Sunday, January 28, 2024

I'm Not The Same Me I Was Before

It's Sunday, and my goal for church was just to make it through.  I did.

But I think I might have done a little more than that, too. There was hope and guidance, and only a couple of times when I teared up. 

I'm trying, kiddo, I really am. I still miss you dreadfully, but it also feels kinda selfish. 

You were done, so done. You worked so hard to stay, to be here, I think in part because of me. And now you're gone anyway.

So I can sit here in my grief, or I can try to channel it to help others. Frankly, for a while, it will probably be some of both. 

I've learned I do need to lean into the pain when I feel it, not stuff it, not deny it, and oh my baby, it still hurts so bad. I cry every day still, sometimes quiet tears and sometimes sobs that wrack my body and leave me yelling in pain. My heart and lungs hurt, my arms ache to hold you. I see other angel moms and they seem to get to the point where they can be at peace, and I am hopeful that someday I will, too. 

So I'm getting to where I need to choose to help others. 

And I need to go to the Source for relief. Someone said today that Christ is the Master of relief, and I believe He is. But I also know He knows my pain and hurts with and for me. The first thing He did when approaching Mary and Martha was weep with them. That tiny verse, the smallest in the Bible, "Jesus wept" holds so much love and insight into grief.  He stopped and mourned. He didn't say, "hey, just hold on, let Me take care of things. You'll have your brother back if you just give me a minute." He acknowledged them and their feelings and didn't dismiss them. He loved them and hurt for their hurt.

So I know He knows. He knows all of it. How my heart broke that night, how it still breaks. And He knows how to hold me and strengthen me, and He will be there for me through it all. 

And I trust that He will bring me through and help me find my way. I won't be the same "me." I'm not the same me I was, and maybe that's okay. In fact, I know it is. Frankly, I don't even remember the me I was before you were born. But I'm not sure who I am now, either.

I was realizing this morning that my life has completely and fundamentally changed from the way it's been for more than 32 years.  Thirty-two years ago, Deborah was born, then Mary and David, and the rest. I used to joke that if I ever got out of diapers, we'd never have another kid. Well, it took until the 23rd of last month to get out of diapers, and it was a sudden, unexpected and very unwelcome change. 

But more than the diapers, I've been responsible for a child who needed care for 32 years. Michael was not yet four when you were born; much too young to be left to his own devices (although sometimes he seemed to think he was).  I have had primary responsibility for a child (or multiple children) for that whole time, and now, I'm really not.

Michael may still be technically a minor, and your other siblings will tell you they need me, but honestly, they're all pretty self-sufficient. And Michael will leave home this summer, so I really won't have anyone I'm "responsible" for, not really. 

I know they say the job of a parent is to work yourself out of a job, but I think most of us can see it coming from a long ways away. 

I didn't.

And it's hard. 

I miss you. And I miss me, too. 

There are tragedies in life that change us forever,
the person we once were mistakenly listed among the survivors.
~ Robert Brault 

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