I cried in the shower Monday morning. I had been thinking of Matt's birthday coming up. I was picturing having a conversation with no-one in particular, only to realize that I would never be able to say, "I have an 18 year old." *sigh* It never fails to amaze me at how quickly grief throws a punch. It managed to throw another jab, as well, when I did laundry. I had had to pull out the boxes of size 12-14 clothes for Army boy, Matt's brother. I mean, I know he's going to eventually wear them. I just didn't expect it to be quite so soon. It's made me really understand people from the older generations who lost children. Thirty years ago, losing a child was never talked about. Parents and families simply refused to talk about their loss, not ever mentioning their loved one again. I get it now.
And while we talk about Matt every day, seeing his pictures and seeing his younger brother wear his old clothes is painful. It is like having a schoolyard bully, megaphone in hand, blare tauntingly, "Hey, look, he's gone! Remember!?" The bully points out the obvious. It's not a fact that's ever been forgotten, but the bully grief just can't resist the jab. Stuffing one's grief is not healthy and only prolongs the healing process, but I understand more now why people do it.
So while these grief strikes are quick, I know I have "toughened" up a bit. I can take the blow now without being completely knocked out. (At least some of them.) I try to soak myself in the truth as quickly as I can. Truths like "This world is not our home" and "This life is short even if it feels long" and, most powerfully for me, "Matt is alive and I will see him again." There are many that have been my anchor throughout this journey. Since the beginning, one truth in particular that I have clung to is beautifully expressed in the following song by JJ Heller titled "Who You Are."
I have drawn indescribable comfort (and comfort does NOT mean the absence of pain) from knowing that the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY holds me, holds my world and everything in it. How can that be comforting? It's only comforting if you KNOW Him. Do you know Him? Do you know His character? Do you know He is good and all that He does is good? How can I say that? Because I know Him. I thank God every day that I spent the last 14 years studying His word. Really studying His word. It is that Word that has sustained me through one of the darkest times of my life. I may not understand what God is doing, but I know who He is.