When Grief is Unreal.

(My girls playing in our front yard, having a tea party, with "Bobby Bear." One of the sweetest gifts and reminders that even though Bobby is absent from us, his memory will always be a part of us and in a way, he is with us. Moments like this and when reminders of him come in this way it brings tears to my eyes.) 

I'm pretty sure whoever said "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" was wrong. It's a trite phrase that "sounds right," but doesn't bring any sort of comfort to someone who, in the moment, is feeling overwhelmed with grief. I'm talking about the kind of experience the psalmist wrote about: "Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me." This is where I find myself. My Dad died this past week, on Mother's Day, and the wave of grief, that follows death is one that hits you hard. It knocks you off your feet, leaves you stunned and completely at a loss for words. The timing feels unreal. First my son and now my Dad. It's a lot. From the outside looking in it feels like a tsunami hit our lives and I'm clinging to Jesus, watching my world wash out to sea. If there was a category to put all this heaviness, I'm pretty sure it would be flooded. God does give you more than you can handle and it's why I need him. I can't carry all this heaviness and loss and I certainly can't understand it without Him. 

Summer is coming soon and it has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Long warm sunny days, pool play dates, ice cream at Jimmie cone, beach trips, and the list goes on. It's one of the most anticipated seasons for our family and one where so many memories are made. 
I'm not looking forward to summer this year, as sad as that is for me to say. Instead of counting down the days to my due date, nesting inside to stay cool, complaining of cankles, and picking berries at Butlers with a huge belly, I'll be remembering my little boy and grieving his loss that still feels so fresh. Instead of calling my Dad on Father's Day, I'll be planning a family gathering to honor him and spread his ashes. 

The heat and humidity won't bother me so much, I won't be nearly as short of breath, and that prize of holding my boy won't be waiting for me in August. These reminders hurt and it makes me realize how much death stings. I still miss Bobby. I'm still sad that this is my life. I'm still holding onto hope that this is gonna work out even though this won't be a summer of dreams fulfilled. 

Bobby's life matters because there's real life, "this is hard", "life sucks", "I can't see the light in the darkness" kind of faith to be lived out for the glory of God. I'm often writing this story when I'm watching the sun rise on a sleepless night, when the tears seem to come in the place of words, when God feels most distant and I need to remember the hope I have as much as I need to remember Bobby's life. God's plan for my life and Bobby's are bigger than ourselves. Trusting in Christ doesn't mean the road is easy and all your troubles go away. 
Losing a child and then a father, especially this way, can feel cruel. In spite of how it feels, I know my Savior knew what it was like to be forsaken so I wouldn't ever have to be forsaken in my darkest night. I know my Savior is "a man of sorrows" and "acquainted with grief." I know my Savior cries with me because he lived in the flesh, he knew humanity, he was "deeply troubled in his spirit" and he wept with Lazarus' family. 

In the grief of death, my Savior's response wasn't to teach and wasn't to fix it, he was there to come alongside the hurting and to cry with them. He is here with us. We are not alone. I have felt that in every card written, every meal made, every bathroom cleaned, and every flower arrangement sent. We have been loved on in the ways our Savior would have when he walked the earth. We have felt this outpouring in ways we never could have expected and we are often speechless at the kindness we have been shown. This dark place would feel even darker if it weren't for so many who are simply walking alongside us, remembering our Bobby, praying for us and helping us with so many practical needs so we can simply grieve. 

All the way my Savior leads me;
  What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
  Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
  Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
  Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
  Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
  Feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
  And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
  Lo! a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me;
  Oh, the fullness of His grace!
Perfect rest to me is promised
  In my Father’s blest embrace.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
  Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song through endless ages:
  Jesus led me all the way.


Adam Wolff said...

Wow. Janet, I am really dissappointed to read this. I know it is mind boggling and confusing as to why God has chosen this time for so much pain, and I say you are strong enough to handle ALL of this. Try looking at the positive things; that when dad died, he went in peace. That you still have a wonderful family that loves you; with a loving husband and 2 beautiful girls God has blessed you with. That they are both in heaven right now, no longer in any pain. That even though these deaths have happened so close to one another you can find ways to smile and be happy at what is STILL here. Look at my life, its really crappy, I have it waaay worse than you. But I have not let this bring me down and make me unhappy. I have let this blazing fire in my heart strengthen me to do and be someone I NEVER thought I could be. God's plan is not meant for us to understand, it is meant to be believed in to be trusted upon, and to know that He did this for a reason that we may not now or ever see. I beg you to reach out to your family and friends and speak with us about this. We are all going through a hard time and I still have not gotten over what has happened either, but I believe that time will heal these wounds. I just hope that when we look back at these days we see them as times to mourn and be sad of our loses, but also see it as a time for family to come together and rejoice with those who are here and being thankful that our loved ones lost are in a better place. This post is not meant to bring you down, Janet. This post was meant to lift you up, and maybe to show you that as tough and as hard as life maybe be, those that are still here are all a gift from God. Cherish what you have and live everyday the best that you can, for all of our lives are numbered and there will come a time in everyones life to pass and be brought into heavens gates by the holy and loving blood of Jesus Christ. Let not the negative things from the initial trials and the outcome of all this bring you down. Instead, use it to strengthen you and make you a better person. I love you Janet, and I will be here for you for the rest of your days. I hope to make it out there on fathers day, and I hope to see many loving and familiar faces to comfort me on that day, for this one and all fathers days to come will be different. Just remember - dad and Bobby will be watching over us, smiling down from heaven, when we come together to celebrate our fathers life.

Adam Wolff said...

Also, remember the good times we had with him and eachother! He gave us so much and provided for us things that others would kill for to have. He was a great man, and I am sure him and Bobby would want to see us happy and smiling. Celebrate the time you had with Bobby and celebrate the times we shared and the memories we made with dad. Be grateful that we are still here on this earth. Also, know that God's design is perfect and made in His image. Trust that even though they are not here that there is still a way to move on. Better yet, a better way to move on and live our lives to the fullest! Ever day is a gift, and that is why it is called the present. Have faith that the darkness will eventually disappear and brighter days are ahead. I miss you Janet and I love you.

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