Grief: What will you remember (3)


 Grief: What will you remember? (3)

Let us go to a funeral in our mind for a moment. What will or did you really remember about the funeral.  Oh, you might remember the people that were there and be very thankful people came to the funeral.  Maybe people even came by and brought food for the family as well…but then the silence of your heart comes.

That is the part I really remember. How alone I felt no matter who was around.  I missed my son and his beautiful smile and silky hair.  I remember the hugs and all the times he would tell me he loved me.  

At first there were people around and they tried to help and did to a point…but they didn’t understand the void in my soul at that moment.  Yes, they had lost people and had their own pains, but no one really knows the total depth of another’s loss. We all grieve differently even though all go through some of the same emotions.

I got lost in myself (maybe selfish but I could not deal).  I didn’t realize the pain others were also facing by his death.  I had 5 kids and now one of my beautiful kids was gone.  My oldest…the one who always was more a man than a boy and always said the right things.  I wasn’t going to see him again in this life.

I got to thinking about all the things and joy he brought to me as a baby, toddler, child, teenager, and young man.  He was the fixer when his siblings would argue.  He was the one who offered great advice way beyond his years.  He was the child every mother and father dream of having…but he had brothers and sisters and they missed him as well.  All the kids were a total delight even on bad days, and they were all loved.  Anyone of them would have devastated my soul.

I can see his beautiful face at the funeral lying in the casket and at that time knowing the one that killed him was free and had a life in front of him.  I sat and wept uncontrollably inside while he went home to his parents never really understanding the pain that came to all of us who loved him.

So let me talk about many of the pains in the days ahead.  Maybe you have felt all of them or part of them, or maybe not any of them.  As I said we grieve differently. 

What  flashes before your eyes when you think about the one you love being gone?  (Again, grief doesn’t always mean people).  Do you know how much death is really impersonal?  It really is.  It happens to all of us losing someone or something that is dead to us in one way or another.  Everyone on the planet (unless Jesus returns before our time to take us home) will die.  We all have a date in some way written In heaven and that day will come to all.  We can’t get out of life without dying (again, unless Jesus comes for us first).  Well I have felt the sting of pain losing many people in my life, but I am only writing here about my son.  Each person who left my life though left it in different ways and caused different amounts of pain in my heart. 

Death is truly a condition of life.  The instant we are born we begin the downward spiral of dying.  Oh, we haven’t grown up yet right? That is correct, but at the same time our life is coming to an end.  How? We don’t know exactly but it will come.  If we could really only see that all death is a part of life and that if we are saved…we will see those that left again.  Death happens to us all so we are not special in this…we all go sometime.  IT DOES NOT MEAN WE DON’T HURT!  I hurt, you hurt when you lost someone, and someone will hurt when we go.  That is just what happens.

I can tell you that I cried at times rivers.  How a body can produce so many tears I do not know, but at some point you get up and the tears are not quite as often or as emotional.  No, that does not mean you forgot any part of it, but God put something in us that said, “There is a time to mourn”.  God knows we will mourn.

There are times I cry just because we live in a fallen world and I see so many hurting and people crying out in pain.  In my mind I don’t understand the hatred that makes people kill others, torture them, abuse them, or any other thing that causes them pain.  It is bad enough we have to normally go through the pain…but those that deliberately cause it…I don’t understand.  This should not be. I can’t shield anyone from pain really.  God gives us family to love and care for.  He gives us family to pray for, and we do all we can to protect them…but we can’t possibly protect them from everything. 

I remember my son.  I lost so much more that what someone would just call my son.  He meant the world to me.  He was the one I had when I was so young and we kind of grew up together.  He was wise beyond his years.  In my mind when he was gone…I seemed to lose my very purpose to live.  That sounds mean knowing I had a family I needed and who needed me, but pain isn’t exactly wise. 

I remember all the days I just went through without emotions even.  I existed and sometimes even in chaos.  What in the world was I doing?  Why did I do what I did and say the things I said? I don’t know!!! My life didn’t have boundaries even. I didn’t really expect anything in my life.  Plans? What were plans? I existed in a world but where was I?

There were many times I would think of my son and see him in as a little baby and his first words, or when he walked or whatever.  I could smell his hair and see his smile, and at other  times I could not even remember what he looked like.  I went through emotions I didn’t even know people could have.  I was so tired inside I wondered what in the world got me up each day.  I tried to put a smile on my face, but I am sure there were many days I had this blank look and felt like the end was near.

I was rocked in soul beyond belief at times.  Nothing! At times I felt nothing. At times I felt a myriad of emotions.  I am sure I was not easy to live with.  Things that should not have bothered me did, and things that should bother me didn’t.  Who the heck was I? Why was I alive and my beautiful son was dead?

I could look at things he liked, listen to music he liked, see things that were his and at times was overwhelmed and at other times…nothingness!  I felt I had been robbed, beaten, and raped of life all at once…and for what?  For some young man who got drunk and accosted a women and then killed my son.  Grief can be excruciating pain. 

Did you know (most likely you do if you have lost someone) that life can feel meaningless.  Is anything truly important?  Why? Why not?  There were many times I just wished no one was around because them being around meant I had to interact and at times that was the last thing I ever wanted to do.  Grief is like a wordless cry…no words are good enough to make you feel better.  Yet, at other times you would give anything to have someone talk to you and encourage you to feel better.  The one thing I did notice and many have told me is that right after the funeral people hang around…but the they stop coming and calling and go on with their lives…and you…well you are alone and feeling every moment of it.  The pain, at times, was gut-wrenching and totally debilitating. Yet what about my other kids? Had I forgotten them and their needs? Was I there for them or do I have to feel guilt now for that as well?  Oh the things that run through our mind.

There are times you think should I be in more pain? How do others see my grief? Do they think I don’t care? Do they think I cared to much?  Boy, do our lives change at the death of someone we love and we didn’t give anyone permission to cause us this horrible pain inside.  No one asked us if it was okay to kill our child or other loved one.  Make this pain stop!  Those we love in life are those that keep us on the right road and moving forward and when they go unexpectedly it just shouldn’t be yet it happens each and every day to someone.  Someone woke up this morning and walked out the door to go somewhere and bam….dead. 

I always dreaded the day I would ever get a call that any of my loved ones was dead.  Even though I knew somehow since he was a baby he was going to die.  How? I don’t know.  I just knew and I knew the person who would do it would drive a truck.  When he talked about dying all the week or so before I tried to ignore it…yet I remember the look on his face that last time I saw him…he knew.  When the Indian police called…I knew before they told me yet we don’t want to believe or accept it. 

I can tell you that after his death I had no planning.  It could be one day or a million days and plans were not important to me.  My personal world was corrupted by an uncontrollable happening in my life and I was not ready to deal with it…nor is anyone.  Even when we know someone is sick and going to die we still feel the bitter pain of it when they do go. The loss of the one we so loved.

During grief our brain goes into what I would call lala land, but doctors would call it something else. To me it was just lala land.  We are detached and seem to be in a world of slow motion.  It is like the world going around but it isn’t moving right.  There is really nothing that can get us ready for the loss of a child.  I am not saying that the loss of anyone is not as bad…but children should not die before their parents do.  However, on many occasions they do.

I was working in a hospital as a chaplain.  We could choose the area of the hospital we wanted to work in or ones that we didn’t feel we could work in.  I could not deal with the children’s ward especially the kids that were dying with cancer.  I would see those precious little hurting faces and the looks of the parents and my heart ached for them.  I remember once on an elevator it stopped on their floor and a mom pushing her little son in a wheel chair got on the elevator.  He took his moms hand and said, “Mommy it is okay. I’m okay.  I saw Jesus and I get to go live with him until you come”.  OMG it was all I could do to get off the elevator without breaking down.  His mom smiled at his little face and held his hand but you knew…you just knew the pain she was feeling.  Parents should not have to bury their children, but I am not God so I don’t know why.

Death is like an alien invasion coming to earth and invading our family and taking someone up out of it and we never get them back.  It doesn’t feel right.  We go into a face of emergency feeling and we want off the ride and our life back…but it doesn’t come back in the same form.  There is a loss that we have to deal with.  Maybe it will be fast and maybe it will take eons to us to get over, but one day we will.

 No, we will not act the same when someone dies.  We all will act like we feel and there is no wrong way to grieve no matter what anyone tells you.  You must go through stages yes, but your stages won’t all act the same or take the same length to get through.  Take for instance a birthday of a loved one who has died.  You might reflect on the good things about the person, and I might fall apart because I miss them so much I can’t possibly breath today.  Wrong? No. Just different for each of us.  In time though we learn to make it through the tough times and go on.  To me…it is like at times I must have that look back even though I know nothing on this earth can bring him back…I still miss him.  I do, however, know that He was saved and I will get to see him again and that thought keeps me going.

There were hundreds if not more emotions, feelings, actions, seeing his face, circumstances, and a myriad of things that brought him into my heart and mind…for a moment at times…and pretty soon those thoughts became more good feelings than bad ones.  I knew where he was and that gave me peace.  It was me that I felt sorry for.  I could write a book just on different things, but I won’t.  I’ll just give you a glimpse into my heart regarding him.  We all have those glimpses into the lives of those we have loved and lost. 

One of the hardest things for me was someone asking me how many kids I have.  I dreaded that question beyond words.  Maybe you did as well, or maybe that was not something that made you feel bad.  To me…I dreaded it.

What is really normal behavior when you lose someone? First week, first month? First year?  There is no normal people no matter what  you are told. 

Please come back for another part of grief.  I will go through it all over time and hope that it helps you or someone you know.  Whatever you learn that helps please share it.  We need each other so much in this crazy world of today and yet we are further and further apart from those in our life that we need.  Texting seems to be easier than talking, and social media more than meeting.  Sometimes we just need that amazing hug  from someone in our life that makes our day.

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