I kept myself busy enough yesterday that all those “last times” couldn’t creep into my memory. I got a lot done, which, to be honest, is just beginning to be a normal thing again. I’ve not had the energy to get a lot done in one day since our middle son left this earth for heaven 7 years ago today.
It’s early, though, and the “lasts” are starting to surface.
In about a half hour, his last moment here on earth occurred.
Last night, as I lay my head on my pillow, feeling quite satisfied at all I’d accomplished yesterday, I heard my hubby sigh for about the third time and I knew he wasn’t in the same frame of mind I was. I asked, and he responded as I thought he would – he was sad. We talked for a minute, squeezing hands for comfort, then I rolled back to my pillow and tried to go to sleep.
As I lay there, battling the conflicting thoughts – sad, satisfied, kids coming over for dinner, lots done, lots to do, sad – I knew if I let myself “go there” I’d soak my pillow with tears, and I didn’t want to do that. So I forced my eyelids to close, and tried to force my thoughts to hush when I heard a line from an old song I haven’t listened to in years play through my mind –
“I’d trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday…..”
Still in the mode of forcing the sad thoughts away, my first thought was, “Would I?” And my grandchildren came to mind. Could I leave the present, with 4 beautiful grandchildren who love to come visit Grandpa and Grandma, to have a single day again with my child who now resides in heaven? I didn’t answer that question because I knew the answer meant I’d have to relive that one day that I can’t even bear to allow to creep into my memories. Or, to put it into my own vernacular, I’d have to lift the lid of my grief box and let those memories ascend out of it and assault my current state of mind – more or less peaceful.
As that line of the song played around in my thoughts, trying desperately to provoke a moment of sadness, I picked up my phone and searched for the lyrics to be sure I was remembering them correctly. I was.
After a few minutes of reading lyrics, I was able to set it all aside and go to sleep, keeping at bay the reality of this day seven years ago – the last time we saw our beloved son alive and well, believing we’d see him again within the next few days, also alive and well. Oh, the bliss of ignorance. The simple faith that when we go to sleep, we’ll awake with life just as it was when we went to sleep.
It is now ten minutes until he breathed his last breath seven years ago.
I awoke early this morning – I think no matter my determination, my mind and body know the time, the day, the season. They know and they react. And I have to respond.
I awoke this morning with another song in my heart. And as I sit here writing, trying to decide if I need to look up the lyrics or if I can come up with them from memory, I remember that I wrote them down a few months ago, having heard the same song in my heart while we were in Oregon this past March.
“And I will call upon Your name; and keep my eyes above the waves…..for I am Yours and You are mine.”
I’ll keep my eyes above the waves. That’s an interesting song to be singing this morning as the clock ticks toward that most dreadful moment in my life. Because that is what grief feels like in these times – wave upon wave of memories evoking emotion.
But I have learned one thing that helps in these hard times – “And I will call upon Your name”. He helps me. Even if that means to be real and allow the emotions (and tears) to wash over me. He always helps me through.
A couple of nights ago, hubby and I built a fire in our fire pit and sat in our rockers around it, silently enjoying the cool evening and the warm flames, knowing each were in that place of remembering and feeling the absence. As we began to talk, sometimes haltingly as we tried to put words to our thoughts, we came to the revelation that this (our loss) is somehow spiritual for us. There is something so beautifully spiritual alongside the tragically horrible. But we couldn’t quite find the words to describe it.
As I’ve thought about it for the few days in between now and then, I think it is that my son experienced his best “birthday” ever that day seven years ago. What was for us the most tragic day of our lives, was for him the best day ever of his entire life – the day he shed his earthly tent and entered into his eternal home with the One who made him and loves him beyond all comprehension. If I weren’t so sad for myself, I’d be celebrating for him. In my heart of hearts, I know this to be true and feel that someday I will celebrate this day for him. (Probably the day I too shed my earthly tent and enter into my heavenly home with him.)
For now, though, I need to think about what I’m doing to honor him and celebrate him with our remaining children and grandchildren. I’m making homemade pizza and red velvet cake this evening, because those were some of his favorites. Ours, too. And we will talk and laugh and enjoy each other.
Then we will go to the cemetery and remember that you lived and were a significant and cherished part of our family, and we miss you with every breath we breathe. But we will see you again.
Happy heavenly birthday, son.