Dan and I watched a television show when we were first married that I can no longer remember the name of, but I do remember it took place on an exotic island and had a little person who would shout out to his boss, “Da plane! Da plane!” when a plane full of visitors to the island would arrive.
I hear myself say this phrase sometimes, but without the “l” in the word plane, “Oh, da pain. Da pain.”
It might sound comical, but I assure you it is not.
So many different things have come together, or more accurately, apart, this week that I feel like a convergence of rivers of emotion going on inside me. It is quite discombobulating. It has kept me, almost every moment of every day this week, walking unsteadily, as though traversing the deck of a ship trying its best to stay afloat in a storm.
And that is exactly what it has been – an emotional storm.
Things from my past have resurfaced with a vengeance. Things I have to deal with presently have come to a head. And all this is clouded by the constant broken heart I have to learn to live with. Top this off with the holidays beginning next week, Thanksgiving Day being less than a week away, and I am utterly and completely exhausted.
I am oh, so thankful for all that God has blessed my life with. But I am also oh, so sad at the loss of one of my greatest and most cherished blessings – my middle child.
Just the juxtaposition of emotions this causes is exhausting. I used to feel like my heart could explode with gratitude for the many and varied blessings in my life. And now I feel like my heart breaks in two with sorrow every day he is not here, and with every deeper realization that he will not be returning to us here. This juxtaposition of emotions has stretched my heart beyond what I believed its limitations were before my son passed away. I think this is a good thing. But it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
Someone told me once, about a year after our son had passed, that he (my son) wouldn’t want me to be this sad. That really rather annoyed me, since this person didn’t know my son at all, so obviously couldn’t know what my son might or might not want his mama to be. But that statement has stuck with me, and occasionally returns to my thoughts, prodding me to consider the veracity of it. Would he rather I not be sad because he is gone? I honestly don’t know, but I do consider it without annoyance now. That seems like progress, to me.
I spoke with my counselor today (again) about the dueling emotions a mother grieving the tragic loss of a child feels, and he assured me (again) that it is quite normal.
Great. This is all “normal”.
I guess, in a strange sort of way, that is comforting.
But it is incredibly exhausting.
I’ve always loved the holidays. I’m seeing, though, that enduring them gets more difficult each year. This will be the 4th time we “celebrate” the holidays without one of our children; the 4th time we gather around our dining room table with our children, child-in-law and grandchildren and bow our heads to give thanks to God, wearing a blanket of sorrow, draped over our shoulders like a shawl. Oddly enough, it is beginning to feel warm, and not just heavy. Not warm like my husband’s arm resting across my shoulders, chasing away all uncertainty in my heart. But warm like an itchy wool sweater you have to wear because your favorite comfy coat is in the wash.
This is what we live with now – a heavy, warm, itchy blanket of sorrow wrapping itself around us as we lift our hearts to thank God for all He has blessed our lives with.
Oh, and I just remembered the name of that show we used to watch. It was Fantasy Island.
That sounds like a good place to visit.
“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Philippians 4:6-7