My dad had his knee replaced a couple of years ago. I remember visiting with him shortly after he came out of recovery. He was so upbeat and talked like he felt like a champion who had just won a big fight. He even said he was just going to go ahead and have the other knee done, as this first one was a piece of cake. Little did I know the potency of the pain killers he was on!
Grieving after a sudden unexpected loss is a little like being on potent pain killers. The numbness takes a long time to wear off. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says in her book, On Grief and Grieving, that it can take months for the numbness to wear off and the reality of the loss to be realized when the death is sudden, like Izzy’s death was. There is shock, horror even, and disbelief. But, reality takes awhile to set in. The reality that he is really gone from this earth forever is just beginning to set in. Our psyche is an amazing and interesting thing. Our brain protects us from the reality, because loss like this is too hard to handle all at once, again according to Kubler-Ross in her book on grieving. I am beginning to see what she is talking about as the loss becomes more real and the grief comes in wave after wave with this realization.
Since Izzy’s death in October, I’ve walked around in a fog not remembering days, weeks and months that have gone by. I have to remind myself of the month we’re in, the season even. Everything has this grey look to it, lacking the color that helps us distinguish the seasons and months from each other.
Other things, though, I remember with painful clarity. The things I remember about the end of his life have the same gravity, in my mind, as the things I remember about the beginning of his life. I loved being pregnant and having babies. I would say that pregnancy was an incredibly spiritual experience for me ; I was acutely aware of the hand of God creating and forming the precious little one in my womb. I felt like a co-creator with God! Each pregnancy was an amazingly spiritual experience.
These past few months since experiencing the death of one of my precious children has been a journey into a depth of grief I didn’t know existed. I’ve known the ecstatic joy of childbirth, the overwhelming gratitude felt when a new life has been entrusted to you. But, the devastating grief felt when that life is unexpectedly snatched away, until October of last year, was something I could only imagine.
I am struck dumb by the similarities between the joy of new life and the grief of the loss of that life I was entrusted with by the very Creator of life. I read recently that joy and grief are twins. I certainly don’t understand that, but I have a couple of thoughts toward explaining the similarity in these two monumental moments in life. The first is that nothing else in life touches us so deeply, delving down to the very core of our being with feelings so intense nothing else compares. The second is that no other experience in life makes us look so intently upon our Creator. He is the Maker of life; conversely, He is the taker of life.
I want to be like Job. I want to be able to say, “though He slay me, yet will I praise Him”, because, like Job I believe “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away”, and it is my desire to be able to continue, as Job did, and say “blessed be the name of the Lord”.