One would think that after the first year, we'd be over the "firsts." Unfortunately, not. One can't help but be inundated by all the "Back to School" stuff in the stores. Walking by it, all strategically placed by the entrance, brings a sharp pang to my heart as it remembers that Matt would be a Senior this year. Only he isn't going back to school. Ouch.
I immediately try to take captive those thoughts and not go there. Is it denial, I wonder? Am I trying to ignore the pain? Am I stuffing grief? Or am I facing the truth square on and refusing to indulge in the "if only's" and "what if's"?
I often question myself, wondering if it's healthy to squash those kinds of "that will never be" thoughts, because, at the same time, it means I deliberately have to not think about my son. I feel like such a horrible mother because of that. I feel horrible because I still can't look at pictures of him. It is just too painful. Yet I long to hear others talk about him, give me a glimpse of who he was around other people, show us a part of him that we didn't get to see. I don't think most people understand how incredibly comforting and healing it is to hear others talk about your deceased loved one. Memories are all we have left, and in sharing them, it's giving us a part of our loved one back. I wish so many more people would have written a memory of Matt at the "All Things Matt" event.
The reality is, there's going to be a lot more firsts. They maybe won't come crashing in as fast as a tsunami, or as frequently as the pounding of waves on a shore, but they will come, slowly and inevitably. As we continue through this season of sorrow, I just pray for the continued strength and comfort of the LORD, and an abiding focus on the truth of His Word.