A couple of years ago, our oldest daughter and her husband borrowed our Buick, as they were in need of an extra car and we were not really using it at that point. They’ve had it since, much like we had Dan’s parent’s car for a year or so when we were young parents trying to make ends meet.
We got it back tonight – our big ole Buick with the matching couch and love seats for the front and back seats, the long nose that never ends and the smooth ride that can put you to sleep. Our Buick that we drove to our son’s funeral in; the one we were in when we followed the hearse that held our son on the way to the cemetery.
We decided to go for a ride in it shortly after our daughter brought it back home to us, so my husband got the car and brought it around front while I closed up the house. I was ready to go about the time he got it pulled up to the front porch, and as soon as I opened the front passenger side door, I started to cry. I looked at the dash-board and remembered the many minutes I spent staring at it the day we drove behind his hearse on the way to the cemetery to bury him. I remembered looking up and saying to my husband, “That is our son in there”, meaning the hearse in front of us. I knew he knew what frame of mind I was in by the way he responded to me. He has been so attentive to me since our son passed away, and those first few weeks he was beyond amazingly attentive, always saying just the right thing to let me know he felt the same way I did, but he was going to be the strong one and hold me up.
I couldn’t stop crying for probably 15 or 20 minutes tonight as we drove around, just meandering, without any particular direction. I still apologize for crying, though not nearly as often as I used to, and I did so tonight, explaining, like I seldom have the words to do, why I felt the need to apologize. I told my hubby that I feel like everyone wants me to be “back to normal” and I don’t know how to be and I’m starting to not care if I am ever who I was again. I said a few other things about people’s expectations, my faith, our faith, what is faith and how do we walk it out, and so on.
What he said to me in response to my expression of frustration over who I am and where I am emotionally and spiritually in life stopped my tears, if only for a few minutes. Long enough, though, to help me process what he said and realize the truth of it.
“Nothing is different in our lives, so why should we be any different?”
Nothing has changed since our middle son passed away. Nothing that we have wanted to be different, anyway. Meaning, our son hasn’t come back, so why should we be past grieving his loss? He’s still gone. We are still brokenhearted over that fact. We still don’t understand why he had to die. Nothing is different than it was that dreadful day 3+ years ago.
Yes, we are better able to function and appear to be “normal” to the rest of the world.
But he is still gone.
We don’t cry as often as we used to. But we still cry way more often than we did before he died.
Because he is still gone.
We are feeling a little better, and we are healing around the edges of the wound, but we don’t feel like we are getting back to our old selves. We feel like we have learned to continue living while carrying this burden of sorrow. It doesn’t leave us. It doesn’t even really lighten. We carry it every day, every minute, every moment in every minute.
Because he is not here, and we are beginning to realize the truth of the unchangeable fact that he will never return to us.
Nothing has changed.
But everything has changed.
We can live our lives, missing him.
But we do miss him. Every. Single. Moment.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ ” – C.S. Lewis
I feel like I have been both these types of people many times since my son died. At times, I am able to yield myself to God’s will and accept what He has allowed to happen in my life. At other times, I want to turn my face toward heaven and scream “why?”.
In the end, my heart knows His will being done is the only truly good will.
“Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb. For I proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:1-4