What You Don’t Know

I woke up this morning compelled to write about something you may not know. If you have lost a loved one, particularly an only child, then you might have an idea of what I am going to say here. If you haven’t, then you might find it helpful if you know of someone who is in the grieving process. Let me quickly define that for you: it’s a lifetime of grieving. You might think that might be a bit extreme. Well life gets extreme some days and there is this little caveat about grief. Life happens and in the midst of life at any given moment we (the grievers) are back at the moment of our loss. This is how it works.

As time passes, the loss becomes part of you and you learn to live with the consequences of it. For the most part you can go about your day-to-day life and have some happy times, some laughter and even some joy. But there are dark times and there are moments when all of a sudden you are back revisiting the empty place in your heart where your loved one once lived. And I mean lived. Not saying that they are not there today, but it’s different.

Conversations take place in life and reminders are sent, unconsciously by others, and it’s as if you can no longer hear anything else that they are saying. All that you hear is deafening sound of grief hitting you like a tsunami and once again you are at your knees asking why. And again, you get no answers, you get back up and you dust yourself off and get back into the conversation. I welcome the times when there are periods of time between these moments. They are exhausting to me. They knock the wind out of me. They make me feel incredibly lonely.

I miss my daughter so very much. It’s a pain that I cannot describe, but I try and perhaps one day when I get it right, I will no longer feel the need to write. I don’t think that day will ever come. So I write for me and I write for all of the grieving mothers and fathers out there who may not have a voice. Who don’t know the that the power of writing can be healing.

Today the band-aid has been ripped off again. When that happens, the pain is just as powerful as the day she died. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often, otherwise I’d not be able to stand it. Tears sting my face as I write this today. October is coming and the freight train of grief is on it’s way. I’m getting my armour on and will be ready. It’s coming and it’s loud and I can feel it in my bones.

Until next time

m

 

Advertisements

The Silent Scream of Pain

* Continuing through “a grace disguised” by Jerry Sittser

Chapter Four

The Silent Scream of Pain

In this chapter the author talks about the experience of pain one can experience with loss. The words “unspeakable” “unbearable” were just a few he uses to describe the pain felt by those who’ve lost a loved one. I know that pain.

Interestingly enough he goes on to reflect what pain means. The value of it, if one could find that unfathomable. The following quote puts it  into perspective and gives one some type of rationale behind why pain is experienced due to loss.

“What is true of the body is true in the soul. The pain of loss is severe because the pleasure of life is so great; it demonstrates the supreme value of what is lost.”

  

How we go about dealing with our pain is a whole different story. I found myself identifying a great deal with his examples of how we face our pain, or how we don’t. Just yesterday, Christmas, I found myself in a familiar place – avoidance. I tend to do one of two things: I either put on a happy face and pretend it’s all ok; or I withdraw into my “space” and avoid personal contact as to avoid anyone seeing my pain.

I have found over these past four years is that the pain has to be heard, faced, dealt with and acknowledged. While I understand this to be true, it’s harder to live it. To share this pain is one of the most difficult things I have experienced. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want anyone else to know how bad it hurts. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to seem vulnerable. That could be a whole other chapter all by itself.

Another way of dealing with pain is by “drowning it” by indulging in various types of activities. For example grief and pain have many friends and for me the worst was the loneliness. The author speaks of watching endless hours of television during the hours of 10pm to 2 am for about two months. This was the time when he missed his wife the most. I found ways of avoiding that loneliness, I buried myself in my work and church. But in the darkness of the night – the loneliness returned.

I slept on the couch for three months after Brittany died because I couldn’t bring myself to pass by her room to get to mine. The nightly routine was I would pass by her room and say good night before I shut my own bedroom door. Just that simple action and memory was profoundly devastating to me. I could hardly breathe. But one day I had to face it. I could no longer sleep on the couch. What I was facing was more than just a ritual – it truly meant I had to face that she was gone. That she wasn’t coming back.

The author does speak to the problem of addiction and how it can occur after someone experiences a loss. Finding ways to avoid, derail, bypass the pain – problem is, it’s still waiting there behind all that avoidance.

“Loss disrupts and destroys the orderliness and familiarity of their world. They feel such desperation and disorientation in the face of this obliteration of order that they go berserk on binges. They saturate their senses with anything that will satisfy them in the moment because they cannot bear to think about the long-term consequences of loss.”

That quote was never more true for me than the first six months of journey. Once I returned to work, I put everything into it. It was an exhausting time and my body paid dearly for it. I found some sense of relief from the relentless attack on my heart while at work. It was once I pulled into the driveway at my home, the one I shared with my daughter, that the pain came crashing back. I had no place to hide.

I spent some time in the anger phase. It just so happened to be winter in Michigan and for those who know me know that this is not my favorite time of  year. It snows a lot in Michigan and I really don’t like snow. So when it snowed, I found myself outside shoveling, screaming at God and asking “why”. I’m sure my neighbors thought I’d gone off the deep end. But in looking back, it was a great time of healing for me. I was so angry at her doctors, her father, so many people who chose not to listen to me when I knew something wasn’t right with her.

Once I realized that the anger was just another way of dealing with the pain I was able to move on. So often people tend to get stuck in the anger phase of grief. As the author states “anger, like denial or bargaining or binges, is simply another way of deflecting the pain.” He goes on to say that pain will keep returning and will not let up until it has had it due time. I still find times I get angry, I go through the stages of grief over and over. I just don’t stay as long – I manage to go through them like a revolving door. I’ve learned to live with it.

At some point it becomes exhausting to fight it any longer. Yesterday I felt this disconnect and sense of nothingness. Devoid of emotion if you will. That is grief and pain knocking at the door. Over the years I’ve learned that I can’t run away from it. I have to let it have its moment and then in prayer I have to release it. It’s then and only then do I get some peace.

until next time,

m

Tears Flow – Pain Breaks – Joy Awaits

Tears flow so easily this time of year. Although tears can be healing they also allow the pain to
break through from a heart that is broken. But what I know to be true is joy awaits those
who chose to work through the pain, through the tears.

So often I find myself in situations where I am caught in a  moment of time that makes me yearn for the things I’ve lost.  The dreams unrealized. The future once believe now just a faint memory. And yet I can still see joy. It is always a choice to see joy and it also isn’t a choice to see pain and sorrow. That is the reality of life; a life spent making my way through tears, pain and sorrow.

Yet I am here today saying that I have found a little joy. Probably has always been there, just blinded by my own sorrow unable to see it, taste it, feel it or believe in it. The amazing joy found in one’s soul can be so healing.

Healing in a way that makes you believe in life again. That purpose is possible beyond my pain. A type of joy that makes you want to get up in the morning for the first time in many years and say “I’m happy to be alive”.

Who knows how long this joy will last. My guess is well I just don’t know. Even if it is for a short time, it has profoundly changed my life right now. So I’m gonna stay with right now. Because right now for the first time in my life I know who I am.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was put here for a purpose and to be who God intended me to be. I am a changed person because I understand that it is ok to be me. To know that my pain, my sorrow and my tears are part of who I am.

God has sent me many people during my journey through the dark times. I believe He will always have my back. And I believe in the simple, yet profound story that God is only about love. He is not about judging people; He is not about bringing about pain and sorrow; He is about healing. He is about love.

I choose to believe in the goodness of others. I choose to pay it forward when I can. I choose to believe that people should be kinder. I believe people should be more grateful. I believe we should all be more thankful.

Tomorrow is not a given. If you think it is… go back to the post that reads “The Saddest Day of My Life” and you’ll be forever changed.

untill next time

m

Bruised But Not Broken by Joss Stone

written by Diane Warren

Been a lot that I’ve been through
I cried a tear a time or two
Baby, you know I cried some over you, yeah
Had my heart kicked to the ground
Love ripped me up and tore me down, baby
But that ain’t enough to break
‘Cause I’ll rise above it
And I’ll pick myself up
And I’ll dust the pain off of my heart

And I’ll be alright
And I’ll love again
And the wounds will mend
I’m bruised but not broken
And the pain will fade
I’ll get back my feet
It’s not the end of me
My heart is still open
I’m bruised but not broken

Been a lot of tear strained nights
I thought the tears were here for life, baby
The hurt came on and held on tight, yeah
Took a chance, I took a fall
Love broke my heart and shattered all my dreams
But I won’t be down on my knees
‘Cause I’ll rise above it
And I’ll pick myself up
And I’ll shake the rain out of my heart

And I’ll be alright
And I’ll love again
And the wounds will mend
I’m bruised but not broken
And the pain fill fade
I’ll get back my feet
It’s not the end of me
My heart is still open
I’m bruised but not broken

Gonna pick my heart up
Take my life back
Shake the hurt away
Pull myself together, put the pieces back in place
See, I learned love’s so hard
Love left my soul scarred
I was shattered inside

And I’ll be alright
And I’ll love again
And the wounds will mend
I’m bruised but not broken
And the pain fill fade
I’ll get back my feet
It’s not the end of me
My heart is still open
I’m bruised but not broken

The words of this song is like my theme song. I first heard this song after Brittany died and the break up of someone I had in my life who couldn’t handle her death. These words couldn’t have explained my heart any better than my own. Though the video isn’t Joss’ best performance of the song – I love the genuineness of it as she is singing it for Diane who is in the audience.

Enjoy

M