Friday, August 2, 2013

The day I buried my son

Dear Matt,

Having our three best family friends here Monday night was God's provision for getting us through the 29th of July. It was so good to see the kids laughing and having fun. They wore blue shirts since it was your favorite color. It was even their idea, too. I wish you were here (or that we were all there). I saw how much your best friends have grown and my throat closed up with longing. The guys had a great time playing hacky sack, Halo, and throwing eggs. We had a bonfire and made S'mores. I saw your sister playing with a stick in the fire, and I remembered how often you would do the same thing. You always liked the bonfires in the backyard, and it was fitting for us to have one on Monday. Seeing everyone together was like holding a dim photograph of the past, examining it and straining to pick you out of the photo. Only I couldn't fool myself and I knew the truth. 

It's been such a horrible roller coaster of emotions this week. I have wanted to "check out," but as the LORD wills, it turns out it's an incredibly busy week. Two years later I can't believe how different grief is and yet how familiar. I am still amazed when I try to remember the first year. It is nothing but a blur. I don't recall hardly anything, yet I think that's a good thing. I think God does that for a reason. I'm much stronger this year than last, though the grief remains as deep as ever.

In one of the bad moments of this week, with panicked thoughts rolling and crashing in my head, I sent a message to a friend. Over ten years ago they lost their daughter at nine days of age. I wrote: I guess I had been hoping it wasn't going to be this way. How on earth have you made it this long? In so many ways, it seems like my faith was easier in the beginning. As time has gone on, it actually feels like it's gotten harder. Harder to believe that Heaven is really out there, that God's promises are really going to come true. I think about going another 20 years or 40 years without Matt and I simply can't fathom living that long without him. I don't know how you guys have done it. We have incredible, great support, but loss and grief are such a daily thing. I really struggle because the "good" days are when I'm not so much thinking of Matt. Yet what mother wants to go the rest of their life not thinking about their child? Such a horrible place to be. Where do you find the balance? And when does it get easier? I still can't look at photo albums. It's just too painful. I tried watching a video tonight of when child #3 was a baby and Matt was in it, and now I'm a mess. Ugh. I know God is good, and daily life is certainly not like it was even a year ago, but is this heaviness in my heart ever going to go away? I don't want to just get used to living with grief. Does that make any sense? I just feel so much like an amputee some days. Well - I've cried on your unsuspecting shoulder long enough....hope you don't mind a bit of honest sharing. I just needed to talk to someone who's a little farther down this road, hoping you'll shed some light my way. Thanks for listening.

Two years ago today is the day I buried my 16yo. son, my firstborn. Naturally, my mind seeks to relive the events of the day, but I need to take captive those thoughts and do as Philippians 3:13 says and forget what lies behind. I will not think through the moments of that day or try to remember it bit by bit. I will not torture myself by thinking of every detail of the funeral or memory of the cemetery ceremony. Instead, I will think of my son and remember who he was. I will remember that our separation is temporary! I will remember that whatever memories I have of him are a gift and a blessing. I will pray for the grieving mothers (and fathers) I know whose memories are much, much fewer. I will remember that GOD's grace is sufficient, that my strength comes from the LORD. I will remember that He has been good to me. (Psalm 13) I will trust in His name, for He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. 


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