I’m having such a hard time lately. I thought going on vacation would help with the grief. It didn’t. In fact, I came home even angrier than I was when we left. What gives? I don’t get this. My 25 yr. old son was killed. Why wasn’t I instead? I’m his mom. I’ve raised my family. I’ve done what I thought God wanted me to do with my life – raise a family. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for me to be the one to go? Why, on the cusp of his life, did my son get called home? And, isn’t it interesting that we call heaven “home”? I try to voice my feelings to my husband when I get to feeling like this, because that seems to be the only way to tip the cap on the pressure cooker and let some of the steam out. Fortunately, he appreciates me being honest with him. But, I don’t always, in fact usually, know what is going on with me until I begin to talk to him. While we were on our road trip a couple of weeks ago, I blurted out, “I just want him to come home.” I miss him so much, and it seems like he’s been gone long enough. He should just get his behind home. But, he’s not really out on deployment this time. He has gone home – his heavenly home; the same place I hope and expect to go to when my time here on earth is finished.
On another road trip last week with my youngest daughter, we listened to an Ed Sheeran song – actually, many, many Ed Sheeran songs! – this one called Photograph. I was so touched by it, I began to tear up. At first, I was saddened by the line, “wait for me to come home”, as I felt like I was saying those words in my heart to my son; that I would wait for him to come home. Then, I felt that still small voice whisper to my broken heart – “he is waiting for you to come home”. I cried in earnest then. What a thought? My 25 yr. old son, stationed in heaven now, on deployment with the Lord, is waiting for me to come home. I wish I could hold onto these encouraging moments that feel like the Lord Of All Creation bends down to the earth and kisses my forehead with. But, as quickly as I am encouraged by them, I forget them, and am deeply sorrowful and angry over my loss again. It is such an exhausting emotional contradiction to live in. I feel like a crazy little monkey swinging from tree to tree in search of something to eat, or maybe just searching for meaning. I don’t see any meaning in this life anymore. I feel like I’ve died, but I’m still required to walk through the paces of everyday life. Again, what gives? What is the meaning of our existence? I think I used to feel like I had purpose, but I can’t remember if I really did, or if I was just pretending like I did.
This is how I feel off and on everyday. I also feel, off and on everyday, like God is good and in control and all will be well. This is worse than any PMS or menopause symptoms I’ve ever experienced! Up, down, up, down, up, down, day after day after day. It is exhausting. If God would just let him come back, I might be ok. Or, if I could just go to where he is……along with all of the other members of my family…….I would be ok. Maybe this is more like separation anxiety, like a puppy whose owner leaves him home everyday when he goes to work. The puppy sits in the window and watches for him all day long, waiting for his adored owner to return. I feel like that quite often. I still look for him to come up the driveway on his motorcycle, I still look at every motorcycle I see on the road when I am out and about, hoping, but knowing it is not him. I fight these thoughts because they seem so unnatural to me. But, in all actuality, I think that is probably exactly what they are – natural. He used to be here. He used to come down my road with a roar, announcing his presence before he was actually here. He used to stand by his bike while he took his helmet off, leaving it on the seat of his bike, then saunter up the driveway in that casual, laid-back way only he had. He used to throw his arm over my shoulders and say, “Hi, Mom” in his own sweet, soft-spoken voice. He used to wander around our house before landing in the living room to watch TV with his dad. He was here. He lived. And, I still feel his presence here. It makes it very difficult to believe the reality of his absence.
His birthday is this Friday. This will be his second birthday we have celebrated without him. How can that be? Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that he died? These markers – holidays, birthdays, anniversaries – remind me that time stopped for us the day he died. Dan said it so well this evening when we were discussing, for the umpteenth time, our loss and how it has affected us and our kids. He said, “I feel like I’m in an alternate universe, and I’m trying to figure out how to get back to the universe I used to live in.” I replied, “I’m beginning to believe we never get back there.” This must be the “new normal” so many people told us about shortly after he died. I can’t even tell you how frustrating and irritating platitudes like that were in the beginning. (Why do we need to talk?!?! Why, as human beings, do we feel the need to fill silence with meaningless platitudes? That’s all – just needed to get that off my chest!) I am beginning to see the truth of phrases like “new normal”. We are living it. But, I still hate it. I still long for, and look for life to be what it used to be. This causes me a great deal of angst, anger, pain, frustration and doubt. In fact, it makes me feel a bit crazy sometimes. I feel like, if I could just accept his death and move on, I would be at peace. But, I can’t. I just can’t.
I think another word for “mom” is “fixer”. I have almost always been able to fix whatever needed to be fixed in my kids’ lives. I can’t fix this. I can’t undo what has been done. I can’t even get God to undo it. Not now, anyway. My frustration over this is sometimes crippling. I feel so broken; I feel unfixable.
“Behold, my eye has seen all this, My ear has heard and understood it. What you know I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to argue with God.” Job 13:1-3
“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.” Job 13:15