While death separates us from our loved one it also creates a common bond between complete strangers whose own similar sorrow must be shared like the very oxygen we breathe, the sleep that evades us, the dreams we may dream if sleep comes, all the holidays and events that once had a familiar joy created by traditions, unfulfilled dreams, the persistent pain of loss, bereft….left with questions that go unanswered. Our collective voice cannot be silent. It begs for solace.
We wish to understand. We wish to be understood. We wish that grief was not malignant and unforgiving. We wish our loved ones to fill the empty chairs. We wish for them to erase the granite markers. We wish they could be present with us….to live and be all they could have been. We wish.
Philip’s mom writes: “What wildness there is in grief. What unpredictability. And exhaustion. I’m tired of this crazy ride, I’m tired of missing Philip. Crying won’t bring him back, but I do it anyway. When words won’t come, tears take their place.”…taken from http://forphilip.com/2014/11/03/give-my-life-live-my-life/
Grief is unpredictable in its predictability. Tears have become a part of us in a most cathartic way. If we did not have them we would implode. Grief has become almost a gift. A way to cope. The shortest verse in the Bible tells us that “Jesus wept.” Yes, He became grieved in order to share in our grief. Not one tear has been shed that He has not kissed. Our hearts are known by Him even when we cannot speak.
Living in the face of grief/death has got to be the worst of our struggles on this earth. I sometimes think we could take on any disease or challenge but not death, most especially our children’s death. The only way we can manage is to be assured that death has been defeated by Christ on the cross. No other god or gods proclaim they are the living God…the One who is alive and loves us and welcomes us into His Kingdom. How comforting is that? Why would be ever refuse to be with our loving heavenly Father…our loved ones again? This the peace that I have…true peace. This kind of peace is available to everyone.
My sanity has been my belief that I will be reunited with my son again. That this is not our home. Brandon has gone on to be with Jesus…with his grandparents, friends, and others. He has seen the face of God. He now knows everything. There are no mysteries where he resides. Love surrounds him more than ever.
My friend writes
: “I’m so tired of Philip being dead, so weary of what I now carry. I know death, I want to scream; I know death. And it is not the end, it is not anything like the end. In fact, it’s endless. And relentless. You can’t reason with it, you can’t stop it, and once it’s come you can’t make it go away.” http://forphilip.com/2014/11/03/give-my-life-live-my-life/
Death can beat us up. The first several years were intolerable. My days were wished away from minute to minute. My tears could have overflowed the Gulf of Mexico. I was damaged. I was tired, looked tired, but sleep was elusive. This last year..the fifth year, has been softer even though there are days that I isolate myself and wish the world away and that my Brandon would call me…just call and laugh….be the funny boy that cared. Going through his things..his photos…are still painful. I guess they always will be.
I have come to accept that grief keeps me humble and always mindful that I have one foot in heaven and one foot in this world. One day both feet will be on the golden streets of Heaven. I have a future “somewhere over the rainbow”…in a place of perfection and love. I must remember that my son is already experiencing this awesomeness. It is so hard for a mother to take herself out of the nurturing position of mothering and give it over to the Creator of all things..our heavenly Father who loves us so much more than any human mother could. We have to trust and know in our hearts that God is in control.
Part of sharing our common bond of grief and loss is facing the almost uncontrolled notion that somehow we have control over life and death. Perhaps, it comes from the fact that birthing is part of the human experience, that our ability to create life gives us over to a certain feeling of empowerment. It is very difficult to disconnect from that thought. Although, death has a way of humbling us…letting us know we are not in control of the two most basic parts of our existence…life and death. We are given a lot of responsibility as parents. We love deeply and we grieve even deeper because of that love. We assume guilt when a child dies even when there is no guilt to be had. We are a conflicted mess when death comes calling. Even though we know death will come, we are still not prepared for it. There is no order in death. Children do die before their parents.
Because my son’s death was ruled a suicide, I have assumed a terrible unrelenting sense of guilt. All of my questions have been about me…what did I do wrong? It has never been about others so much as it has been about me. I have tried to blame others and surely there is enough to go around. I have even thought murder by others. I have been on a vicious cycle. In the beginning, I did not know what to do with it. Now, I know that I can offer that guilt to God in exchange for the peace that He would rather I have. I just have to embrace it and never let go. Believe me, there are days when sadness strikes and I am a vulnerable host for all kinds of undeserved thoughts. I do not battle them alone. God is with me.
If there is anything I could share with other grieving parents or anyone who has lost a loved one it is the peace that will come and does come to our hearts. While we cannot have our loved ones here again….we can have them in a kinder, lovelier place made especially for God’s children. We can be there with them one day. Peace is a condition of our hearts and minds when we have resolved to accept it. I wish you peace.