This summer seems to have passed so quickly. It's nearly drawing to a close and I haven't gotten half the things done that I had on my list... but I have enjoyed time with my husband and reading book after book at my parents' pool.
So I'm choosing not to beat myself up for not finishing the tasks I had planned. I'm choosing to be so thankful for time to myself. I'm choosing to be thankful for a summer that wasn't drenched in tears.... Don and I have wondered aloud several times this summer, "What did we do this time last year??" We walked. We talked. He changed the dressing on my wound three times a day. We cried. We felt so...sad.
But this year has been different and I'm so grateful. I remember being just at the beginning of the journey of grief after the death of a child and thinking that life would never be normal again. Couldn't be. And granted, there is always this check of sadness in the back of my heart and always will be-- always should be-- but I'm not depressed or hopeless. God has been faithful to heal the ache of the wound. The loss is still there, but the desperation is gone.
It does pop up sometimes. It did last week. I cried on my mom's shoulder three weeks ago. I sometimes stare at the ceiling long after D has gone to sleep and wonder what life would be like with our little guy toddling around. I read a status update on FB where a friend of mine joked that she would like to sell her screaming baby at a garage sale, and I know she's kidding, but I don't think I'll ever hear comments like that from moms ever again and not wince and get a little pissed for a minute. Even if the Lord chooses to give us another baby, I think I'll always want to shake people who say it-- even though they love their babies and would lay their lives down for them. In the same way, I would never joke about wanting my husband to die. It's not funny. It happens to some people. I know that I'm uniquely sensitive, though, so I'll keep it to myself (or share it with you guys here-- but we're on the same page, aren't we, in many ways?).
I saw a Hoarders episode where this woman lost her mind after her baby died in a way that was similar to what we think happened to Ben (I think her baby had a cord accident or something-- can't remember). She started keeping everything. The whole house was out of control. She just couldn't get it together. It had been years and she was slowly falling apart.
I won't judge that woman. I know it can happen. I know that the only thing that has kept me from losing my sanity is my faith in Jesus. Before carrying a baby for 9 (10?) months and then holding him, dead, in my arms, I had no idea how intense a mother's love for her baby is. I had no idea. I didn't even get to know Ben. I can't imagine how insanely intense and agonizing that connection from mother to child is when the relationship is allowed to grow. And when I think of this woman, it occurs to me that she had two other children before the one she lost-- is it possible that her grief was even greater because she understood the fulness of what she had lost? In a way that I can only peek at? How could you endure the death of a child when you know what could have been? Know it from experience?
Jesus. That's all. His goodness and closeness and the fact that this life is not all there is. That we'll only sojourn here for a few years but will spend bazillion gazillion matrillion years with Him and with those we have lost. Time.
This whole journey feels like such a freaking mind bender sometimes, you know? My prayer, constantly, is that the Lord would give me His mind in it all. Just help me to see and experience it the way He meant for me to. Help me walk it out the way He intended. There is so much comfort knowing that He knew what was coming and never planned to abandon me to it. Bad things happen to everyone-- EVERYONE-- and we are ridiculous if we think that somehow we are exempt because we are believers. Instead, we should expect that bad things will happen because we understand that the place we live in-- this planet-- is eaten up with destruction, but that the difference between us before Christ and us after Christ is that there is an answer to our suffering. There is a balm in Gilead. There is One who walks with us. We are not exempt, but we are also not alone.
None of this is pointless.