I was reluctant to pick up the computer tonight, reluctant because I have been hiding from myself these past months. It has become my method of choice to pretend I have nothing to say rather than take the time to allow the words to drift up out of the depths of my being, where I might then see and hear them; where I might then take the time to taste them for bitterness or for sweet. What if I choose to set them free, these words of my heart? Would I feel better for acknowledging what surfaces, or, if released, will I find myself frantically grasping at them as they hang in the air, realizing as they take flight that no, I should have left them in the darkness…where their power to hurt seems diminished.
I am at war with myself.
I find that it is more difficult now to know how to grieve than ever before. It was expected that I would cry. It was expected that I would be shaken.
But what now? What do I do with “now”? What do I with “forever”?
For the first year, the shock was so profound, the disbelief so intense, that every time the phone rang, every single time I went to get the mail, every time I opened the door…there was a part of me that held its breath. After months of this I realized that I was waiting. For something. Could it be now? Could this be the moment; the miracle; the answer; the call that will explain this all away? Every morning I woke up, looked at the empty spot next to me and knew that somewhere deep in my soul there was a tiny room where I was still on my knees, refusing to give up, refusing to hope for anything else then a complete reversal of everything that had happened. I never spoke it out loud. Never. I never even allowed the truth of those feelings to be spoken in my own head, for the acknowledgement of that woman on her knees, still begging God for something different, for a miracle still to take place, was a speech that had I let free would have saturated the air around me to such an extent, it would have stopped my ability to breath…because elsewhere, at the same time, I knew the truth. That phone call could never come. No envelope would hold an answer. No-one on the other side of the door would change a thing. It was done. It was finished. And at some point, I know not when, I had to force myself to go down into that little room, deep inside of me, to where I sat rocking on my knees, to where my face was to the floor, begging Him, over and over and over, crying out to him for mercy, and do the unthinkable. I had to open the door and walk in, just as in the hospital I had to do with each of my children, and I had to destroy that last piece of that broken woman's reality. I told her that there was no longer any chance that he was coming home. I looked as the last measure of hope drained out her eyes; watched as she pulled herself shakily to her feet and walked slowly to the door where she looked back one long, last time; and cried as she shut it, knowing it would never, not ever, be opened again.
There is something incredibly traumatic about taking away a person’s hope, even, I now know, if it is your own. I am of course, grateful for another hope, the knowledge that he is not dead but alive and on the days where my faith is slightly larger than a mustard seed and I can hold that close to me, it brings a different hope; a hope that provides the nutrients to a belief that I…we…will see him again. But our hope for the here, for the now, has been extinguished. And the pain of that reality, the slow shuffling, reluctant and suffocating peers into the world of “acceptance" is a whole new world of suffering in its own right.
Someone recently commented that I looked different; that my countenance was beginning to change, and it made him happy to see it. It was at that point that I first uttered the above aloud, even to myself. I said that for that past year I had been waking up every morning desperately asking that God would change my reality. It was only recently that I realized that I now awoke knowing, undeniably, that my reality would be staying… the same. My question has now become, “Lord, what do you now want me to do with my new reality?”
I think this is a good question. It is my question, the question of my heart. One of them, anyways.
But this shift from the grieving mantra of “please, please, please make this all go away” to “okay, I get it, this is now my life”…is incredibly difficult to bear. It is an excruciating mind shift from the pain-of-the-now to the reality-of-the-forever. It is the every-single-day-from-here-on-out. It is the knowing that nothing can or will ever change what has happened and while many had quickly come to the conclusion that our lives will have to continue on in this new altered way, this news has actually just been broken to me, down in my little, hidden room where I was psychologically and secretly holding onto the smallest and saddest of hopes that somehow, someway, everything could supernaturally be different. Because He’s God. Because He could.
If He wanted to.
Secretly holding on to this thought in such a way that it was a secret even to myself (I would assume this would be the clinical definition of denial) and even though it took well over a year, I think that I am still in the process of understanding that sadly He has chosen to say... no. The timing of this could easily seem unbelievable... if you have not been the one down in the little room, rocking back and forth on your knees in agony.
He said no.
And I am a little angry. Again. And very hurt. And holding back my tears in every conversation I have whether it be about the accident, the kids, or the weather. And I am having nightmares and cannot sleep and while I would like to blame my lack of writing on my two older girls who I am now convinced were somehow genetically mutated in the womb and born physically attached to a computer without my ever noticing until now, the truth is I am struggling to figure out which thoughts should be set free, in any form, and which should not. I know I have been hiding from my own processing.
Because it hurts? Or, maybe because in so many ways, I would really just rather not know.
As much as I try to walk this out as honestly and truthfully as I can, there are seasons where the pain is just too great. Its just too great. But I need to know where else I am hiding in my secret little room, holding on to something that cannot happen; that will not happen. And when the time comes, I will have to break it to myself again and again until it is real. But only as the time comes, I suppose. For now, and I pray this does not sound trite or bizarre, it is enough to know that there is perhaps secretly much being poured out in the depths of my heart. All is meaningful. All will evenutally need to be placed on the altar, soaked in tears, in the knowledge that it must be somehow given back into His hands, and annointed over and over again with the question: What is it Lord that you want me to do with this?