Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 74


August 18, 2013

Day 74

Summer is officially over now.  Tomorrow morning I will be up before 7 to get Ben onto the school bus.  It will be another couple of weeks before I start homeschool with the others, but Ben’s summer seems to determine the official start and finish of the rest of ours now that he attends school full time and has for several years.  We didn’t have a summer, I don’t think.  Although, it will be one we will never, ever forget.  Ben’s last day of school was June 3 and his dad died in the early morning hours of June 6, altering all the rest of the summer and, indeed, the rest of our lives.  We were going to relax this summer.  There was going to be camp for the boys, Paul counseling Will’s cabin for the last time, South Dakota…and I’m sure Paul would have snuck in a camping trip or two (maybe the summer we ended up having wasn’t all bad? :).  Instead, we buried Paul and spent the rest of the time trying to figure out how we were going to live without him.

I seem to write on Sunday nights a lot.  It’s because Sundays are harder days for me – lots of things to remember.  Today, it was Paul’s singing I missed.  I even stood in our pew, trying to pretend I could still hear him.  Paul was blessed with a really nice singing voice.  I remember when he was trying to work up the courage to sing publicly the first time.  We were just dating.  I encouraged him by informing him he had the best singing voice in the history of all mankind (young women in love tend to be a bit effusive) and that said mankind would be blessed to hear him.  He eventually did it and got better with time.  He loved to sing and there were many times in church I wished he would sing more quietly.  But if it was a song he particularly liked, there was no stopping him – he was going to belt it out.  He always embarrassed me when he’d put his own little spin on certain songs with the melodies and such.  He felt my elbow in his side a lot.  Whenever he’d miss a note or his voice would crack, I’d always look at him sideways and he’d grin sheepishly at me…I miss him.  And I just wish I could have him sitting beside me one last time in church.  I wouldn’t care what he did at all with his singing, as long as he was with me.

I looked down our pew today and it was with a certain amount of satisfaction that I noted 6 heads – all the kids were there together.  But that realization also came with the painful reminder that there will always be one missing from our pew – forever.

I was doing some reading on another widow’s blog last night.  I have to read it in small doses, I am finding.  She commented that God never intended we humans to bear this kind of grief.  Well, really, any grief, I suppose, if you think about it.  Death was never part of His plan for us.  So our bodies and emotions aren’t even equipped to handle this kind of pain.  That said, God enables (otherwise, anyone who has ever dealt with any sort of grief would not survive themselves) and, as I can bear witness to, He carries.

The author also likened grief to a box in a room.  I liked this analogy.  There are days that box can be kind of moved aside, pushed to the corner, so that we can get around it and do the things that must be done.  I’ve experienced that plenty already.  I’m doing what needs to be done.  I’m not doing it well, necessarily, but it is getting done.  Most days I am not a weepy mess, at least outwardly.  But then, the author said, there are times that box swells in size.  It sits in the center of the room and the contents spill out and there is just no getting around that box.  And I’ve been there, too.  Moments of grief completely overwhelm me and I have to drop whatever I am doing and simply succumb.  I remember at camp a couple of  weeks ago laying on my bunk.  I had been reading awhile before and my kindle was still nearby.  Will walked in and asked, “Reading a sad book?”  For a brief moment I thought about nodding, but instead I was honest and said, “No – I’m just missing your dad.”  I cried a lot that day.

I cry a lot when I am driving.  We live so far out that to get anywhere is usually a half hour drive.  When I am alone in the van, I am forced to sit still for that long of period of time and my thoughts tend to run around without much distraction.  I have learned to keep the tissue box in the passenger seat.  I cry in Sunday School because I’m sitting all alone and the kids are in their classes.  I cry in the bathtub and I often cry while blogging (there are also tissues on my desk now).  I think it’s all normal.  And even if it’s not, I’m not too worried about it.  Uncoupling is painful work.

I’ve been bothered lately about Paul’s death.  While we waited for the ambulance, I should have stayed with him.  I just left him.  I remember asking Will if he thought we should put his legs down on the floor, but he said, “No!  Don’t move him!”  So I didn’t.  I’m sure he was already gone by then, but why didn’t I sit with him?  I scurried around at first, getting dressed, getting a bag ready with clothes for him.  And help didn’t come and it didn’t come.  I went outside and then I went back in to Paul and then I went back out and Will was hurting so badly and physically shaking with fear that I went to him and held him.  But I didn’t sit with Paul.  But yet, I was convinced we were going to the hospital and I knew I’d be with Paul then and Will needed me right then.  There’s no real right way to act when your life is imploding before your eyes, I guess.  But I still wish I would have sat beside Paul, at least for a little bit. 

This spring I began to experience a real fear that I was about to lose someone dear to me.  I haven’t shared this before because it’s one of those things that only seems significant in light of events that occurred later.  But starting about January I began to have this feeling that I was about to lose a loved one to death.  In my mind, it was a car accident and I was fearful that it was Will – which makes sense, since he drives and he’s young – although he is a very good driver.  At the same time I was beginning to feel honest feelings of grief about Will’s graduation and plans for college.  I hated the thought of our family breaking up, even for natural events like this.  I reasoned that was the source of my scary feelings about impending death, that they were wrapped up with my grief feelings of having my oldest leave and start his own life.  I wasn’t choked by fear because of what I reasoned the true source of my fear was.  But when those feelings would come, the thought of losing a child was so incredibly painful that I couldn’t stand to even think about it for long.

I’ve realized now that I no longer fear death.  The worst has happened. And I have survived.  When I think about losing a child to death now, I am not scared.  Of course, it’s nothing I want to happen, but I don’t experience the crushing pain that used to come with that kind of thought.  I used to be really scared, too, about the possibility of losing my house to fire or tornado (which is a good fear to have when you live in the Midwest!).  Again, it’s nothing I ever hope happens, but if it does – I’ll survive.  I suppose it could be a touch of fatalism – what will be, will be, and I’m helpless to prevent it – kind of thinking.  But I’m not so sure that’s what it is.  Losing my mate has turned out to be the most incredibly gut-wrenching, soul-searing, and agonizing event of my entire life.  And yet…I’m still standing.  How that is, I do not know, because as painful as this is, I feel like I should be curled up in a fetal position, begging for the sweet release of death.  There are moments that that is the position I am in.  But the rest of the time – I’m upright.  Ah, but what is unseen are the invisible hands that are holding me upright…there’s nothing in myself that gives me the strength day after day.  I tried to explain this to the older boys today.  I think I offended David.  I suppose I should sit down with him and explain again that it is not that I “hope he dies!”, as he accused me (the sooner this kid gets through puberty, the better…).  It’s just that if it happens, things will still be ok – eventually, anyway.

For the past two days, I have had this hymn running through my mind.  I think I must have read something in regards to Psalm 91 and it triggered the memory of this hymn.  I can’t actually even remember the last time we sung it in church, but it’s ok, because I actually know most of the words and have been singing them to myself – very comforting.

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.
Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.























































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