they would stand amazed that I could push them down and keep them inside so much of the time.

But speaking my sorrow is empowering.  

It provides a witness.  It means that he matters, that I matter and that this awful reality is recognized by someone other than just me.

When you shut me down or shut me out I. am. crushed.

Again.

In the end, you can walk away.  You have another life to go back to.  My pain is tangential to the reality of your every day.

It is central to mine.

So, please-encourage my heart with compassionate presence and just listen.

presence best gift

 

 

 

A Day in the Life

If you get up every morning and go to work-I applaud you!

Most of my days start with work, but I don’t have to go farther than my own property to discharge my duties.

But today I had to get going extra early for a doctor’s appointment with a specialist about 50 miles away.  So I rushed through my morning chores, double-checked I had everything I needed and left home by 7:10.

I had to park in a parking garage-no easy feat when you drive a full-size pickup and the spaces are designed for mid-size cars.  The low roof, confined space and limited light make me feel trapped and uncomfortable.

Every time I have to fill out health paperwork there is always a question or two that makes me think of Dominic.  I shake off the beginnings of tears and wait to be called back.

My blood pressure is higher than it usually is and I’m a bit heavier than last time I was there-both things that make me feel like a failure and add to the voice in my head that says, “You aren’t good enough.  You are doing something wrong or this wouldn’t have happened to you.”  

My disease is progressing and although my doctor is kind, and patient, and fully aware of the fact that I’ve buried a child,  she broaches once again a treatment option that has more risk but potentially greater efficacy.

I’m just not ready to take the leap.

So my anxiety mounts as I think of both alternatives:  Submitting myself to a new treatment that may have grave consequences or giving in to the inevitable limitations that rheumatoid arthritis is imposing on my life.

She graciously puts off the decision for another three months but I know I won’t be in any better position to make it then either.  I’m paralyzed now when I have to decide these kinds of things-torn between “doing what’s best” and “what difference will it make?”

Bloodwork means waiting in a area next to the infusion clinic and hematology departments and I am surrounded by people that are in dire straits. Once more, between the waiting and the thinking, I’m ready to be out of there.

When I get back to my truck, what had looked like a pretty good place to park has become a nightmare.  Another truck beside me and two parked opposite have closed the space I should have had to get out to the bare minimum.  And someone is waiting for my spot.  

Oh, joy!

I try.

I really try to figure out how to get too much vehicle out of too little space.

Finally, in tears, I step out of my truck (now in what I think is an impossible position) and raise my hands in the air-I give up!  You win!

The kind man that was waiting steps out of his car and guides me backward and forward (4 turns!) until I am free from the awful predicament.  I thank him and keep going.

Before Dominic left us this day would have seemed like a tiny blip on the radar of life.  It certainly wouldn’t have brought me to tears.  

But the energy required to simply get up and get going in the wake of losing him means that I have so much less to spend on anything else.

I don’t suffer from anxiety.

I’m not depressed.  

But there are many moments throughout the day when I am anxious or sorrowful.

One minute I’m fine.  And then a series of events, phone calls or memories pile one atop the other until they become a load I can no longer bear.

It feels like I am always behind, always short on resources, always close to tears.

And no matter how hard I try, I am unable to simply “get better”.  No matter how much I organize or plan or work at it,  I always end up frazzled and frustrated and feeling like a failure.  

I wish it wasn’t like this-this added burden in addition to the missing and the sorrow. Maybe it’s part of the missing and the sorrow.  I don’t know.  

But I’m ready for a day, a single day, when I feel just a little bit victorious..

My Cup Overflows

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5b

I remember standing in our field with my husband at sundown one day, thankfulness and grace and mercy and wonder flooding my heart-and I whispered, “surely my cup overflows!”

Surely, God’s hand is in this, is on our lives-He has brought us to this place of blessing.

And that’s how I used to always think of that verse-the cup overflowing with goodness and blessing.

But what about when the cup overflows with sorrow?  

With pain?

With tragedy, trials and temptations?

jesus in the garden

Jesus knew about that cup.  That’s the cup He begged the Father to take from Him.

The cup that was bitter and hard to swallow.

He prayed three times, He sweat blood and He battled His flesh so that His spirit could conform to the Father’s will.

And in the end, He submitted Himself to the Father’s plan.

He was obedient, even to death, even to death that He did not deserve, did not HAVE to suffer, did not WANT to suffer.

I have buried a son.

And it is the most painful thing I have ever had to bear.

It’s a burden I never anticipated and it’s a burden of which I will not be free until I join him in Heaven.

There are some parents who have suffered the loss of multiple children. Or who have suffered child loss and other difficult life circumstances.

If my cup is full and overflowing, theirs is overflowing still more.

Where to take that full cup?

Where to find the strength to carry it, to drink it to the dregs?

When my heart screams, “No more!” and my body cries, “I can’t do this!”, I look to my Savior for the model of how to carry on.

Only in Christ, Who Himself bore the cup and Who drank its bitter fullness can I hope for strength and redemption.

The One Who knows my pain can carry my pain.

The One Who lives again will breathe life into my heart.  

The One Who redeems what the enemy has stolen will turn my mourning to dancing.  

cup of blessing

This cup will not always overflow with sorrow.  Around the banquet table at the wedding supper of the Lamb, it will once again be full of joy.

You make me know the path of life; in your presence is unbounded joy, in your right hand eternal delight.

Psalm 16:11 CJB

 

 

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

%d bloggers like this: