I opened a card from the kids on Wednesday, our 20th wedding anniversary. They had written their four year old brother's signature on it and had all signed their names to the card. It was so sweet. But then I realized Matt's name and signature weren't there and started to cry. *sigh* I can't avoid my loss or ignore it. Grief may not consume every waking moment any longer, but never for a second do I forget that my son is not here. There are, and always will be, reminders of him.
Well meaning people say things like, "Remember, you have six other children to think of." This is poor comfort, indeed. It's like telling an amputee, "Forget about the leg you lost. Just focus on the leg you have left." It negates a bereaved parents' loss. What they don't understand is this: No one appreciates their remaining children more than a parent who has lost one. The existence of pain doesn't nullify joy. Unfortunately, that appreciation and joy, however, is embalmed in grief, unrecognizable to most bystanders.
It is so very true what a fellow bereaved parent said. The highs aren't as high, and the lows aren't as low. The world is seen through a different lens after the loss of a child. Things I once thought as such highs, simply aren't the amazing, incredible things I used to think they were. For instance, I used to think line-dried laundry was the epitome of a beautiful day. Now I shake my head at the thought. Yes, line-dried laundry is great, but it's not the be-all, end-all of a great day. The converse is true as well. Things I once thought were the major downers of a day are not any more. For example, a rainy day used to depress me, and the entire day would seem ugly and nasty, with nothing seemingly going right. Now, I take deep, abiding joy in knowing that God sends the rain, and whether I think it's necessary or not, I trust that HE is Sovereign. The circumstances of a day no longer control my mood. (At least most days, anyway.)
So here I am with an impending Mother's Day. Honestly, I want to stay home from church. I want to avoid holidays, anniversaries, and special days altogether. Yet, like the death of my son, I can't avoid it. It is what it is. What I can do, however, is rely on the grace that God gives me. I remember right after Matt died hearing things like, "This will make you stronger." and thinking, "I was perfectly fine where I was, thank you." I didn't want to be stronger. I wanted my son back. But that's not possible. And I can take what is and either allow the LORD to redeem it, or I can refuse His hand, His comfort, His help. I don't want to waste my sorrows and neither does God. He is the redeemer. With His strength, my family and I will make it through, and whether I wanted to be or not, I am stronger...because of HIM.