A request from me, personally: please stop telling me I’m “amazing,” or “a model of faith.” (And for the religious folk: please stop saying any variation of “aren’t you glad Mark is in heaven with Jesus?” Don’t you know I would climb up there and yank him back down here if I could?) Stop saying I’m “so strong.” I can’t tell you how uncomfortable that makes me, because I don’t FEEL strong. And when you say I am, I feel like you don’t really SEE me. So, please don’t say that to anyone who has experienced the death of a child. Instead… maybe just offer a warm hug…tell the griever how much you care, how much you loved their child (say his name, say her name) and then listen, at least for a few moments, to what they tell you.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14
Another good verse, featured in two different readings today. Another example of what I call “synergy” – when I hear the same thing from multiple sources, when it seems like God is saying “I know what you are going through. I’m paying attention.” I always try to write these down, so that I can remember later, when the spiritual amnesia hits.
My sister misses Mark terribly. So many hearts just smashed into pieces. She spends a lot of time searching Facebook for pictures, for stories…she’s “Friended” many of his peers. She has the biggest heart I know.
Last night, in my utter weariness over yesterday’s car-removal task (which did NOT go well – Sally was beyond sad, beyond devastated), and in my ongoing sadness over my boy, I went to bed early. Honestly, I could go to bed at 6:30 every night. But I make myself last through dinner and try to play with the cat – the poor cat – a little. God, thank you for my sweet husband, who does the dishes every night and gets the coffee-maker filled and ready for my early rising each morning.
You know what, God? Losing our son was enough. Oh GOD, it’s ENOUGH. It’s all we can do to just get through a day. It’s all we can do to get to the point of getting to crawl back in bed and hope for dreams about him, or at least some sleep that helps us forget, just for those few hours, about the waking nightmare.
In mid-September, Steve and I had planned to go visit Mark and attend a VT football game. But Steve’s back molar suddenly exploded in pain and he had to stay home, post-root-canal-that-followed. So I drove down by myself. I thought about just staying home with Steve and not making the long drive, but I wanted to see Mark. Plus, in typical Mark-fashion, he’d left his hanging bag containing his business-wear at home, and he had the Expo – where engineers are offered jobs! and internships! – coming up shortly.
Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5
What a perfect verse for today, as I think on that day at the gym. My husband is now referring to my experience as my “warming.” Can you tell he’s become a Methodist? I prefer to think of it as a love-bolt. KA-POW. Warming is not a strong enough term.
The day after it happened, I went for a walk with Beth O. After sharing stories about our weekends (mine won easily for “most awful”), she asked if she could tell me about an experience she had the day before. I had not yet told her about my personal “Pentecost.”
After writing all morning and processing everything that had happened over the past weekend, I felt a little more energetic…strong enough to go to the gym in search of some endorphins (I know I am repeating myself: exercise is GOOD… endorphins help lift you out of grief, even just for a bit). Ramin, a grandfatherly Iraqi who volunteers there, greeted me at the door. We hug now; when learning about my son, he shared that he lost his 33 year old son many years ago. He said, “I was glad that my wife was already gone when our son died, because she could not have withstood it.”
Tell me about it.
In a moment of true (i.e., Godly…we had no ability to come up with this on our own) inspiration a few weeks back, we’d decided to pursue grief counseling – as a family – near Sarah’s university. It would give us a scheduled time of togetherness…of being able to process our grief as a family, in spite of our distance (both geographical and internal).
Last night….I dreamed I was rubbing his back. This was my first real dream about Mark since the day he died. And this was something he loved – he loved to have his back scratched.
Just this past August, while he was still home for the summer, he would throw himself (THUD…145 lbs of man-boy) face-down on our bed, between his dad and me as we settled in for some reading, for a back rub. I could kick myself for the times I didn’t rub very long, or was so busy reading (whatever I thought was more important in that moment) that I barely paid attention.