The Heartache Of Grief

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt like writing anything. I’ve been thinking, processing and getting through each day.

I’m not sure what measures other grieving parents take to get through this grieving process.

Is it a process? It just feels like a mumbled jumbled mess of goo.img_1819

Oh yes, I know, I look fine on the surface I can still smile, I can still laugh, things I’ve naturally done since I was a baby!

Those things actually come pretty easy for me. That has to be a gift from above. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” ~ Proverbs 17:22

My dad has that ability too. No matter how tough times are, we can manage a joke and a smile.

I’ll never forget last April after he was recovering from surgery that almost killed him. Only 2 & 1/2 months after Billy was murdered.

I had brought my dad home from a 3 week stay at the hospital (which was supposed to be a 2 day stay) to my house to care for him.

I really enjoyed having him here even though it took a lot to nurse him back to health.

One day we took a walk and I said “all right dad time for a selfie.”

We looked in the camera, we smiled, we looked at our smiling faces and I said “Well ,we’ve got them all fooled don’t we.” His response was “Yep,we sure do. We fooled them all.”

Taking a walk on the road to healing

My father is still grieving and will continue to grieve for my dear mother who died 4 & 1/2 years ago. She was his everything. You never saw one without the other. They did everything together, they always wanted to be together, and now he is half of a whole.

I know the experts say that there are stages of grief.

I would disagree.

It’s certainly not like the stages we all go through at birth.

There are guidelines and timelines for eating, sleeping, teething, growing, crawling and walking. What should a baby be doing at 6 months, 12 months and beyond.

The books and articles are ever changing the methods and how to’s, but the expectations for baby phases and stages are the same.

No one can tell you what to expect when your child dies.

The thing with death is, it’s different for every single person who is dealing with the aftermath. I am right past the one year mark.

Billy was my child. He was connected to me in the womb. My body was the space where he was formed and grew. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”~Psalm 139:13

Billy made me a Mother.

To have him ripped away, to know that there is no more future for him or for our relationship to change and grow on this earth…

No more milestones.

He will never get married, he will never have more children, (and I thank God every day for Logan.) He will never take care of me in my old age the way that I was able to care for my father when he came home from the hospital.

Those facts are heartbreaking.

I mentioned many times in conversations with my husband and when talking about our adult children in small groups, that I remember.

I remember the ages and stages of children and especially teenagers and young adults. I was extended so much grace. To look at my life one might have said “she’s a mess, what is she doing??”

I would agree, but my heart was moving in the right direction. I wanted so much to not be a mess, to be whole. That took some time for me. That took some situations that I had created, for me to hit rock bottom and to realize that I can’t do this on my own. I am failing miserably.

For lack of a better word picture,Jesus take the wheel!img_1817

I was 27 years old which for some might seem really old. Especially since we are all expected to know which direction we are going in life by the time we graduate from high school at the age of 17 or 18.

It took me a whole decade, two marriages, two divorces, two babies, and lots and lots of failures to get those A-HA moments. I was like the ball in a pinball machine. Pinging all over the place with no rhyme or reason.img_1818

I always had that age in my head for Billy. 27. It just took us a little bit longer than some people. That’s OK.

Is there a timeline for getting your life together and getting things figured out and learning things about yourself and finally giving Jesus the wheel without always trying to kick him out and take it back?

Now, 27 sounds young to me! 18 years ago for me. A whole childhood.

27 is an age that Billy never had the opportunity to get to because he was murdered at the age of 25.

Sometimes the only thing that I can do is to focus on eternity because it’s the only way I can cope.

I have to force the other thoughts out of my head but the problem isn’t always my head, it’s my heart.

I also try to look at it like Billy got out of here.

He doesn’t have to deal with problems,sickness, bills, paying rent or mortgage, car payments, or bad days or retirement.

He made it. He’s now going from glory to glory. I don’t need to worry about him being cold or having enough money to pay his bills or whether or not he’s taking care of himself when he’s sick. He made it.

My dapper son, handsome as ever.

I’m still here. On this earth. I do what needs to be done but my steps feel heavy. My breath feels heavy. I can’t stop sighing.

A song from scripture will pop in my head “put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness “~ Isaiah 61:3

So heaviness is a spirit?

According to scripture it is.

Praise is a garment to put on. Like a garment of clothing but it can take every ounce of strength I can muster up to put it on.

I try to be present in the moment and find slivers of joy in my day.

Hearing my husbands laugh, watching my daughter Virginia diligently do homework, riding in the passenger seat while my son Robbie drives me around, reading bedtime stories to Logan and watching him point to the illustrations while excitedly and creatively telling me what they mean to him.

I do try. I smile. I cry.

I know that we choose our attitude. No one can choose it for us.

The physical affects of grief seem to be far reaching despite the mini bursts or even the marathon of a good attitude.

I could write a list right here of all the physical things that I have dealt with since my child died, but I won’t.

I am very aware of health and wellness. I have my health coach certification and I desire to take care of myself. I eat whole food, drink plenty of water, I exercise, I try to get plenty of rest, no drinking alcohol at all, but still the ailments of a broken heart I fight.

I pray. I get lost in the music and the memories.

I don’t think anyone has ever figured out the ” how too’s” of grief.

We each have our own story. Yours may sound somewhat like mine in someways, but just as our children were special and unique. So is the heartache that is grief. img_1815

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