I have been struggling with writing this post for over a week now. The beginning of May has been difficult. Difficult because it begins with Matt's birthday on the 2nd and is also, inevitably, preceded by a "29th." On the heels of Matt's birthday is our wedding anniversary, just six days later. Finally, to round things out, Mother's Day falls a few days after that. Needless to say, it's an emotional, heart-wrenching start to the month.
A gray thread of grief now runs through every holiday and special occasion. The loss of a child isn't something one ever forgets; your child's absence never goes unnoticed. It's as if the pages of our lives, though colored in again, are tinged with a gray outline. The naivety of life before loss is irreparable.
These first few weeks of May suck. They just do. I feel like I'm holding my breath until after Mother's Day. I can't wait until the day after Mother's Day. I wish I didn't feel this way, but I do. I've been on this roller coaster ride of grief long enough, however, to know that the plunge will, mercifully, even out.
Getting through Matt's birthday was excruciating, but we did, thanks to one of my best friends and her family. She is a selfless, amazing, and sacrificing friend who continues to be here for us. She and her boys spent Thursday and Friday night at our house while Tim and I went to a hotel. All the children enjoyed swimming in the pool, then went back to our house to play Minecraft (Matt's favorite), and watch LOTR (Lord of the Rings - also Matt's favorite). They also drank a McDonald's Mocha Frappe (again, Matt's favorite) in honor of their brother.
Being able to get away to the hotel alone was a huge relief. It allowed Tim and I to just let our grief out without reserve. We needed that outlet. I cried myself to sleep Thursday night, and then cried for a while on Friday morning. I had also booked a massage for Friday afternoon. It was therapeutic and exactly what I needed.
Matt's birthday past, we limped into our 21st anniversary the following week on the 8th. We are so incredibly blessed and are so thankful for the years God has given us, but celebrating anniversaries now is different. There is joy, there is appreciation, but never are we ignorant of the fact that our first-born is missing from the celebration. We did, however, manage to drag our tired, deflated bodies out for one last date night on Thursday to our favorite Mexican restaurant. After 33 years, it's closing because the owners are retiring. It's the end of an era, really, as we've had date nights there most every Friday evening for about the past five years. It was also a huge blessing because a dear friend gave us a gift card for it.
Our anniversary over, Friday came and, with it, another trying, emotional moment. Our 15yo. took her driver's permit. It hit me harder than I had expected, but it is exactly these times that require an act of faith. It is ironic to me that it fell at this particular time, but God's grace is sufficient. Matt's sister isn't using the same driving school that he did as, thankfully, we have three different ones in the area to choose from. I feel reassured with the one we chose. The instructor seems quite understanding and accommodating. He realizes he's dealing with rather sensitive circumstances, and I appreciate that. As we begin behind-the-wheel driving, I'd covet prayers for us all.
Finally, today is Mother's Day, and I took the advice of Compassionate Friends. I stayed home from church and enjoyed a nice, long bubble bath in the quiet while Dh went to church with the kids.
This morning, I woke
up to the 5yo. crying, the 7yo. yelling, and two teenagers having a loud
conversation in the next room. And I gave thanks to God because they
are here. I am so thankful for God's provision and grace. I am abundantly blessed.
For every mother today, I pray God's grace be
multiplied, and for every woman whose arms remain empty, I pray God's
peace that surpasses all understanding.