I was laying in bed, after another long day, when he walked in buttoning up a shirt; a shirt I recognized. “It’s the only one that fit, mom,” he said to me as he finished buttoning. Colton had finally found the strength to try a few of Grant’s things on, things he thought he might want to wear. And then he said to me, as I was trying to get my head around Colton standing there in Grant’s shirt, “Mom, it smells like, Grant,” and looked at me as if he knew…he knew I would want to smell it, take in that aroma, the scent of my son lost.

 I jumped up off of the bed and fell into his arms, and breathed in with all of my might.  I wanted to fill my lungs, my senses, with that smell. I bawled, as Colton held me, just letting me breathe it all in. And Colton was right. The shirt did smell like Grant, his earthly scent, his cologne, his deodorant. It was as if he were in the room, and I was desperately trying to inhale it all in. I was undone with the fragrance of Grant; we wept together as we stood there taking in his aroma.

 Laying back down on the bed, drying my eyes, I realize there are going to be hundreds of moments like this for the rest of my life. It might be a smell, a certain food, something someone says, a mountain off in the distance, a unique angle on a building, 3 instead of 4 stockings on the mantle. The list is endless and it will take a lifetime to compile it. On countless occasions, I will instantly be in a place of sadness, longing, heartache, despair, when something reminds me of our loss.  I am aware today, in a profound way, that losing Grant is either going to make me bitter, or make me better. It seems like a contrite little thing to say, something you might see on a poster at a Christian book store. But it’s true, and I feel the weight of that truth laying here in bed.

 Daily reminders that rip off the healing bandaid, and pour salt into my wound, are going to make me bitter or better, there’s no denying that fact. I can feel them battling for supremacy right now. So how do I ensure this makes me better, and not bitter.  Oh, Lord, protect me from bitterness!

 Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

 Bitterness is a root, not a symptom. Roots lay underneath the surface, away from prying eyes, giving life to the plant and determine what kind of fruit it will bear. The same is true with bitterness in a person’s soul. It is a hidden element that lies under the surface, and out of it will spring up anger, apathy towards God, distrust of His goodness, a joyless life, inability to “obtain the grace of God.” It will defile me, and the many that come in contact with me.  Allowing Grant’s passing, to grow a root of bitterness in my soul, would make his death even worse.  There would be two deaths, his and mine; his earthly death, and the death of my soul walking around in a body of flesh.  No, bitterness must not take root!

 In order for this to “make me better” I MUST trust God. I must trust His infinite wisdom, trust His sovereign plan, for my life, for Grant’s life. I must trust that He is working all things together for good. I must trust that He knows best. And I must trust that my limited understanding of these things is not a necessary part of the equation. I can choose to trust God, and believe these things, even when I don’t understand or fail to see the wisdom in them now. I can choose to believe, even when my heart is breaking. And I must, I will, lest I become bitter and defile Grant’s memory, my life, the lives of those I love, and my Savior. No, I choose to trust today, even when the only thing left, is the aroma of things lost.

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10 Responses to aroma

  1. Liz says:

    Alisa, your courage is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Each day as I read your journey, I feel as though I am reading Psalms (you are probably laughing at this). 🙂 As David poured out his soul in anguish, he always returned to truth and you have done the same. God’s glory is already being reflected in this unthinkable circumstance. The many who are seeing hope and being ministered to in this will not be completely know this side of eternity. I’m pretty sure that if David had access to the internet, Psalms would have been a blog similar to this. I love you friend and pray for you often.

    • Alisa says:

      Pray for me…as I am sure there will be days i will struggle to see the truth and find hope. That’s why I am so so grateful for the prayers of the saints. I need them desperately!

  2. Nancy says:

    Alisa, you don’t know me, but I saw a link to your page next to the name of a friend on FB. Because I walked this path…(20 years ago for me…a daughter), I wanted to read what you had to say about grieving with hope. Thank you for inspiring us with your honesty. I, too, clung to my faith and the truth of scripture as the questions and pain at times threatened to consume me. He is faithful and will walk beside you through the valleys. I can tell you that the intensity of the pain you are feeling now will wane with time. May the Lord be your Prince of Peace and God of comfort as you seek to glorify Him in your pain.

    • Alisa says:

      Oh Nancy, thank you for writing me. It means the world to me and brings such comfort to hear from someone that has walked before me on this path, with her faith in tact, and an unwavering love for her savior. Thank you, thank you. So grateful for you ❤

  3. Amy Williams says:

    I am really convicted about the bitterness piece. Thank you for sharing. I am following you now so I won’t miss any of your wisdom. 🙂

    • Alisa says:

      Oh Amy, bitterness is such a temptation for all of us, isn’t it? I walk thru my life with countless unspoken expectations…sometimes I don’t even know that they’re there until life disappoints. When I come face to face with the fact that God had a different agenda, I find myself tempted again to be bitter. But I want so badly, in all of those day-to-day situations, (and in this, the loss of Grant) to press more into God and build my trust that He knows best…even when I can’t see it. Hugs

  4. Briauna Hoyt says:

    I met a woman today at Costco, who beamed with the love of Jesus, she told me through casual conversation she had lost two sons. And that if it wasn’t for the Lord, she wouldn’t have made it but that she is whole and beaming with joy now. Immediatelly I saw your face…and I realized, you are not only learning to live through the death of a precious son for yourself, and your family but you are being called to an unbelievable level of influence and impact and healing in others lives, that you will be able to help so many who will go through death and need someone that has been there. They will be faced with opportunities to abandon God, and his goodness, becasue the enemy will try to thwart them from being in relationship with the Lord.
    You cannot allow the enemy to implement any bitterness, as you it would only be an attempt only to take away from the swett lives you will impact for the rest of your life because of the increidble life of our sweet Grant and the journey you will have of abiding in Jesus even while it hurts…I love you.. xo

    p.s. your post made me cry……

    • Alisa says:

      Briauna, sweet girl, this was so beautiful. Made me cry…both because of the encouragement, and to think of that precious mom. Oh, how I pray to have that sweet fellowship with my Savior. Lord, let it be. Love you

  5. Charlotte says:

    Reading your post took my breath away….I am undone. The burden of your pain is so real, humble and honest in your writing. It takes the reader…right into your thoughts and anguish. I am so grateful for how you are each day being honest with God and letting truth comfort you. I can only hope I could do the same and if I could not you would be one I would call! I would want you to help me trust and wait on God. No doubt others feel the same! Love you!!

    • Alisa says:

      Charlotte, this means so much to me…these encouraging words. And although you have never lost a child, I have seen you walk thru similiar suffereing with a trust in your Savior that was beyond human reasoning. So thank you faithful friend, for living a life that exemplified that kind of trust! Hugs

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