I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that my son has been gone for eleven months. It's not that he's "gone," either. He's dead. He died. It's a harsh, brutal reality. (Though I know he is alive...just not here, as in here on earth.) And in just another 30 days, it will be a year. Frankly, I don't want to fathom it. *sigh*
But, as much as I would like to, I can't deny reality. I've never been one to put one a face, either. I'm not someone who can hide my feelings or pretend they aren't there. I'm not a good faker. What you see is what you get. However, grief and pain doesn't always want an audience. Sometimes the pain is too great, too private, too profane to be shared. In those moments, I withdraw. Since I can't fake it, I shut down. I hide in my "corner" and simply refuse to answer the phone or the door. Like a petulant child who covers their eyes with their hands, believing that because they can't see you, you can't see them. The driving force is the thought, "Just leave me alone."
Yet, if there's one thing I've learned about grief, it's that it's no time to play Superman(or woman). Grief is the kryptonite in life. It saps your strength, your confidence, and your motivation. It causes you to doubt everything you've ever thought you were sure of. I've also learned that the road to recovery is a heck of a lot longer than anyone, including myself, would imagine (or even wants to admit).
Last night, I found myself rather amazed, actually, at the truthfulness and similarities of grief while reading a free e-book (Rain Dance) I happened to download purely by chance, knowing nothing about it's storyline. While it looked seemingly as if the book had nothing in common with the loss of our teenage son, I found quite the parallel in the following dialogue between two of the main characters: (The couple are unable to have children.)
(wife) "..."What do you do with all the hurt?"
(husband) "I think not having kids is always going to impact our lives. With time and space we will deal with it better, but it will always be here."....
(wife) "I know and I hate it. Are you ever angry?"
(husband)...."Sometimes. Mostly I'm sad. I'm learning it's hard to fight facts."
(wife)"I don't want this to be our truth."
(husband)"Me either, but it is. Accepting that is essential to our living in freedom."
(wife)"Do you think that's what the bible verse about the truth setting us free means?"(husband)"The Truth there is Jesus. I believe that trusting the One who is Truth is freeing even when we don't know why something happens in life, because we know He does, and that is enough."
It's one thing to work through this whole grief thing for oneself, let alone when you're a part of a couple. Moreover, it's downright intimidating when there are surviving children involved. There is nothing more a parent wants to do than take away their child's pain. Yet the loss of a loved one, their brother, renders me/us helpless. Grief is complicated and messy. The ride on the roller coaster of sorrow brings unexpected, sudden twists and turns that cause your stomach to lurch and your heart to beat erratically. I wish my children didn't have to grow up without their brother. But I can't change the facts. I don't profess to understand His plan or His ways, and I dare say I have more questions now than before the loss of my firstborn. But I know God is trustworthy, faithful, and true. I can keep pointing our children to the One who knows their sorrow, as He knows mine. We can model for them that "the only cure for grief is to grieve." (Earl Grollman) We can point them to the Great Physician, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can teach them that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)