Sunday, December 30, 2012
When we lost Joey, I found myself in a very lonely place. I had been blogging Joey's life to dispel some of my grief, and began to search the blog world for others who would understand. Blogging was still relatively new at that time, and so it was not such an easy thing to find others. About a year into my journey, I was blessed, through a chain of discovery, to find three other women with whom I instantly identified. These women, whose beliefs overlapped my own, seemed to feel my same pain, and I could count on them to regularly express their grief in ways that were healing to me. They were able to help me sort out the internal chaos that accompanied the loss of my son. It was a priceless gift of solidarity in anonymity, for none of us knew one another in real life. I also had one more dear bereaved friend, a stranger who was introduced to me by a third party, with whom I lamented on email, every other day or so. This was my therapy. My support group. I attribute much of my healing, however much I have, to these four women. (Three of them are listed on my side bar to link: Metanoia, Katie's Family and True North).
What drew me to them? Two of them had lost grown children like me, very suddenly. They lived in the same world of almost speechless shock and unreality that I lived in. Two of them had each lost a daughter through cancer, and though our children's death experiences were dissimilar, their grief itself resonated with my own heart. All of them had lost children within a year of our loss. A significant factor, I realize now. I am pretty sure that the only ones who can help are the ones who have been there, or better yet, are there where you are right this moment.
In my search for kindred spirits, it quickly became apparent that I could not identify with everyone. There were some grief bloggers that even repelled me, as harsh as that sounds. I was hyper-sensitized then and sometimes triggered by their words. I remember revolting strongly against something I read, exclaiming angrily at my computer, "I will never feel like that!!" Grief morphs with time. I know that now. And perhaps as time has gone on, I have felt those same things. But the true point of this is: they were not what I needed then. And you must find what helps you right when you need it, right where you are at that moment.
Finding people who truly walk in your shoes is the challenge. Recently another bereaved mother started a blog that solves the problem of finding people who understand. She has actually created a website that gathers the blogs of other mourners into one place, and this mother "curates" it in honor of her beloved son Graham. She is making it simpler for the bereaved to connect with others on the road of grief. The deceased children represent a variety of ages and causes of death. The writers represent a variety of world views and backgrounds. I think it's a beautiful hope-giving place--one that will most certainly alleviate the loneliness of many.
Here is the link: Grief and Loss. Pass it on.
Friday, December 28, 2012
A dear family friend named Jeremy, one who grew up with my son, and played hours of music with him, sent me this one yesterday. Poetry about death and eternity brings great comfort to me. I have always loved George Herbert, though I had never come across this one. I hope you will enjoy this one as much as me. Though it was written in old English in 1633, it is easy to decipher. It talks about the purifying power of death.
My tennis shoes are standing on the ancient floor of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, built in 1063.
MArk you the floore? that square & speckled stone, Which looks so firm and strong, Is Patience: And th’ other black and grave, where with each one Is checker’d all along, Humilitie: The gentle rising, which on either hand Leads to the Quire above, Is Confidence: But the sweet cement, which in one sure band Ties the whole frame, is Love And Charitie. Hither sometimes Sinne steals, and stains The marbles neat and curious veins: But all is cleansed when the marble weeps. Sometimes Death, puffing at the Doore, Blows all the dust about the floore: But while he thinks to spoil the room, he sweeps. Blest be the Architect, whose art Could build so strong in a weak heart.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Death Is A Door by Nancy Byrd Turner 1936
I am missing my son intensely right now. So wanted to reach out and hug him these past few days. Poetry helps for some reason. This one helped me. May it give some comfort to others who are bereaved, and for whom Christmas will never be the same.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Our last Christmas with Joey, 2007
This is the fifth Christmas since my son went to Heaven. It doesn't seem possible. I still miss him every day, and long for him to be here with us as we celebrate our family traditions. His loss is still a knife in my heart. I make myself go through the process now, but there is a gaping void where he used to be.
After he grew up and left home, he was always the surprise package on Christmas eve. Joey would tell us he couldn't come home for some credible reason, and then he and his dad would secretly set up plane tickets. On Christmas eve, my dear husband would think up some excuse to leave the house, make a quick jaunt to the airport to pick up Joey, and Voila! Surprise! there he would be on my doorstep. I miss the big arrival scenes, the joyous laughter, the big wrap-around hug, and the adventurous stories of how he got there after all.
Joey, apres-ski relaxing
When Joey was home, it was as if the lights went on. He was a charmer, that boy of mine, and an entertainer, a comedian and an agent of good will-- a happiness bringer. He was attuned, aware, alive, and a giver. He was something special and wonderful. And we all knew it.
We ruled the world then. Everything was good. We thought life was manageable and in our control. We thought it would be an endless stream of successes, happy vacations and surprise parties. We had not met crushing loss then, nor deep unremitting sorrow; nor had we known the heavy darkness of night weighing down on us, making it difficult to breathe.
It was the world "before", and now we live in the world "after". Perhaps we were lucky to have such a shallow view of suffering, but I am pretty sure we were not better people for it. Are we better now? I hope so, and wish it to be so, but I will not guarantee it. We are still a work in progress.
2012 has been the most difficult year for us since 2008. Just when we thought we were getting steady in our boat, we have been hit by wave upon wave of loss and disappointment this year. And with it, the attendant discouragement, frustration, stress, powerlessness, and struggle. We have wrestled with stubborn circumstances far beyond our ability to control or influence. And we seem to be our same old weak, frail, human selves, and not the exemplary overcomers we wish to be. Alas.
In our quest to redeem suffering, to be wiser than before, to be beyond weakness, we find ourselves still very much in need of a Savior. But the good news is: He is there. Our "Beautiful Savior, King of Creation. Son of God and Son of man" is there. Arms open wide, gracious, reassuring, strong where we are weak.
Our hope at Joey's death, and our hope in this year of great travail, continues to be our Beautiful Savior. Though we cannot bring back our son, and we cannot bring back the "before", and we cannot control our circumstances, or others or even ourselves at times, He can and will do it all.
He is our Hope. Our Christmas wish to you is to find the same hope we have found in our Beautiful Savior.
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Monday, December 03, 2012
At the mall.
They consented to go see Santa so I could get a good picture of them for Christmas.
This is what we got. On Santa's lap, no less.