On Saturday, Shaun and I left for Colorado for a few days for a beautiful wedding and then a family reunion with some of Shaun’s extended family. I don’t think I realized how secluded I’ve really been since Zachary died because just walking through the airport was overwhelming to me…I’m pretty sure every other person who walked by me was a young woman who was either pregnant or had a baby in her arms…or both!! And even when we got to the lodge where we stayed with Shaun’s family, I was surrounded by babies. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful kiddos, but it was like having what I’m missing right in front of me all the time. But I told Shaun on the flight home tonight that what I thought would be difficult this week was even harder than I expected (like the fact that I planned for months to travel to the reunion with my newborn and instead, all I took were black and white photos of my dead baby…and when it was time for all of the great-grandkids to take pictures with Shaun’s grandparents, my child wasn’t in the picture, etc.), BUT what I hoped would be good was even better, and I felt genuinely cared for. There were many instances when someone would ask about the day that we found out Zachary had died, or what he looked like, or how we felt now…and all of those conversations, even if they were brief, validated not only my feelings, but the fact that my son’s life counted for something and has made an impact, AND that my Zachary truly is part of the family.
Nevertheless, these days I go from wanting to isolate myself and shut the world out to standing in line at the grocery store and just wanting to scream, “My baby is dead!”. It’s confusing, to say the least. And emotionally and spiritually I keep going through a cycle…it’s becoming almost predictable, really. 1) I feel the presence of God inexplicably and find true rest in His grace, despite my (or maybe because of my) brokenness 2) but then something causes me to realize what I was “supposed” to have, 3) so I become angry and resentful towards God and towards everyone who has what I was “supposed” to have, 4) I hit rock bottom once again, knowing that I have nothing and am nothing apart from God, 5) and I cry out to Him…over and over and over.
And I hate focusing on what I think I was “supposed” to have…like the chance to wake up in the middle of the night to Zachary’s cry rather than silence or the chaos of traveling with a stroller and a carseat instead of just a piece of luggage… But I hate even more the bitterness that I feel taking root in my heart when I stay focused there. It entangles my soul and affects every part of my outlook and ability to function. It chokes the life out of me…I have no idea how to navigate through this pain. And, truthfully, I don’t even know how to trust God to navigate me though this most of the time. But allowing that bitterness to continue to grow makes this journey so much more challenging.
And again and again, even when I become resentful, I hear God say, “Just come to Me.” Even if I’m so angry I can’t think right, He wants me to tell Him what I feel. Even when I feel trapped in the depths of depression, He wants me to lay it all at His feet. And when I feel like I just might feel like this forever and that there’s no way life can be good again from here on out, He wants me to be honest before Him. God is not intimidated by my anger. He’s not offended by my hurt or the ugliness of my emotions. He just wants me to come to Him and trust that He hurts for me and with me…even when I’m mad. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I also know it’s been a pivotal point in my relationship with Him. To trust God when I don’t see His purposes laid out in the ‘hell’ that I’m walking through and feel nothing of His nearness is nearly impossible some days. But, as ugly as it may be, I’ll keep coming to Him, even if I’m dragging my feet. And as the cycle repeats, maybe I’ll spend a little more time in stage 1 and a little less elsewhere.