The question was/is "who am I?" Not 'tell me about yourself... what are your likes and dislikes, where do you live' but "Who.... am... I?!" Since losing Declan, I have struggled with this... I've been experiencing an identity crisis. What is true is that I am different. I have a "before" and "after" version of myself. If someone had asked me who I was 2 years ago I would have confidently answered "I am an educator, a mother, a wife and a friend." I would have answered that based on where I spent my time and my energy. I knew who I was... I knew what I was good at and how to live in a manner that complemented that. I held my head high and felt like I had life figured out. I was loud, daring, adventurous and dare I say, even kind of funny. I laughed easy, smiled frequently and thought I was indestructible.
When Declan died all that changed. I have felt very much like my identity is wrapped up in his death. For at least the first year, I had nothing else to say about me... I was a grieving mother. What else was there for anyone to know?! Why would it matter what I did for a job? Why would anyone need to know if I have other children? And yes, I am married... but that DOESN'T CHANGE the fact that my child died. Everything seemed second to that.... I could not see past his death. I had no room to be anything else... His death was who I was....
As I sat in church, thinking about how I would answer that question now, I came up blank. I don't know who I am. I don't know how to be me and a grieving mother. I am a work in progress maybe... still trying to figure out how to move through his death without letting his death be me... but I am treading in unfamiliar territory... not sure what steps I need to take.
But then Pastor said, "Who am I?" is the wrong question to be asking....we should be asking "whose I am?" What makes me special goes beyond WHO I AM... it's WHOSE I am that defines me. Once I turn my identity to being a child of God, than the pressure to be the perfect grieving mother, the best mother to my living children, the greatest wife is taken away and I realize that I can be content with being 'a work in progress'. Who I am?? In a nutshell... I am a child of God and everything else is second to that.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine." Isaiah 43:1
* I must give Pastor Heiden credit for being the inspiration for this post. Beyond my internal struggle in identifying who I am since Declan's death, he helped me put a perspective on this that I hadn't thought about. Thank you Pastor! :)