Monday, May 04, 2009

Mending a Broken Heart

The dreaded month of May is upon me. I have to say I'm glad it's taken a year to come. I've needed a year to absorb some of the truth of my loss and to be strong enough to face the anniversary of that loss. It's been a terrible crushing heartbreaking year, and strangely it's also been a beautiful year. We've let go of non-essentials this year, we've pared down materially and emotionally. We've only had strength for the next thing, and not a long schedule or to-do list. We've cried every day. We've also been loved by friends and strangers. We've clung to God's promises like a shipwrecked person clings to a scrap of wood in a stormy sea. Sometimes I have felt like I couldn't keep myself afloat, but some new scrap of wood has come along and carried me again.

There is no easy way to adjust to your child being gone. It brings up an intensity of feelings you would prefer never knowing: rage, terror, anxiety, guilt, and despair. Sometimes it almost feels like a type of insanity, trying to get out of your body that hurts so much so you can get rid of the pain. I never knew grief was such a heavy physical if someone had tied bags of rocks to my hands and feet and filled my chest with them making it almost impossible to move and breathe. And sometimes it's feels like claustrophobia, like being trapped, buried alive, again unable to breathe, clawing to get out and get air. And it's all overwhelming, and you just sit with your bucket so full of heavy painful things that you can't lift it.

For my friends who have been through this, I am sorry I didn't understand better. I am sorry for the woman who came into my office beside herself with grief, and me curiously wondering why it was so difficult for her, thinking "Boy, does she need help!". I am so sorry about that now.

This year has also taken me on a deeper journey in my faith. Hundreds of unanswered questions have fallen to the floor like disregarded ashes off the tips of burning cigarettes. But strangely, unasked questions are getting answers. I hear, "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." I didn't exactly ask God what He's going to do about all this, but there's the answer. The promise of comfort, some here and certainly the rest of it in the future when I'm with Him.

Perhaps in Heaven there will be a special meeting between me and Jesus where I can climb up onto His lap and He is going to hold me and say, "I know that was awful for you. I know a part of you died with your son. I know life on earth was never the same again. I know your heart broke into a thousand pieces. I know, I know, I know. Let Me tell you why, let Me comfort you."

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (Ps 34.18)

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. (Ps 145.18-19)


Liza's Eyeview said...

only a broken heart wrapped in the Father's loving arms can write such words ... as much as this is an expression of grief, this is also an expression of faith and comfort ... love you Karen, love you Joe, love to all the Johnsons. I know May is a hard month ... hang in there, we are lifting you up in prayers.


Jeri said...

Wow, you have described so accurately and amazingly the pain of a broken heart. The paralyzing grief that many have experienced in one way or another.

Thank you for being so transparent and sharing with us. We all are learning and growing from what we've experienced this past year.

You're in our many thoughts and prayers and we love you both very much!

Cliff & Jeri

Todd said...

Karen, you are so incredibly gifted. I don't think I've ever read anything that has allowed me to "feel" what the writer was communicating, like this did. My heart breaks for you and Joe. I love you guys and you are in our thoughts and prayers...especially this month.

Nancy Loren said...

Spoken from a heart that truly knows your pain, I weep with you, and Joe and your whole Family.

I'm so sorry... for this IS the hardest thing I have ever had to endure myself, I too wait to hear those words from Jesus as to WHY? And that He too has carried this pain with us...
Love you!
Kisses,and Many Hugs to you my friend!

jennyreosti said...

When people ask how I feel, I should just send them here. I wish I could express my feelings so eloquently and precisely. Boy how I wish we didn't share this heartache.

Although August is the hard month for us, my 2 nieces turning 7 this month has been especially hard for me. They were 2 years younger than Ben, now they are the same age as when we lost him.

Love and prayers,


Anonymous said...

If you look around you Karen you will see an Army has come along side you and Joe this month.This army are people that love you and Joe dearly, people who have sat in your counseling office, been part of your Ohana, Marriage Seminar or Life Solutions class and been able to walk away a lot more encouraged,lifted up and able to endure one more day of dealing with their own suffering and grief. These people have a good understanding of God's love for them because you are the ones who helped teach us, through example and never giving up on us. This love of God that you explained is so tremendous that despite our circumstances His love remains unbendable,unbreakable and constant. How many times I've held on to that!
I love Psalm 34. My version is: "The Lord is close to the broken hearted,and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Surely your spirits have been crushed this last year.
I loved how you let God write through you Karen.
I know, I know, I know.
He does know Karen!
Love Gary

Elis said...

Karen, I want to be a piece of drift wood in your life!
I pray for you and Joe every day asking God to make your pain less and less as the days go by. We love you very much and I wish I could be there with you this month.
Having Joe here was a blessing to us. I feel like I had my "Joe fix", and I hope that will carrie us for few months.
Love, Elis

Yeshua said...

God is all powerful.
God is all loving.
Evil exists.

I'm struggling to find answers in these times of desperation as well. It is a painful process, but our faith is being strengthened as we trust the Lord to walk us through the darkness. If we can get through the difficult process, true, agape love will manifest in our relationship with Christ. You are especially in my prayers this month. Please keep me in yours as well. My faith is being challenged in profound ways and I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do in all of our lives.

Nate Davis said...

thinking of you guys this month. much love.

Anonymous said...

Karen,your writings are so incredible!Thank you for sharing with all of us this past year.We can see the pain in your faces but even more so your hearts as you share with us! What a blessing that Jo Anne and Sean have made it to 15 years in their marriage!! They definitely need a big congratulations with all they have been thru!! I hope you can feel our arms wrapping around you both with love and prayers especially as you struggle thru this month.

Linda Lehmann said...

Karen, you are a beautiful writer. I don't many that can pour their heart out in such lovely word pictures. I am praying for you more intensely this month.
I love reading what you post. It is like as you shine a light into your pain there is a deeply profound comfort that fills me.
I bear my own sadness, I ache for yours and Joes more than I can say. Thank you for letting us 'watch' you walk this road. It is a teaching lived out for all of us. As i read your words, I find myself longing to be more like Jesus, to press in to him more, to run to him better! thank you thank you thank you! I love you guys!

Trish Garcia said...

I don't know what to say, except, "I weep with you", "I pray for you", "I love you", and "I know that you will receive that comfort, that you so desperately need, from Him."

Love, thoughts, prayers, and hugs,


Anonymous said...

Aloha Karen & Joe,
What can I say our Lord Jesus is DA BOMB!!! tonight is the first time I made myself read your Blog. I have tried to many times, but I always got stuck in the pain and had to quit. Not tonight. HO SISTER YOU AN JOE ROCK IN JESUS. I hope to one day be able to express my stuff like Joe an You.YOU TWO MADE A HUGE DIFFRENCE IN MY LIFE after Paula broke up with me for good! You both just let me rant never judged just loved,listened,led me back to the word and prayed. You always gave me a smile (or a tissue)... THANK YOU PLENTY.
I know you folks are all good in whatever the lord has you doing. I will never forget you two.GOD BLESS YOU AN YOU OHANA!
Aloha Nui loa,