Continuing my series of blogging through Susan Duke’s “Grieving Forward – Embracing Life Beyond Loss”
Chapter Three – Reflections of Grace
I came to know and see grace differently after Britt’s death. I don’t think I ever really knew what having grace meant before even after my mom’s death some 18 years earlier. Grace was a foreign concept to me even being a christian which I know might sound odd.
In this chapter the author writes about her experience during the funeral of her son. There were moments when she felt like escaping, found what some people said to her was insensitive and also found a message that gave her a gift she has treasured all these years. I too experienced those same things. From the letters and flowers to the numbers of students who filled the room, to the moment when her best friends got up collectively along with her boyfriend and gave a testimony to the impact she had on their lives. It touched my heart then and the memory of that moment still does today.
A Cocoon of Grace….
Knowing that God has been with me through this entire journey has been a comfort like none other. The author speaks of that throughout this chapter. One of the quotes from the bible is one of my all time favorite. I wrote it on a piece of paper and carried it with me for months. When I would have moments where I didn’t think I could carry on, I’d get it out and read it. Or I’d reach in my pocket while at work and just grasp it and know it was there and repeat it over and over to get through the moment.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted / and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Palsm 34:18)
What does that look like? It looks like someone noticing you are having a moment and they come and comfort you. They take you by the hand and say “go take a break I’ll cover for you”. You get a card or letter that day that makes all the difference. An email arrives with a message that has been heavy on your heart. It’s all coming from God through others. It’s called Grace.
This came early for me in the book and when I originally read it I couldn’t imagine surviving an hour. Coming to terms with the fact that I couldn’t have controlled what happened to Brittany. That I did what I could over the many years to get her the help she needed to be as healthy as possible. I gave her the best life I knew to give. I was a good mom. What I did have control over is how I would respond to her death. How I would move on. How I would honor her memory moving forward.
Some days moving forward has meant progress and some days it has meant moving backwards. Just when I think “I got this” – it all comes crashing around me and I feel as though I am fooling myself. But at the end of the day I know I am a survivor and I am here for a purpose. Although a piece of me is gone forever. The poem I wrote about missing Brittany speaks to that missing part of my heart. That hole that will forever remain. But God’s grace has placed a patch over it and the ache isn’t as bad today as it was in the early days.
I’ve learned that today is a gift and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Some days I’m better at surviving than others, but I am surviving and as painful as that is some times it is better because of the grace God grants me each and every day.
until next time,