Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All Things Possible - Mark Schultz


This is what I'm believing God to do with our grief...get us through.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Matt's Memorial Bench



Thursday was rough, and yesterday was rougher. We finally got the stone bench installed that we had ordered. Tough, because it's like another headstone, so to speak. And tough because it was purchased with money that grandma and grandpa would have given Matt for his graduation next year. (And Grandpa (Dh's dad) passed away in Feb., just 6 1/2mo. after Matt.) Who would have ever dreamt the money meant for his graduation would be spent on a memorial bench instead? Anyway - I know Sunday will be better. In a strange way, it seems to always be the days BEFORE the 29th of each month that are hardest. We also have a remembrance event planned for Sunday evening. I am making Matt's favorite meal and we are planning on about 50-100 friends attending. I am so thankful for the love and support of friends and church family!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Phantom Pains

Hard day today. As with amputees experiencing phantom pain, there doesn't seem to be any reason for it, other than missing my son terribly, missing a part of me that no longer exists. My heart aches so painfully it feels like I'm suffocating. Focusing on the truth of God's word doesn't take away the pain, though it does bring comfort and eventually brings me back to shore. It is the life line I must grab a hold of if I'm going to get through this. I strongly suspect much of this phantom pain is because of Sunday coming up. My mom is coming tomorrow, and for that I am glad. No matter how old you get, there are still times you need your mom.

 I also posted recently about acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage helping this sciatic nerve pain I've had. Unfortunately, it's only helped as long as I've gone every three days. And, unfortunately, that really means it isn't helping. *sigh* I finally called the clinic today to set up physical therapy. I'm not hopeful about it, however, as it did nothing for my bursitis. In fact, it only worsened it, and it wasn't until I completely stopped and we got the new sleep number bed that the bursitis went away. BUT, again, unfortunately, it wasn't too long after the new bed that the sciatic nerve stuff started up. *sigh* I just can't win.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Taking captive every thought

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, 
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

I sure wish grief wasn't such a battle. It is a constant fight to reign in my thoughts and control the direction in which they want to go. Next Sunday is the one year anniversary of our son's homegoing. As it draws near, the temptations mount. I don't why I continue to be surprised by them. They have become all too familiar by now. Not only is grief hard work, grief is educating.

The assaults take various forms, but they are persistent. There is the temptation to:
  • swear
  • drink - to excess
  • dwell on the accident 
  • re-live over and over the details of the day
  • think bitter/angry thoughts
  • allow grief to take the form of anger/impatience 
  • withdraw/pull away from others
  • let grief become my identity
  • sink into depression/"check" out
  • believe lies
  • focus on our loss and thoughts of what will never be
BUT I REFUSE. I refuse because I know God is good. I know He is Sovereign. I know He has a plan. I know that this is not where we belong. I know that He is trustworthy and faithful. But all that's not to say it's easy. It's not to say it's not without a struggle. There's a reason the Bible says to contend for your faith. (Jude 1:3) There's a reason the Apostle Paul says he "fought the good fight" and has "finished the race." It is not easy. BUT....BUT, I do not do this alone. This grief thing, this journey, is not traveled alone. Nor is it traveled in my strength. I have no strength of my own. It is all of God's. I am weary. I am broken. I am a mess. I fail daily. BUT GOD...He will enable me to endure, to stand on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:19) He will be the lifter of my head...and my heart. (Psalm 3:3)

 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Uno momento

One minute doing fine, the next, WHAM! A wave slammed into me. I got knocked over and fell into the deep blue sea, swallowing a mouthful of salty water. *sigh* I don't know why I'm always so surprised by it. I know that eventually, most likely, a wave will come in. That's just the nature of grief.

Tonight it was seeing Army boy wearing Mr. Stoic's shorts. I had, out of necessity, pulled out some of Matt's old size 12 summer clothes. Army boy hit a growth spurt - a big one. I knew that eventually he'd be wearing Matt's old clothes, but I hadn't expected it to be this soon. I thought most likely it'd be next summer. Well, growing boys don't wait.

It is so hard to see, yet Army boy loves it. Out of all the children, he is the one who talks the most about his brother. He has an amazing memory and is always telling us about stuff that Matt did. Usually naughty things. :) LOL

Seeing Army boy wearing Matt's shorts just made my heart ache terribly missing him. How can someone just stop existing? How can he really not be here? I need a hug from my daddy - my Father in Heaven, God Almighty, the God of all comfort. Going to turn on some worship music.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

By now

By now, I don't really hear from anyone, outside of  my very closest friends and one or two family members, about Matt and the whole grief thing unless I bring it up first. Everyone else has gone with their lives. Or at least that's how it seems. I often wonder if anyone else remembers Matt or if we are the only ones who think about him every day. I don't know because people don't say. I still think it's one of the biggest misconceptions about grief, that bringing up our loved one's name or memory will cause us more pain or remind us of our loss. Trust me, we haven't forgotten and, though it may be painful, it is, in fact, very comforting when we hear someone speak of them because it tells us that others are thinking of them too. There is no greater comfort than to know our loved one hasn't been forgotten by others.

Lately, each day has been a series of ups and downs on this roller coaster of grief. (Although they aren't as often, or as high or low as they were in the beginning.) The morning may actually find me doing well, but then a memory or some other sort of trigger will send me floating out to sea in a matter of seconds. It's hard to get my footing, but I do know that clinging to the buoy of eternity is what brings me back to shore the quickest. Dwelling on the day of the accident or trying to imagine its details are what keep me adrift, sending me further out. Focusing on what will never be or on what I have lost is also not productive and is a wickedly ensnaring seaweed, a constant companion to grief's waves.

Swimming to shore is exhausting. I was actually hoping to take a nap this afternoon, but as is typical, naps are only in theory and rarely a reality. Today was Artsy girl's and Army boy's birthday. It's been a busy day and, on the downswing of emotions, I was only too happy to sit down and finally go through the mail.

I opened a letter from an unrecognized return address and inside was a card with the following poem. It was a sweet comfort knowing that someone was thinking of us today and that they let us know it.

HOMECOMING PARTY
by Jean Formo (©1982)

Death is God carrying us
in one arm while the other
flings aside heaven’s door

to welcome us
back to the blazing hearth
of our first home.

while those inside,
having arrived before us,
rush to the door

like glad children shouting,
“They’re here!” “They’re here!”

Death has a bad name
on earth, but in heaven,
it’s a homecoming party
everytime the door opens.

God does not forget
those earthbound children,
sad and left behind.

God leaves the party early
to enter into their despair and
to get them ready for their
own parties someday.

 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Moving on

I really don't like the phrase "moving on." To me, it implies callousness and an attitude of unimportance. Like "suck it up" or "get over it." Only one doesn't "get over" the death of their child or their loved one. Moving forward, however, acknowledges that it is necessary, yet accomplished gently with care. It's speaks of an attitude that remembers the past, but recognizes the importance of going forward. Going forward because it's for your good, for your mental and spiritual health.

Unfortunately, for the bereaved, moving forward happens at a much slower pace than those who do not grieve. And I'm having a hard time with that. As I see other people move on, it hurts. I feel alone, left behind.

Yet I know it's reality. It is what it is. No one else (except my Dh) grieves my loss like I do, because it's my loss. I guess I need to stop expecting others to "get it" when it's simply not in their capacity to. And that is why I am thankful for GrievingWithHope. I hope and pray the GWH board will be a blessing to many hurting parents, widows, and other bereaved persons. Because this is where, hopefully, you will find that you are not alone, and that you are not left behind. There are others who will walk with you on this road, through this season of sorrow...no matter how long it takes.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

God's Grace

We stayed home this year for the 4th of July. Neither Dh nor I could face our usual tradition of the 4th in ND. So hard to believe that at this time last year, our son was alive. So we decided to stay home this year. The other kids were sorely disappointed, but we endeavored to make other plans. We had dear friends over and enjoyed shooting off our own fireworks until 10pm. Then Dh and the kids drove a little ways down the road to see our city's fireworks show.

I, believe it or not, was thankful to be sick. Yes. Several of the children and I ended up with variations of some sort of virus. Miss T.T. had thrown up all night a few nights ago while Dh had a queasy stomach with a huge headache. Tuesday night found Drama boy puking at 9pm throughout the rest of the night, followed by Army boy at 4:30am. Then myself and Sweet Stuff woke to queasy tummies and headaches yesterday. Thankfully, it was short-lived. But long enough to put me out of commission all day yesterday. For which, as I said earlier, I was actually very thankful for!

It may sound rather strange, but I feel it was God's grace. His grace to keep me from being pulled out to sea, engulfed and sucked under by waves of grief. I didn't want to drown in the memories from last year, and being sick pretty much took care of that. Call me weird, but it was a much welcome relief to have my mind distracted with being ill. Honestly, I am so glad I was sick. And even more thankful I'm feeling better this morning. ;)

I've also seen God's grace at work on my sciatic nerve. I've had four rounds of acupuncture, a couple chiropractic adjustments, and a massage. After the third acupuncture session, I noticed my toes no longer tingled and my calf no longer felt like the muscle was torn. I could walk without limping for the first time in many weeks. I'd say my pain level is definitely 50-65% less! Thankful for the grace given!