What a horrid, challenging year, 2019, is proving to be.
First, the unexpected death of my son, Tony; a stepdaughter struggling to recover from concussion, now, my husband, Jim, hospitalized with a severe bout of cellulitis that refused to respond to antibiotics. It is not easy.
August 25, should have been my son’s 50th birthday, instead our family came together for a quiet meal to remember him.
My stepdaughter, fights each day to regain her full physical, and mental health and wellbeing. It is not easy.
Now my Jim, is in hospital suffering a nasty bout of cellulitis. It has resisted the antibiotics after a week of treatment. Painkillers only provide minimal, temporary relief from the pain, and being an onlooker is hard, when you can offer no significant help. It is not easy.
I have been angry with God. It has been more akin to a deep rage that I allowed to engulf me. Emotions have swung from anger to denial; hopeless; betrayal; depression and many others jumping in to add to the anguish. Grief shows no mercy.
A few days ago, (actually the morning of Friday, August 30, 2019) I sat hugging my coffee cup feeling tired, dejected and lonely. Over the past months, I have tried to read and trust the words in my Bible to no avail. I did not trust prayer any more. All the prayers offered had not saved my son. I have discovered that a mother’s grief is more painful than any other I have experienced. So – back to Friday. I was sitting quietly in my sunroom when these words popped into my head. ‘God only gives us what we can handle. He shields us from all else’. What? The words resonated so much that I wrote them down and recorded the date.
I was unaware that later that day, my husband would be admitted to hospital. It seemed like a deja vu situation. It felt like ‘they’ were taking him away and I would never see him again. I was terrified.
The words would have produced an angry response not long ago. Disdain and distrust of any biblical nature were not welcome. This morning those same words are giving me a modicum of peace. I have even wanted the peace of death of overwhelm me, because the emotional ongoing outbursts are so very draining. No, I was not planning anything drastic, I just wanted relief from the agonizing, emotional pain of loss. I could not burden my children and grandchildren with even more loss. That would be an ultimate selfish move to make.
So, I am hanging on to those words trusting that God is speaking to me – or, more accurately, that I am listening to God speaking to me, and He is reassuring me that He has me (us) covered. I cannot guarantee this feeling will last long, but I will take it willingly right now. I am still full of tears and they bubble out without invitation, at any given moment, but life goes on and I am doing what I must do, one step at a time.
I have to continually push myself forward and convince myself that I can do this. I prefer what I am going through, to what Jim is experiencing; to Michelle’s constant battle to regain her health; to Natasha, Patricia and Alex’s massive loss from their lives and home, and his brother, Iain, and wife Lucy and familys’ grief.
We have wonderful neighbors, who are supporting us in so many ways. We are blessed to have each one of them.
I, gratefully, revel in this moment, hoping the relief of acceptance continues to grow, so I can be the strength that Jim needs. To do this I think I’ll let God take over again. I am too tired to keep doing it alone. It is not easy.
‘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 right hand’. (Isaiah 41:10)
Whatever you are dealing with, may I suggest that you begin to try to let go of your anger? I have been angry since March this year. It has eaten away at my strength and resolve. I didn’t care.
If you can, also, begin to listen to the quiet thoughts that suddenly pop into your head, and let people into your life again, it may help you deal with your grief. Yes, it is hard. The last thing you want to do is accept the inevitable, claiming that your anger is justified, and, yes, it is, but anger also destroys.
It is hard to let it go, but step by step we all have to start looking ahead. Living life through a rear view mirror is no way to live, but as long as you need to it’s okay. Just don’t stay there. Life is too good to not allow yourself to begin to enjoy it again.
Easy for me to say, right? NO! It is not easy, but life moves on, and we must make the effort to get back into the path to our future.
May peace invade your every thought, word and deed.