I haven’t been able to write lately because of the overwhelming feelings I’ve had, and because of some things a few people have said to me. Both have made me feel like my feelings are not valid; that in comparison to other’s feelings they are not important or meaningful. And that has caused me to sit and stew in my feelings, to the point that I feel like I’m going crazy. (Feelings, feelings, feelings. I hate them sometimes.)
Then I remembered why I started this blog. It wasn’t to write interestingly, to sound intelligent, or even to help others, though that has occasionally been a surprise blessing. It was so I could get my feelings “out there” and feel like my burden has been halved because it has been shared by others.
“A burden shared is a burden halved.” T. A. Webb
So today I’m going to honestly share my feelings (insomuch as I can), with the express purpose of seeking some relief.
My husband and I have been struggling immensely with all the intense emotions that come along with losing a young-adult child. We are sad, of course, despairing sometimes, hopeless at the dreadful reality of our inability to undo this awful tragedy, and oftentimes lately, depressed. One would think we would be used to living our “new normal” by now, but we are not. It is foreign to us, still, that we can be so lethargic, so uninterested in life, so anti-social and feel so lost in the world. This world is no longer, to us, the world we knew it to be. We knew tragedy existed, of course; we knew it through news broadcasts, the occasional local accident and the few times it has touched a friend or family member.
But when it knocks at your own door and touches your own life, it carves a groove so deep into your psyche that only another suffering the same loss can begin to understand. Suffering is universal, I know. As Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, said, “All life is suffering, all life is pain.” I, though, had not personally known life that way until my middle son was tragically killed in a car accident. Sure, we suffered some and had pain before our tragedy, but it seems nonsensical now to have ever really thought we were “suffering”.
But THIS – this hole carved into my heart in the exact shape of my middle child has left me feeling vacant, empty, and void of most feelings save deep longing for him to return. Lest you “hear” me saying I don’t feel anything but these dire feelings, let me assure you that is not the case. I am more in love with my husband than I have ever been; my children and grandchildren are the delight of my life; and the love and gratitude I feel toward God has never waned. I have questioned His plans and purposes like I never have before, but I haven’t stopped loving or trusting Him.
Depression can be so all-consuming, though. The word evokes thoughts and images of many different things – an indentation in something pliable, a time in our history that still causes many to hoard food items (The Great Depression), or an emotional state that is as unwelcome as the measles. I am speaking today, of course, of the latter – a difficult state of emotion to be in, especially when it continues seemingly endlessly. Now, I’m exaggerating a bit. It is not endless, but I detest it so, it feels like it is endless. And it is real; very real, in fact. It creeps up on me stealthily, not making its presence known until I realize I’m in a dark cloud, though the sun is still shining. I’m beginning to realize it is part of what I’ve come to call the “grief monster”, an unwanted “creature” that seems to have taken up residence in my heart and home and will never be expelled. I know this is not true, but that is how it feels sometimes.
The grief monster has grown quieter in the last few months, but his presence is known by this heavy, dark cloud hanging over me that refuses to pour out its much-needed rain. It feels as though no good can come of this. No new phase will emerge from this. I will be stuck in this heavy, hard place forever.
Like I said before, though, I know this is probably not true, but it feels like it.
So I turn to the only One I know to be good, faithful, consistently loving and patient – God and His Word – and I speak to my soul:
“My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:5-8