Friday, December 12, 2014

There's no pain killer for grief

 I wish there was a pill to take for the pain of grief when I am ambushed by those aching, bone-deep moments of missing Matt. Those moments come like a thief, unexpected and unwanted, breaking and entering into my heart. I miss my son, and the missing is made more intense with the holiday season. 

Matt's siblings wanted to get out the Christmas decorations last week. As long as I didn't have to do it, it was fine by me. (I've never been into decorating, regardless.) We put up a small, artificial tree that we call Matt's tree, in addition to our regular live tree. Last year, we decorated "Matt's tree" with Christmas ball ornaments in his favorite color of blue, along with origami birds and blue ribbon. (Blue was his favorite color, and he liked to do origami when he was younger, about pre-teen age.)

This year, I decided to decorate his tree in a Green Bay Packer theme. (Thanks to a Facebook friend for the idea!) I went shopping in search of green and/or yellow ornaments and garland. Driving to the store, I shut the radio off after trying three different stations. (All were playing what I call "jacked-up" Christmas songs.) I was surprised to realize, however, that I actually didn't mind them this year. It just depends on which ones are playing and how "upbeat" (or "jacked-up") they are. Last year, they were unbearable. 

However, no sooner did I step into the doors of the retail store when the sound of, you guessed it, Christmas music blared from the speakers. There's just no getting around it if you're out and about during December. It wasn't long into the shopping trip, either, before grief ambushed. It just seemed everywhere I looked the message on every shelf and aisle was "family." And here I was shopping for ornaments for my son who died, who is no longer here. It just sunk me into a pit, and I left the store empty-handed, heart bleeding. I cried all the way home.

I slept horribly that night, and the next morning dawned dreary and rainy. I ached for Matt, to hear his voice, to watch him interact with his brothers and sisters. I miss cutting his hair and buying him shoes, both things which I did this past week with his siblings. I tried to throw off the heavy cloak of sorrow, to swallow the lump in my throat, hoping to shove the ache out of my heart. Instead, I yelled at the kids all morning. I wondered, "Why isn't there a pill for this horrendous pain?" 

Lunch came and the kids had corn dogs. I listened to the conversation around the table and heard the kids asking who wanted the "crunchy" part. The crunchy part. The kids used to fight over who got the empty sticks because the crunchy part was what was left on the stick after they ate the corn dog. Matt loved the crunchy part. It was his favorite. I heard Matt's sister eating her "crunchies," and I started to cry. I just wanted him there. Ambushed by a corn dog. Heart ripped open. Wondered why I just couldn't call it a day. Death sucks. Grief sucks, and there is no pain killer for grief.

After lunch, however, I talked to one of the women in my grief mom's group. (I will forever be grateful for these women!) She shared that when she's struggling, God often reminds her to keep her eyes on Him, that He doesn't tell us to forget our kids or shame us, but says, "Look to me." What a word of encouragement and truth. I needed to hear that, for I had taken my eyes off of Him. I saw, like Peter, the circumstances around me and doubted. (Matthew 14:28-31) I saw the countless Christmas's, birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions ahead without Matt and began to doubt that I could get through them. I feared for Matt's sister, who still struggles with anxiety and appears so broken at times, that she would ever be whole again. I doubted God's goodness, that He would allow such brokenness.

But God. God, in His precious Word to us, whispers like the tender, compassionate, and loving father that He is, reassurance and grace. His word came to me, once again, through the words of Ann Voskamp. I bought "The Greatest Gift" this last week and began to read the daily Advent readings. The December 1st reading highlighted Isaiah 11:1-2 and verse 10. Verse 1 says, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."(NAS) The first paragraph of the day's reading continued with the following: 

The mattering part is never what isn't. The mattering part is never the chopped-off stump. It isn't what dream has been cut down, what hope has been cut off, what part of the heart has been cut out. The tender mattering part is --- you have a Tree....

I finished the reading weeping. They are powerful words for a hurting heart. Words that identified with a heart that felt cut out, cut off, and cut down. A heart that very much resembled a chopped-off stump. God knew our hearts here on this earth would be broken, wounded, and hurting. So He provided what mattered. A Savior. One who would weep with us. One who would ultimately die for us. My hurting heart was humbled. And it was hopeful. Hopeful because I have a shoot to hang on to. A shoot that sprang from a seemingly dead stump. That shoot is the salve I need for the pain of my grief.

No comments:

Post a Comment