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Musings on Pain and Hope and Peace

What a strange journey grief is.  Time goes by without my noticing it.  I spend a great deal of time playing mindless games on my computer, or reading some worthless novel that I don’t really comprehend and will never remember, or just staring at nothing, not realizing I’m staring and not seeing what I’m staring at.  If I talk about these weird goings-on in my daily life, whoever I’m talking to acts as though they completely understand what I’m talking about, and would expect nothing more of me at this time in my life.  But, I do not understand where I’m at and don’t know what to expect of myself at this time in my life.  In fact, I don’t even recognize myself sometimes.  I think in ways I’ve never thought before, and sometimes speak in ways I wish I wouldn’t.  This is the most difficult, painful, unfamiliar place I’ve ever been.  And, I wish with everything in me that I wasn’t here; I wish the reason I am here hadn’t happened.  I don’t spend as much time now as I did in the beginning replaying in my mind a series of events I didn’t see, trying to make them have a different outcome.  But, I do have times, still, of crying out to God, “Why?  Why did my son need to go be with You?”  Even having an assurance in my heart that this is part of God’s plan, and my son is with God doing whatever it is God wants him to do, I still question it.  I still have times of great unrest and emotional upheaval.  As time goes by and he doesn’t call or come by, the reality of this loss goes deeper and deeper and the tears come more often, though shorter in duration.  The pain is deeper than any pain I’ve ever experienced, and I suppose that is because my love for my husband and children goes deeper than any other love I have for anyone else.

There are so many aspects to this journey of grieving that are so hard, but the hardest is probably watching my other children trying to continue living after losing a beloved sibling.  Many times during the years of bringing our five children into the world and homeschooling them I would make myself think, for a few seconds, about the reality of the possibility of losing one of them.  The bond between mother and child is so unique and so strong, I knew it would be a serious test of my strength and faith if I were ever to have to face such a thing.  But, I don’t think I ever spent much time thinking about what it would be like for my homeschooled children to lose a sibling they were with 24/7 for the first 18 years or more of their life.  It is so difficult for my adult children to deal with this loss.  This loss has made me feel like someone ripped a piece of my heart right out of my chest and I’m left with a giant gaping hole that won’t heal over.  I think they must feel like an arm or leg has been ripped from their body and they have lost their equilibrium.  There were five of them, side by side, playing together, working together, growing up together, schooling together, building and creating things together, blowing things up together, standing together when it seemed mom and dad were against them.  They were rarely alone, rarely apart from each other.  We were always members of a homeschool coop, and my three oldest ones attended a homeschool enrichment program at a local Christian school when we lived in South Kansas City, so they all had friends apart from each other from a very early age.  And, as they grew into their teens, of course they all got busy doing things outside the home with their friends and with youth groups from church.  But, from the day they were brought home from the hospital until their teen years, they were together, for the most part, 24/7.  They are shocked and devastated.  It is crushing to have to stand by and watch them suffer through dealing with this loss.  We are a close family; a very close family.  But, we each deal with this loss differently.  As their mom, when appropriate, I’ve always tried to help my kids bear whatever burden they seem to be shouldering.  As they’ve grown into their young adult years, of course all I can do is listen and offer advice when they are open to it.  This is not a path that advice can help them travel.  I can listen, love, hug, cry with them and they with me, but no one can bear this for them, or me.  It is a lonely, painful path; the most pain coming from having to watch my beloved and my precious children walk the same painful path I’m walking.

I was asked, a few days ago, how many kids I have and their ages.  I had to say, “Four, ages 20 – 30”.  That’s the first time I’ve had to say that.  It was painful.  In the midst of the pain, though, I’m beginning to hear my spirit say, “But, the Lord……..”  As I’m writing this particular blog post, which I’ve been trying to do for several days, and I meditate on what is going on in my heart and mind right now, that is the phrase that comes to mind – “But, the Lord…..”  And, when I think before the Lord of how to finish that phrase, this scripture comes to mind:  “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  I could’ve stopped after the first eight words in that verse, but the rest of the verse is so affirming to me right now.  I do believe in God the Father, Jesus, His precious son and the amazing Holy Spirit of God, my teacher and guide, and that is what has kept me from completely despairing.  The thought that one of my sons is now in the “land of the living” brings me tremendous peace and, yes, joy.  I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  I will rejoice when I see my Maker and my Savior and, now, my son.

A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God.

A Psalm of David.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

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