Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about.
As you may have noticed, I stopped writing for a while. Life has an incredible way of interrupting things.
Our family is no stranger to hard things. We’ve learned with quite a bit of unsought experience that we can do very hard things. We can win and lose. We can say hello and goodbye. We can dance and grieve. We can try and fail. We can praise and cry out in grief. We can also reconsider and recalibrate when life interrupts. We have become very, very good at wondering “why.” We are becoming experts at carving out a new normal.
In early March, my ex-husband and father of my two youngest children had a heart attack and passed away. Until that moment, I had no idea just how hard a “hard thing” could be; and this coming from a woman who’s been through many, many hard things. Until I had to hold my daughter in my arms, sobbing on the bathroom floor, screaming in shock and devastation as she learned that her father was gone, I had no idea what it meant to be a mother in that capacity. Until I had to wrap my arms around my baby boy and try to explain to him that his very best friend in the whole world was dead, I had no comprehension of what it meant to be truly strong.
With the immeasurable love and support of family & friends, we’ve made it almost six months since Adrian’s passing. We put one foot in front of the other and we have survived. We’ve accepted the kind words, hot meals, and sincere prayers of people with the very best intentions. We have made space and places for cards, flowers, scriptures, and questions. We are also learning to be unafraid of our emotions.
In the midst of everything, I have found comfort in the knowledge that I don’t have to know all of the answers and that it is okay to be sad, mad, hurt, afraid, and confused. It has enabled me to teach my children that emotions are God-given. They are not demons to be avoided or rebuked. They are part of our eternal design and created to give our human minds and hearts the ability to process life experiences. We have adopted a new mantra in our family that the only way to the other side of a difficult experience is to walk right through it. One foot in front of the other. Even if it seems to be slow.
Shortly after Adrian passed, Ian and I sat on his bed and he told me that he had a question, but was afraid to ask it. I reminded him that there are no questions that are too big for God and that we are not ashamed of asking for help in any way in our home.
“Everybody keeps saying that God has a plan, Mom. Well, I want to know what is the plan? What is it?! And why does it have to be THIS? Why this?”
My children have been ruthless witnesses to this life of ours. They miss NOTHING. And they have questions. Fair questions. Human questions. Questions that I had no answers to…so, that’s what I told Ian when he asked.
“I don’t know, buddy. I am asking myself the same thing. The one thing I do know is that God is not afraid of my questions so I’m going to keep asking Him to show me what I need to know to be the very best I can be in this life no matter what happens.”
Life has an incredible way of interrupting things. It is also a master at shifting our perspectives and priorities. In the last six months, I have discovered that things I once valued greatly have started to pale. Social moments have been laid aside to make space for intimate bonding with my family. My calendar is less color-filled with projects and appointments and time is more intentionally and carefully planned and protected; because I have a fresh reminder of how valuable life is…how fleeting.
I have become more and more aware of my audience – of the ruthless witnesses that are watching and hanging on every word and reaction. I have become more aware of people that are struggling to understand the motives behind my choices and decisions and words and even my distance. I get it. This season of our life is not a season with which they are familiar personally and I pray that it never is. The truth is that I’m less apologetic than I used to be. I feel less and less of a need to say “I’m sorry” that we are working through something that doesn’t just go away with time. I’ve also become much more aware of the fact that I am not the same person I was before this event in our lives. None of us are.
Life has an incredible way of interrupting things.
I know I keep repeating that statement, but it’s a fact that bears repetition. And the tough truth of the matter is that even as we step through the process of healing, one of the most difficult things that we have to face is not just that someone we love is gone, but that we are left here to figure out how to live without them.
I am not a grief counselor. I am not a therapist. What I am is one woman, who has lost countless close loved ones, who is now teaching my children how to navigate these waters with grace and hope. Simply in talking with others who have been through similar circumstances, I know that we are not alone in ours, which means that there are others out there who are figuring this out also.
With that note, I’m going to spend the next few posts sharing some of the lessons we are learning along the way. If this is stuff that is too heavy or uncomfortable for you or “kills your vibe”, feel free to unfollow me now. It will not hurt my feelings.
The one thing I will say for now is that we are all okay. And we are getting to be more okay as each day passes.