I am daily astounded at the weirdness of grief and the complexity and beauty of the heart and mind to deal with it.
Here are some basics of what I struggle with when my "pen" (read: keypad) is nowhere near the paper:
* when I think of the fact that Ben "didn't make it," I feel like a total and utter failure and guilt hammers at my heart. You can tell me all day that it's ridiculous to feel that way, but I do and I am working through it... and you're right. It is ridiculous. How did he make it all the way to full term and then I wasn't able to help get him out? What happened?
* Why pray? I know-- explosive idea here. I LOVE the Lord and I know that He created us for relationship with the God-head. But I'm struggling with the whole idea of prayer and His sovereignty and why why why. If He's going to do His will no matter what... did I just not pray enough? This is too complicated for me...
* his bassinette was supposed to be right. there. beside. my. bed.
* beautiful, gorgeous, gurgling babies at 4 and 1/2 months. I love them and walk away hurting. But they simply cannot be ignored :).
* calling any "guest" bedroom in a possible new house "Ben's room." When we no longer live in this house one day, there will be no "Ben's room." This tears at my soul.
Maybe it's because I'm tired-- really, really tired-- but last night I just had to hold that teddy bear that Mrs. Peavy gave me from Kenny and Rebekah while I was still in the hospital and I cried and cried. Is it normal that I feel something like ghost kicks in my tummy? I know. I sound insane. I'm hesitant to say it out loud, but almost always-- just when I think I've completely lost my mind-- someone emails me and says, "ME, TOO!!" It has only happened a couple of times, but anyway....
The grief I feel now, four and a half months after my son's death, is different in many ways. It's just profoundly sad. Not really angry today. Maybe it will be tomorrow. But today is just that longing to know him. To nurse him. To be picking him up from mom and dad's after school. And then I think, "Oh God, did you take him because I was going back to work?" and of course that is a thousand kinds of ridiculous, but until I knew this kind of sorrow I had no idea the extent to which the brain will go to reconcile the situation-- to make it make some sort of sense.
Don says, "Understanding it wouldn't help. Gone is gone."
He's right. So why does my brain thrash around that issue?
Because it feels personal, so often. It feels like the answer to "why?" might be, "Because you suck, Samantha."
And it's so wrong to judge others, you know, but sometimes I look at situations and I wonder, "God? Do you think I would have been a worse mother than that? Did you save my son from a fate literally worse than death by taking him from my home before I could screw him up?"
Oh, did I mention that I'm really dealing with self-pity at unbelievably high levels right now?
Because I never knew how perfectly possible it is for your mind to be fractured into a thousand pieces and still be able to mostly function. I don't always feel sad or full of self-pity or angry with myself and my God, but when I do... when I do, I know that it's been lurking in there the whole time. Hiding. Sulking.
You know what works, though? If you're walking through sorrow, too, I'll share something that I have found that works:
And this is my proof this season. The fact that worship eases the tormenting, pervasive sadness is proof that He is real. And proof in the face of self-pity that He loves me deeply, truly, madly.
And that He is not relative. I'll be completely frank: I absolutely disagree with people who believe the existence of God is relative to where you're standing or what you've been through or how you've been raised. I am not smart enough or strong enough to have created a God who can do what THIS God is able to do when I worship Him.
I do not understand how He can use all this pain. Here's what this pain looks like in my mind: imagine Christmas morning. All of the packages have been opened and the gifts are lying in boxes and the toys are waiting to be played with again after breakfast and there's wrapping paper everywhere. Happy chaos. Your whole family is smiling and laughing, drinking coffee and eating Christmas casserole. Now bring in a shredder and a chainsaw and a chipper and a blow torch.
I do not understand how He can recycle this hurt. But I know that I have only felt a fraction of what others have felt and He is going to do the same for them, and that is completely overwhelming. I do not understand how He can swoop in when I'm lying on my bed, clinging to that white teddy bear, imagining what he would look like right now, remembering the last time I saw him, and make me know in my inner-most being that He loves me tenderly, deeply, truly, madly.... Only He can reach me there. And He does every time. He has never abandoned me in those moments.
Only He can reach me there.
But OH GOD, I want this to never have happened. I want to be listening for Benjamin Joseph Swaney breathing in the other room. Not to have been cremated. Not to have been torn from us. And my God, how I loved a person who never lived in my arms is a mystery that is the most profound I have ever known. What is this love? What is this grief? Is there no bottom to either one of them?
So I run. Run back to Him. Apologize for being so pissed off at Him. Apologize for my crappy attitude. Thank Him for everything I can think of. Pray the same prayer over and over again:
Please help me, please help me, please help me...
Oh God, how I love you. And how deeply I need you. Nothing can replace my son. Nothing can ever happen that will take away that pain. So will you fill this up with something? Anything? Something beautiful? Something helpful? Something holy? Please help...
1 Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
so You knew, You knew, You knew what was going to happen... You made provision, right? Oh Lord, please pour it out, in Your kindness and goodness, please pour out the comfort You planned to comfort me with from the foundations of the earth...
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
So You know, You know, You know how all of this sorrow feels... Oh Lord, truly, there is comfort in knowing that Your understanding is beyond measure....
6 The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
Okay, Lord-- even in this I will say "yes" to You... I will trust You and thank You... only give me grace to mean it...
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
Oh God, make grass grow in this barren wasteland again... pour out Your rain....
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
All of my hope is in Your steadfast love, Lord...
Come Lord Jesus, come...