Friday, February 21, 2014

Healing will come, I promise

I don't recognize how much healing has taken place in my own journey of child loss until I meet new members of this club that no one wants to be a part of. I see their devastation, the raw pain, the incomprehensible, shell-shocked look on their faces. I look at them and instantly realize that I'm no longer back there. I ache for these bereaved parents because I know the battle ahead of them. I know the fight they're facing, the fight to somehow be made whole again. I tell them softly that healing will come, I promise. But it won't be quick, and it won't be easy. In fact, it will be the hardest thing they will ever do, healing from the loss of their child. It will take a determined choice to believe God, to find joy, and to reinvest in life again. The beginning of the journey to healing will be a second by second decision to trust God, to remember His promises, and to stay focused on eternity.

After meeting many new bereaved parents in the last several weeks, I decided to make a list representative of the healing that's taken place in me over the past two and a half years. Some signs of healing, things that I thought I would never do again, are:

sleep through the night
make meals, plan the menu, and enjoy food
notice the sounds and color of nature
find things to be thankful for
look at pictures and videos of Matt 

I no longer:
cry every day
wish I had died
need sleeping pills or alcohol to help me sleep
cringe when I hear a helicopter
find it painful to go out or to go shopping
avoid people for fear of breaking down
meditate on the "if-only's" and "what if's"
take my husband for granted by assuming he'll always be here (The widows I've met at GriefShare are proof of this.)
expect that life is a given

Healing, however, does not diminish difficult moments. I still don't sing in church. I have no explanation for it, either. I can only surmise it's because church is one of the most obvious situation where not all of my children are present. I look down the row, or behind me at the sound board where Matt would usually sit, and I still catch myself counting kids and coming up one short. It's the one place where I continue to see "whole" families, but am reminded that mine is not. We've been at our church for 20 years, so it's reasonable to me that this would still be an area of difficulty. It doesn't mean I don't worship, by any means. I worship the LORD with all my heart, in my heart, but I cannot sing from the heart. I just don't know how else to explain it.

Neither does healing imply the end of grief. It is, instead, a melding of one's life "before" loss with one's life "after" loss. Healing is the sea into which the raging river of grief empties itself. I know, most assuredly, that there will be many more times when sorrow will roll in and drag me out to sea, yet I am so thankful for the healing God has accomplished thus far. He has calmed the storm, and when it raged, He kept me safe within His arms. I pray that these newly bereaved parents will find the same God-given comfort, strength, truth, and love on this journey that we have.

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