Today, I just can’t…
It’s one of those days where it all culminates and puts me into an almost paralyzed state.
Compounded grief—ever heard of it?
The definition of the term is this: when all of your grief from over a lifetime gets comprised together, and then causes us to downward spiral over one tragic event, such as death… or perhaps chronic illness, or loss of income, or divorce. Or maybe, many more than one or two!
What has brought me to this lowly state today? I grieve the loss of my eldest son, who died suddenly on May 30, 2019, at the age of 24. The sadness is just worse today—maybe it was seeing his younger brother wearing his jeans, maybe it was the song on the radio, or the visit to the cemetery…
Just a couple of weeks before my son died, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid disease, which has rendered me almost completely unable to walk, or work my thriving cleaning business, or even take care of my home. All joints are inflamed and painful. Always…no reprieve.
And aren’t we ALL experiencing the grief of a microscopic virus that has not only taken the lives of loved ones, but also left us stuck at home, with little human contact, or maybe even jobless, for nearly a year now?
It’s a lot! It’s disheartening. It’s maddening when you’re doing all the things you know to do to make it better, yet the road seems never ending.
And today, when the pain is the worst it’s been in many months, I don’t want to fight it anymore. I yearn for life to be normal again. I want to be scheduling my jobs, homeschooling my 13 year old son, doing the laundry and cooking supper, planning the hiking trip at the Gorge this weekend, talking to my eldest son about work and his girlfriend…LIVING!
But, here I am. In my recliner, under the electric blanket, popping the ibuprofen and praying tomorrow is better.
This isn’t the scene every single day, but it happens more often than I care to admit. This isn’t healthy. I recognize that, and my coping mechanisms leave much to be desired.
So, what is most helpful on these days I just can’t do it anymore?
First, I pray. I know He understands better than anyone and is always listening.
Second, I have reached out to friends; ones I know truly understand, who have been on this journey, too—people I am certain will weep with me, pray, refresh my spirit with encouraging and understanding words—and mostly just empathize. My goodness, what a kind, listening ear does for one caught up in the depths of despair!
And third, I’m careful to be gentle with myself, to not be too expectant and know recovery is slow, and to be ok with spending this time, quietly grieving all the losses…
Though the bad days outweigh the tolerable ones (cause, to be honest, there are few “good” days anymore) I know there is a network cheering me on, a handful of folks who are here for me, and a God who holds it all in His capable Hands, providing just what I need for this moment.
I text, I message or call, I commiserate and share, I cry out.
No, it won’t bring my son back to life.
No, it won’t make my longing to hug his skinny waist and kiss his scruffy cheek any less painful.
Yes, the physical pain persists…
But I can hang on, just one more day, and place my faith in God, in hope and trust—that I will get through—just get through TODAY, because tomorrow is a new day.