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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Confess and Purpose

I must confess that I have never walked a path such as this. The loss of Gretta has been overwhelming and a cross I would never choose to bear. Still, it is what it is. I have formal training in carrying crosses. God has entrusted our family with this trial, I cannot see His whole plan and do not pretend to understand it wholly. Still, I trust Him.

Sometimes the grief is all consuming and expression of it takes a form I do not plan. It becomes all that I can see and all that I am willing to see. Still I do trust that God sees what I cannot see, God knows what I cannot know and He has allowed this in our lives for reasons I may not understand.

I need to say that I am willing. Inside me I have moments of outrage and I am inconsolable. Even in those moments I have some peace because I trust in my Heavenly Father much,much more than I trust myself or anyone around me. I am willing to bear this cross of suffering, because that is what it is, simply because He has imposed it on me and I trust Him. I am also willing to reach out to the conclusions laid before me by this loss: I will trust God, I will grow as a person in many ways, I will never be who I was before and that is a good thing, I will fail, I will disappoint people, I will through God's grace encourage others, I will make it through this with the help of many people and I will strive to do it graciously.

There have been so many people before me that have suffered so much the worse. I have heard from them, I have read about them and I feel them connected to me. I had a perfect child, beautiful in everyway and although she was taken from me far sooner than I could imagine, she is in a place that is perfect already and Gretta is missing out on all the suffering of this world. I am happy for her and why shouldn't I be? It is to her benefit that God called her home. The Bible says, "To live is Christ but to die is GAIN". It is my own selfish self that grieves and I am not trivializing the pain or grief, it is the human way and it is uncontrollable most of the time. Yet, Gretta is not sad, it is we who grieve for the loss, not she. She, I know, rejoices, just as the Angels of Heaven rejoiced the day she went home to her Saviour.

I accepted this grief willingly when it came upon us; but I still cried out, "NO God, please NO!" He heard me I am sure and He answered, "Yes Lesley, Yes!" I am willing each day to bear it however debilitating it can be. I will be honest in my grief as it comes to me, I will go through it with as much grace as God gives me, but I will say what I feel so that I can continue to go "through it" not around, beside or behind this grief.

How shall I bear the cross that now
So dread a weight appears?
Keep quietly to God, and think
Upon the Eternal Years.
E.W. Faber

I have purposed in my heart to return to a daily routine of prayer, reading of God's word and reflections of those who have gone before and suffered greatly. It helps to try and keep perspective. It helps, it does not solve.

Below I have listed a few of explanations of grief for bereaved parents, lovingly sent to me by my cousin Billie. They hit the mark for me and I want to share them with you, especially those of you who have not lost a child; because I understand that it is not easy to understand. Hopefully these comments below will help explain a little.

p.s. I realize that this blog differs extreme from yesterdays poem. I hope that you understand that if my heart cries out to God in the midst of the storm it is not because I am drowning but because I can still see HIS FACE on the shore and He beckons to me to SWIM not to be saved.

From One Grieving Parent To Another
You will always grieve to some extent for your lost child. You will always remember your baby and wish beyond wishes that you could smell her smell or hold his weight in your arms. But as time goes on, this wishing will no longer deplete you of the will to live your own life. - HORCHLER AND MORRIS 1994, 158

There is a need to talk, without trying to give reasons. No reason is going to be acceptable when you hurt so much. A hug, the touch of a hand, expressions of concern, a willing listener were and still are the things that have helped the most...The people who [were] the greatest help... [were] not judgmental. It's most helpful when people understand that [what is needed] is to talk about it and that this is part of the grief process. - DEFRAIN ET AL. 1991, 158, 163

There is no relationship like that of parent and child. It is unique and special...The bond between parent and child is so powerful that its strength endures time, distance, and strife. No loss is as significant as the loss of a child...On the death of a child, a parent feels less than whole. - ARNOLD AND GEMMA 1994, 25-27

Probably the most stressful and anxiety-provoking act in human existence is the separation of a woman from her newborn infant. The response to this, which humans share with most of the animal kingdom, is an overwhelming combination of panic, rage, and distress. - RUSKIN, IN HORCHLER AND MORRIS 1994,16

Parental grief is boundless. It touches every aspect of the parent's being...The range of expression of parental grief is wide...Some parents will express tears and hysteria openly. Others will silence these expressions and grieve inwardly...Despite the volumes of work on grief, the experience of grief seems to defy description... Definitions touch the fringes of grief but do not embrace its totality or reach its core...Grief is a complicated, evolving human process. Grief is a binding experience; its universality binds sufferers together. More is shared than is different. - ARNOLD AND GEMMA, IN CORR ET AL. 1991, 50-52, 55

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is! - Neugeboren 1976, 154


michelle said...

For you are they strongest person I know. You are my insperation in life. Your words move me. I am soo sorry. love always michelle

A day in the Life... said...

Beautiful post..

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I am encouraged by your strength and continue to lift you up in prayer to our great God who offers comfort beyond anything we can imagine.

Jay said...

Oh, my dearest fellow mama, I am so sorry. My beliefs are different than yours, which is just fine I know, and I can see where you are coming from completely and I hear your heart just aching. My heart aches for you too, and my eyes are just full of tears for you. I feel so struck by the similarity between our journeys, even with different beliefs - the plodding through some days that we do, the sailing through others. It's all so deeply confusing and as time goes on, the little lives that we treasure, holding in our hearts are just snapshots in time we long to remember somehow more thoroughly. You and I write about this, and in doing so we create rich and wonderful tapestries of memory that we can look back on and treasure, in the way that we do. I wish I could hug you because I do know that there are few people in the world who really can feel in their hearts how we feel, and that a hug from someone who can grasp the feeling is like contact from another survivor previously lost in the waves of the ocean.

Much love to you, mama.