Wednesday, March 03, 2010

One Year Old

A few days ago, my blog reached it's one year anniversary. As I debate continuing with it, I am reflecting over the past year and can see that the blog has been a big help to me. I think repeatedly pouring out my grief has given vent to some of my worst pain, and just writing down thoughts and feelings has been therapy. Meeting others who also grieve--my kindred spirits--has eased my isolation and given me a special kind of comfort in community. And I am grateful for my readers who have faithfully encouraged me over and over again. It's been a true place of healing for me--my own little hospital room.

My blog started as a coping mechanism, mainly because I could hardly think or function. I would literally just sit my days away, staring into space, really just in shock, trying to absorb the truth of our loss. But now my blog is a daily habit that gets me going, and it's a soft way to start my day -- I don't do stress well at all anymore. I can't rush and hurry like I once did, I can't have a big to do list in front of me. I now simply ease my way quietly into each day.

Each morning I sit in the same spot in the corner of my couch near the fireplace ("my sacred spot") with my computer on my lap, and gather myself together for the day. It's quiet, and near the window, and I can see out, and see the weather and absorb the natural light. I wrap myself in cozy blankets. I glance at my email and then I read the daily devotional from Greg Laurie that comes in my email each day. Greg is a gifted pastor who lost his son about the same time we did, so he's a voice I have felt I could trust. His short and succinct devotional has kept me connected to God in my darkest days. It's been an anchor for my soul.

After that, about 7:30 am, I turn to my blog. When I'm up to it, perhaps once a week, I listen to the music on my blog page. It is a mixture of comfort and grief triggers, so I tend to be careful about when I listen and will spare myself unless I am alone, and have the time and strength to dip into all that longing and sorrow. If I listen, I cry, but on those days I feel better afterwards--emptied of my accumulated heartache.

Every day I check my blog roll to see if any of my grieving friends have posted, because their posts invariably strengthen me in some way--if only to help me feel not so all alone. I send little prayers up to God for them as I read. I care about their pain as much as if I had met them in person, and have had their tears on my shoulders. I am still not able to read anything lengthy or to even pray long prayers, so the short snippets of others' blog posts are just the right size. As I read, I send heartfelt "arrow" prayers to God, with the hope that He hears and will answer in His time and way.

I have yielded control a thousand times in the past year, and asked Him to do what only He can do --for me, my family, my friends, and my fellow grievers. I give God more leeway than I used to because now I know most things are out of my control.(How did I miss that truth before?) This planet and the human story are on their own trajectory, and only God can save the day. And He will. It is getting easier and easier to let go and turn things over to Him.

This blog represents many prayers, many tears and immeasurable loss. It's also been a very effective release for all of that. It's helped me to steady my rocking boat a bit. A side benefit has been that it's also forced me to focus on the here and now and the blessings in my life. When I first started blogging, I could hardly do that. I had to discipline myself to post anything beside pictures of Joey. I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a second. It was as if he was on life support and it was my job to monitor the machines to keep him alive. I couldn't leave his side. Now I feel he is safely inside--I carry him with me now. I always, always wish he were here, but now I know I will see him again.

So, on the one year mark, I am grateful for all that this blog has meant to me. It's a precious record of my long, difficult journey, interspliced with God's tender mercies. I'm just waiting to see what happens next.

Job 30:16 "And now my soul is poured out within me; Days of affliction have seized me.

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.


Anonymous said...

As much as it has been a significant journey for you, it has been just that to us, your readers. We have been changed by your loss, by your wrestling, by your revelations. I have been changed by it. You spoke candidly about everything you experienced...and made real the fact that we are changed by the Truth. Thank have given us so much by having given so much of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable and visible with your vulnerability. It allows others to connect and work through their own processes. I appreciate your writing. I will continue to follow should you continue to write, but either way, I have been blessed to be allowed into your journey.

Robin said...

Dearest Karen,

I am so very grateful for your writing. I remain in awe of your move to Virginia and of your ability to balance joy in your husband and daughters and their families with the horror and weight of the grief I know all too well.

We were so graced by our wonderful young men, and we are so lost without them. Your friendship across cyberspace means the world to me.

Jeri said...

Your blog has touched and blessed me. Thank you so much for all you've poured into it. I've been very thankful to be able to connect with you and your family over the miles as I've missed you all so much.
Much love,

Anonymous said...

Even though you may discontinue this blog I can't imagine you ever not writing Karen and sharing your healing words with others. It's your gift!

Ecclesiastes 7:3
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better and gains gladness.

Liza's Eyeview said...

You know I totally understand what you are saying ... you have put words, beautiful words in explaining the benefits blogging brings... especially the supportive community that we never thought existed before, or simply just ignore. It's not easy to blog about such tender thoughts and feelings - we make ourselves vulnerable. You were courageous to give it a try, and I am glad it's been a help.

I think in some ways, blogging has also connected you with Joey. Hard to explain what I mean but then again I know you know what I mean.

Love you Karen. You are an inspiration to many. Thank you for this post.

:) Liza

Liza's Eyeview said...

and oh, I forget to say this on my previous post. From paradise to Plan B - "Happy Bloggyversary!" :)

Daisy said...

Karen, if we were face to face, I would hug you. My words seem inadequate.


Anonymous said...

One year, sometimes it seems like an eternity. How can it be so? I will add with the others on how I start my day and you have ended up being part of that. I respect and understand if this part of you stops and know that I support you in so many ways. I to have felt that my forward motion is taking place and as I hold on to my loss it does seem different. You have written so well and shared with us to the depth. I have cried, laughed, been in awe, just a huge outpouring of everything you posted affected me in some way. Dear friend you have held tight to God's promises and to that I applaud you. Love

karen gerstenberger said...

This has been a place of light and love (and sharing the darkness) for me, as well. I am so glad that we "met" here. You feel as familiar as a friend I see weekly, because you are openly yourself here. Because of this blog, I feel I can bear witness to Joey's life and his gifts with you, though I never met him.

Your description of your morning practice is so much like mine that it makes me smile. I guess we have a lot more in common than our first names, our losses and our love for God (and Hawaii)!

I gave you an award on my blog today. I hope you enjoy it. XOXO

Lori Ignacio said...

Karen I feel so blessed to be able to see in to your heart thru your blogging. I cry at almost every post of you sharing your tender heart and feelings. What I have always loved about you is that you are so real so transparent so true and genuine. You are amazing. I continue to keep you all in prayer...know our amazing Lord is right there next to you on this journey. I love you so much! xoxo

Anna Flowergardengirl said...

Well, it just is isn't it? One thing comes to mind reading your blog--repetition. Love is repeated in so many ways and it keeps Joey fresh. Now that you are assured you can do that---it's ok to do anything.

Sleep, walk, eat, whatever you choose to do from here on out--I can promise--Joey and everything about him is keeping on.

I would want it that way too. I would feel responsible and so I'd commit it to memory forever cause it never stops being important--it's just that way.

Hugs Karen...I won't forget that you hurt as much today as just learned to cope.

Anonymous said...

Hmm that's interessting but frankly i have a hard time figuring it... I'm wondering what others have to say....

Jackie said...

I love you so Auntie K. Thank you for sharig your heart and journey with me.
Love your neice, Jackie