Year two. It feels like forever and yesterday at the same time. I haven’t written for months, 5 to be exact. I have tried several times. I would write a few lines, read them, delete them, and then repeat. After awhile, I would just walk away from the computer having given up. I have repeated that scenario many times since Christmas.
So why? Why has it been hard for me to write? I still cry almost everyday and tear up when we talk about Grant. But everyday also has joy and reasons to be grateful. So it’s not the lingering sadness that prevents me from writing.
People still ask how I am doing, and I’m still not quite sure how to answer that question. I’m not sure how I am supposed to be doing. I have no idea what life should look like now. I think I’m doing well on this journey of grief. But I really have know idea what the standard is. But the lack of a clear answer to that question hasn’t prevented me from writing. So what does?
Life has continued on without Grant. There have been weddings in our lives, graduations, moves, and even the impending birth of our first grand baby. But I know there is healing in those things. And even though there is a bittersweet taste to each of life’s events now (I imagine there always will be until we are reunited with Grant) I am grateful for them and so happy for others. I actually appreciate the sweet moments more now, in this new normal. I take less for grated. So no, life continuing on without Grant has not made me bitter nor prevented me from writing.
So why? Why has it been so hard to write? Looking back over the last few months I think I would have to say It is because I was mad at God. Not a rage, or yelling, screaming kind of mad. But that kind of mad that creates distance, a lack of affection, and a lack of desire to spend time with someone. I still believed, I have never doubted God or the truth of His word, not even for a moment. But I was mad as you would be at a friend that you felt had mistreated you, betrayed you.
I didn’t know I was mad. Anger wasn’t brewing, bubbling under the surface. I only realized I was mad as a looked back and saw my contentment with the distance, the lack of affection I had for God. I only realized I was mad when I saw I had lost my desire to spend time with God, to read His word, or spend time in prayer. Looking back, I can honestly say I have never questioned my faith in God. But I have questioned God’s plan for my life, for Grant’s life, and for the lives of the rest of my precious family left with the deficit Grant’s death leaves us with. As C.S. Lewis says (a man well acquainted with grief), “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
The best for us has turned out to be more painful than I could have ever imagined. But I am no longer angry at God. In fact, my affection grows as I think about His nearness, His patience, His pursuing me, even in those times I was struggling to distance myself.
And I am making progress in this journey of grief. The waves roll in less frequently now. They still roll in, but less often. As far as getting over it, however, I will never get over it. By God’s grace, I will get through this, but I will never get over it. I am forever changed because I buried a child. And this road of grief is a long, long journey that is not completely over until I get to Heaven. I know that now.
And no matter how much I want to tell you it’s getting easier, there are days I feel like I am starting back at step one. I want so badly to be a strong woman of faith, glorify my Savior through this journey never faltering along the way. But truth be told, I am afraid I am going to have to settle for two steps forward, one step back. I wish there was a surgery to remove the chronic pain that lives in my heart and soul, hiding behind every smile. Even with the passage of time, sometimes it still hurts so much it takes my breath away. Sometimes it hurts even more than it did months ago, without the numbing effect of shock, disbelief, and denial.
But more than anything, I long to show a hurting world that there is hope, but only through Him, Jesus. I won’t pretend to ever understand, but I do not, cannot, spend the rest of my life questioning and confused, angry or distant. I must trust and rest, even when there is no comprehension of what the author and keeper of all things has chosen. On the days I feel as if God is silent in the pain and I cannot feel His nearness, my truest sense of faith must come into play, and know He is near, present, pursuing, and working all things for good. That is truth, will always be truth, regardless of whether or not I can feel it in the pain! “Christianity doesn’t deny the reality of suffering and evil. Our hope is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering.” Brennan Manning
I’ve looked into eternity now. And some days, I long to be there. But the Lord has me here, He’s not done with my journey on this side. So I will strive to celebrate His Glory, daily, when it shows up in the pains and in the joy He gives me in this life I have left. And I know that is what Grant would want of us all! We are trying Grant…we are trying to grieve with hope as we step onto the threshold of year number 3.