I think the saying goes, time heals all wounds... meaning after a set amount of time we should no longer be broken, Our pain, gone. Our hurt, disappeared. The anger no longer controlling us and the sorrow that consumed you is all but a memory... time heals all wounds. Right? Or maybe not so much. What does it mean to be healed anyway? To be free of the chains of pain and sorrow? Can someone really ever heal after losing their child? As strange as it might sound, I am not sure I want to be 'healed', if there is such a thing. When I think of true healing, I think of forgetting, I think of moving on... I think of being ok with my story, but how can I ever be ok with this? How can I heal from something so immensely painful... I don't think one does actually heal from the death of your child. However, I think time creates an an ability for the griever to start to move through the pain. I think time assists you in mending some of the brokenness within you... and I think time allows you to begin to accept what this journey looks like, sounds like and feels like. I think time grants you the ability to begin to understand that your plans are not HIS plans... that what I want for my life isn't always what I get. I am almost 4 years out from the death of my sweet Declan... 4 years?! I can hardly comprehend that, it has gone by way too fast... and where am I at now in my grief journey, in my 'healing'... There are days when I feel like I am in day 1. Days when I feel broken and unable to function. Days when I am consumed by anger and pain. At this point in my grief, anger plays a stronger role than it did in the beginning. I don't like feeling angry, but too often a feeling of injustice and a sense of being wronged creeps into my soul and I feel cheated and mad and slightly scared of those feelings... I fear that mindset could really cause some emotional/mental damage if left to it's own devices. On those difficult days, I often want to slam my fist into the steering wheel... I want to scream at the unfairness of having MY baby die when I see people abusing, killing, raping and hurting their own children... I am a good mom. I love my kids, I take care of my kids... why my child?! Why not theirs? Those are the thoughts that can really freak me out... I don't want to wish this on anyone.. and it's those moments when I should be praying, that I am instead turning my head and diving into my work or anything to keep my mind busy. There are also days when the familiar feeling of sadness starts to creep into my heart and I quickly shove and dismiss those feelings away. Days when the last thing I have time for is to be sad... or mad. There are also days when I need to look at pictures on my phone or on our wall to remember what my sweet boy looked like... my biggest fear, slowly starting to come true, a failing memory... on those days I sometimes can convince myself that this didn't happen... that this is always what my life has been like... like maybe he didn't actually exists... and without fail, shortly after those thoughts make their way through my head, my heart breaks down and I cry uncontrollably. My heart and my mind... always disconnected in the battle they are fighting against each other. Don't get me wrong, there are also moments of laughter, joy and feeling kind of like a normal person... or at least what I think normal is.
I continue to find myself on a roller-coaster of emotions... but I have a few less steep drops than I use to, I am more aware than I once was of my feelings and more importantly I am working to understand that I am enough as I am.. that I am more than Declan's death, that I am worthy of feeling better and normal and that I am enough for God to love and to protect... that all I really need is to rely on Him to provide me with His unfailing love and support. I have been working on a prayer journal and I jotted down a few verses that I am trying to lean into. One from Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." How amazing and how thankful I am for that... I don't have to do this on my own - which I forget often as I frequently believe I have to do it all on my own. Another verse that I found and loved is Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand" The funny thing about this verse is that it has been on my fridge since Declan's funeral... almost 4 year! And it never really spoke to me... I have probably read this verse over a 100 times and until this past week, it meant nothing to me. Pastor Dennis read this verse at Declan's funeral... maybe I was in too much shock to digest its true meaning and its impact on my life... no matter, the point is I don't have to do this on my own, God loves me and is walking this journey with me. Even when I felt like I had to do it by myself, He was there with me, simply waiting for me to recognize him. I am not 'healed', I am not sure I will ever be or what I would even consider that to look like... but I am making my way through this and figuring it out as I go along... with the help of my fellow grieving mothers, my family and my Faith I know I will be ok... and sometimes ok is enough.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
It's hard for me to write this post. I am angry. I am sad. I am a little sick to my stomach that another year has passed. I remember when it happened thinking I can't imagine what it will be like when we mark the 1 year, 2 year and 3 year anniversary. I don't want to be here... yet, we are. Three years.
I would be lying if I said everything was fine, but I would also be lying if I said our world was still as crappy as it was three years ago. If I saw you in the store today and you asked me how I was doing. I would say 'oh you know, we are hanging in there.' which is true... and my way of saying we are not ok, we are not fine, but we are surviving, we are moving through this. I could tell you all about what my grief looks like now... which is a mix of sadness, anger, frustration, discontentment, forgetfulness, and determination not to let the darkness consume me.
In my mom's group the other night we were discussing the book 1000 Gifts and the author talks about the 'ugly beautiful' and a 'holy mess'... that stuck with me. I think I am at a point in this journey where I can start to see the beauty that has come out of the most ugly moment ever.... good things have happened since... even in that moment God's beauty was there. Declan was surrounded by EVERY ONE of his family members. All of his aunts and uncles. Both sets of grandparents, his sister and brother... that is beautiful. The nurses and doctors we encountered... they were beautiful angels placed in our lives at the exact moment we needed them most. The outpouring of love, support, prayers, kindness... that was beautiful! This mess we found ourselves in, although not part of God's plan, was a "holy mess". God did not abandon us in our darkest hour... He blessed us as much as the situation allowed. His loving hands were wrapped tightly around us and held us through our worst nightmare. As we have traveled this journey, often dragging our feet and wanting to cross our arms in refusal, I have seen beauty rise out of our ashes. Good things have happened... I believe Declan's memory has touched many people, has helped many people and my endless hope is that he will continue to change people's lives. When you are living in the ugly moments, look for the beauty. It's there... sometimes hard to see, but always there.
Many people continue to say "you are so strong"... I would argue that we are all strong, you just don't know it until you have no other options. As a grieving mother, my only goal is make sure that Declan isn't forgotten, that his life have meaning, that his memory is honored and that in some small way, we are touching the hearts of others. If/when that stops... I will not be strong. I will be a weeping mess. That would be the ultimate hurt. A moment when living no longer seems acceptable. To say I am strong is wrong... I just can't let his short life not have significant meaning. He has changed my life... I am so thankful to be his mama.
Declan lies within me and within so many people. His spirit is anything but small. With God's (and Dex's) support, we will continue to walk this journey. We will continue to hurt and cry and get mad, but it always comes back to recognizing the beautiful in the ugly. It's about choosing JOY instead of allowing darkness to win.
This journey... wow. It has been hard, there have been moments when it would have been easier to give up, to lay down and pray for God to take my life. Even now, three years later, I struggle. This particular song is one that I often listen to and pray that God helps me find my way... that God guides me on my journey in such a way that I am living His will. We have come so far, and we have a life time of this journey left.
Loving you and missing you with all of my heart and soul Declan! You are NEVER, EVER forgotten.