There are things along the grief journey of child loss that may seem completely irrational and insignificant to those who haven't experienced the loss of a child. But to bereaved parents, we nod our heads in unison when we hear of these things. Things like why walking down the cereal aisle causes us to suddenly burst out in tears. Or why the sound of a helicopter makes us catch our breath. Things like why cardinals, dragon flies, rainbows, and hearts now mean so much more to us. These are things that only those who have suffered the loss of a loved one will understand.
It's why I know that when I tell my mom's grief group about our new used van they will get it. I hated the van that we purchased after Matt's accident. Don't get me wrong, I was, and am, extremely thankful for it. But I hated it. I hated it because every time I looked at it, it reminded me that the only reason we had it was because my 16yo. son, my firstborn, died in an accident driving our old van. And my grief moms know that every little thing in our lives after child loss remains somehow connected to before that loss.
But Monday? Monday, we bought a new used van. A van that no longer reminds me of the accident. It is a relief. It is a symbol of a new chapter. Yet this new used van is bittersweet. So very bittersweet. Most people are
just going to see our new van and think, "That's cool. I'm happy for you."
(Thank you, btw. Really.) But I see our new used van, and I think of Jason Gray's lyrics to his song "Not Right Now." Three years ago, I would have said I'd never be o.k. again. Three years ago, I couldn't see anything new. All I saw was death, and everything reminded me of death.
But there must be new things, for death is not the end. By God's definition, life is "Life, death, life." Moving forward after child loss requires so much strength and takes so much energy for every step. For a long while, life becomes hard, and a relentless battle for joy ensues. But it gets easier. It does. It doesn't mean the hurt goes away. It doesn't mean terrible scars don't exist. It doesn't mean those ugly chapters of our lives get erased or torn out. But it does mean that some day it will be o.k. Some day, every little thing will make sense.