Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What does grief look like at 3 months?

1. I am a complete scatterbrain. Someone will say something to me, and I won’t even know they’re talking to me, much less listen. I have gone to the grocery store and realized when I got home and looked in the mirror that I only have eyeliner on one eye. I have left my friend waiting on my front porch for hours because I lost track of my time and my schedule. I ask the same questions over and over. What am I doing about it? Writing my schedule down and mapping my days out. And laughing it off when I have one leg shaved and one eye with eyeliner on.

2. I should have bought stock in Loreal concealer months ago. Every day is different, yet strangely the same…and every day is soaked with tears. I cry at the most inconvenient times…walking past the baby apparel at Kohls, where I spent many hours that last week I was pregnant waiting for my precious baby to arrive…in the office where I work because someone assumes I’m pregnant and congratulates me because my belly still sticks out, and I don’t have the emotional energy to correct them… What am I doing about it? I’m allowing myself the time and space to cry it out. But I don’t cry for Zachary…I know exactly where he is, and I know that he is safe and loved and experiencing the thrill of heaven. I only cry for myself…because I miss him so much…I miss being his mommy. But I also know that I will see him and hold him again…this separation is not forever. Shaun and I are reading “Facing Your Giants” by Max Lucado every night before bed. A couple of nights ago, we read the chapter on grief…I choked my way through the whole thing. In it, Lucado writes, “..we know how long we weep, and the time seems so truncated. Egyptians dress in black for six months. Some Muslims wear mourning clothes for a year. Orthodox Jews offer prayers for a deceased parent every day for eleven months. Just fifty years ago rural Americans wore black armbands for a period of several weeks. And today? Am I the only one who senses that we hurry our hurts? Grief takes time. Give yourself some…Face your grief with tears, time, and – one more – face your grief with truth. Paul urged the Thessalonians to grieve, but he didn’t want the Christians to ‘carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word.’ (1 Thess. 4:13).” The tears have slowed down. But they still come, and that’s okay. I will just keep using stain treatment on all of my pillowcases. (At least it’s only one-eyes-worth of eyeliner running onto my pillowcase some days!)

3. I would rather be a hermit. I get overwhelmed with crowded places and large groups of people. On one hand, I love to talk about Zachary…I want so desperately to share his life since he will never have the chance to do that here on earth. But on the other hand, it’s exhausting to relive his death over and over again. Sometimes I just feel like it might be safer to stay in my living room with my books. What am I doing about it? Planning trips, learning how to knit, taking swimming lessons, exercising every day. I’m also talking about where I’m at…with God (even though He already knows), with Shaun, with family, with close friends, with an awesome counselor. And I’m seeing growth and healing, even though it seems slow.

4. I want to be emotionally uninvolved. Love seems like a huge risk these days...sometimes I would just rather live in self-preservation mode. What am I doing about it? Choosing to daily beg God to fill me up with His love, and then loving others with the love that God faithfully pours on me. I told God a couple of months ago that, if He wanted to bring people into my life who were in pain, but especially sharing the same pain that we’re going through, I’d be willing to do whatever I could to be a comfort to them. He has brought many people into my life since then who are facing loss, and as challenging as it is, I have chosen to risk my heart many times as I enter into their grief. I also make sure that I give hugs, tell the people I love just that…I say the words, ‘I love you’ more than I ever have…I notice the little things and appreciate them. And, most importantly, I’m choosing to trust God and worship Him through it all. I fail often, but that is my heart’s desire…that He would be pleased in my praise, even through tears and resistance.

My friend, Angie, sent this song to me earlier this week. The words are so powerful, and they have become my prayer day after day.

The Desert Song

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've recieved I will sow

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