It’s the final hours of the year 2017.
One of the oddest feelings I’ve had since my middle son passed away 3 years ago is this feeling of dread of the new year approaching.
The first new year that we lived through was a little less than 3 months after he died and I was completely unfamiliar with the ups and downs of life after losing a child.
I remember sitting on the couch with my husband, a few minutes before midnight, waiting to see the ball drop in Times Square on TV, tears streaming down my face and my stomach in a knot. Our youngest daughter was sitting on the love seat next to me and I thought she was feeling the same as I did, so I asked her why she thought, after we had made it through our first Christmas without our son, her sibling, it was so hard now that the new year was arriving.
I will never forget what she said – “It’s like we are leaving him behind. We’re moving on with our lives, but he is going to stay in the year he died.”
That is exactly how it feels. Every. Single. New. Year. Time keeps rushing by, and we are being swept along in its tide, helpless to stop the passage of time so we can go back and undo the wholly unwanted tragedy that occurred in our lives that awful day 3 years ago.
I have struggled this holiday season more than I have since the first one after his passing. This perplexes me and frustrates me to no end. I’m beginning to think I’ve actually been in a sort of state of denial for 3 years and I am just now really beginning to believe my son won’t be returning to us. This makes me feel a little off-balance.
Once again, though, I am reminded to look to my North Star; to the One who holds all things in balance; the One who holds my son, my family and myself. He is the only One I can look to and find any kind of peace.
This grief is a daily struggle lately. It is wearing me out. But with the new year coming soon, I feel the heaviness of this ongoing sorrow beginning to lift again. These horribly difficult days called holidays are about to be behind us and the days will be getting longer again and maybe, just maybe I will feel like living again soon.
A fellow bereaved parent writes that every passing of time, whether it be days or months or years, she is that much closer to seeing her child again. I have resisted this line of thinking for 2 reasons – one, my son in heaven is not my only child and I don’t want my other children to feel like they are being forgotten; and two, I have held out hope (against all logic) that my son would return and our family would be whole again.
As I sense this hope dying inside me, I am beginning to see the value of counting the passing years as another year closer to seeing my son again. My vision is changing, though I don’t really want it to. My sight seems to be shifting from always looking back with sorrow and longing, to looking ahead, though shakily and with a little trepidation. I don’t yet know how to live with this loss. Obviously one can live with it even not knowing how, as I am still living and breathing. But I don’t know how to really live with it. I have been doing fine at existing, but not really living. The trepidation comes from realizing I must learn how to live again. Really live.
I must keep trying to look again and continually to my North Star – the One True Living God – and put my hope, faith and trust in Him. He is my rock and my redeemer; the anchor of my soul.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who hope in the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31
“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, ‘Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.'” Isaiah 43:16, 18 and 19