On some days, I am well aware that I should not answer the phone because of how I am feeling. By that I mean, grieving, sad…thinking about the might-have-beens. Today I did not answer the phone but instead returned the call, thinking it may have been important.
A friend called to ask how I was doing since she had not seen me at church yesterday. Of course, this friend is one of those who asks the question not really wanting to know the answer. It is this friend who has cut me off several times in mid sentence to change the subject if I begin to speak about my son and my great loss. It is not subtle but rather a “I am uncomfortable with YOUR grief” so therefore let’s change the subject and talk about what I really called to talk about…ME. This has happened often with this friend. She has even implied that I should be “moving on” in my grief. She has not suffered the loss of a child. She is in her 70’s and has only experienced that “expected death” of a parent. This friend has a seemingly good heart and does a lot to help other people but she is intolerant of my sadness. So I let the phone ring…and ring…and she left a message and even when I should not have returned her call…I did. For a moment, I thought it might be a time when I could share my pain and get some kind of encouragement or just an ear. I don’t expect people to have answers. I don’t expect them to be able to have the right words but sometimes their sympathetic ear or perhaps even their comforting voice will suffice. I feel very much alone when all seem to have “moved on” and no longer understand that my loss is for a lifetime. Every single day is just another day that emphasizes that loss and I am trying desperately to find peace, all the while, trying to remember my son in each new day without coming unglued. I think mothers who have lost a child take a while to find their footing. The undulating ground is always compromised by our grief. We may be standing tall and sure one moment to find the ground gives way in another. All our tomorrows are of loss and the fear of more loss. It is the definitive aspect of this pain.
When we who have suffered loss, and I will be specific here…loss to suicide, we are harmed in ways that not even the experienced griever can know. In fact, I have even hesitated to respond to other bloggers who have lost a child to another cause for fear that they may think that I have some nerve…when my child seemingly did not want to live and theirs did…but were taken anyway by accident or cancer. A sad irony, I know. If they would only know that that is not the case with suicides. Theirs was not a “choice” as has always been accepted in the past. They were forced into it through no will of their own but rather by disease, catastrophic events, etc…One only has to do a little research on the subject to discover the biological answers to this kind of death.
I have always thought of myself as compassionate and caring. At least, that is how my heart wants to be. If I have ever cut anyone off in mid-sentence when they were sharing their deepest grief….it was purely unintentional. Who can know the intentions of the heart except God and self?
I realize that I am the doorkeeper to my days…I will allow you in or I won’t. Except for grief…grief is the unwanted guest who came to stay. I really had no say in the matter of its unwelcome presence but then I must remember: It is my “thorn in the flesh.” ( 2 CORINTHIANS 12:7 *NIV ) I will guard what I can, knowing that God is truly the one who reigns over my heart and mind…even in my frailties. I can make it through only because: “THEREFORE I WILL BOAST ALL THE MORE GLADLY ABOUT MY WEAKNESS, SO THAT CHRIST’S POWER MAY REST ON ME. THAT IS WHY, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I DELIGHT IN WEAKNESSES, IN INSULTS, IN HARDSHIPS, IN PERSECUTIONS, IN DIFFICULTIES. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM
STRONG.” ( 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10 )
If my well-meaning friends (Friends of Job, I call them) call on a good day, maybe I will return the call…if they call on a bad day they can leave a message. Maybe I will trust my instincts.