My sister-in-laws mom just passed away 2 days ago. It was a sudden illness and a whirlwind of shock, and within a few short weeks...she passed away.
In one breath I caught myself thinking "oh to know what entering heaven's gates is like". I feel such sadness for my sister-in-law and the family...but the idea of heaven, and NEVER EVER EVER hurting again or being ill or having a broken body...seems so precious.
My next thought was "Sheila gets to see my babies. She gets to help watch over my Jack, Ethan, "Whisper" and Zac. They are with her. And I caught myself begging that she would give them all hugs and tell them how very much their mommy loves them.
And then yesterday my sister-in-law texted me and told me how before her mom passed away she asked her take care of Zac and all my babies until I got to meet them again. How her mom cared so much, and read my blog.
And my heart broke, with sadness for her death, and for love that she cared enough to follow my blog. It just really touched my heart.
A few years ago, my Aunt and cousin were in a horrible car accident. My Aunt passed away beside my cousin, who survived the crash. My other cousin was supposed to be with them that day but last minute chose to stay back. Had he gone, he would have been in the back seat, which was completely destroyed. He would have died.
I have not gone through the tragedy of losing a parent. The very idea has tears streaming down my face right now. My parents are two of my very best friends. My anchors. My support and my wisdom.
Even to try to picture life without one of them makes my body shake with chills and my heart ache.
I have not gone through the loss of a spouse. The very thought of that rips my soul out. I don't think I could bare that. My husband has been with me through the thickest and thinnest of life. He has laughed with me, cried with me, longed with me, hurt with me, dreamed with me, supported me. He is like my second lung...and how could I fully breathe again without both of my lungs.
Because I have lost 4 of my 5 children...I KNOW the pain of the loss of a child. I KNOW the feeling of losing a part of my life. And I KNOW how the enemy plays on that fear with bombarding me of horrible nightmares of losing Evan. I know I have survived the miscarriage of 3 of my babies and the death of my son...but I know I would not survive should Evan ever be taken from me. I absolutely could not survive.
I have loved ones who have are are going through the pain of losing a parent...a mother.
I am a mother who has and does go through the pain of losing her children.
And pain...is pain.
But eternity...that is our hope. That is our reality. That is what we long for and strive for.
Yet, we are human. The feelings and emotions we feel after loss are human.
They are often times outside of our norm.
They are often dark.
They are often...real.
And to me...that is just fine.
That to me is normal and right.
Loss is not fluffy, and so why should our pain be expected to be graceful?
We don't need to be slathered in reminders of heaven and glory and God's ultimate healing through earthly death. We know that. We know that this earth is not our home. But what we DO need is people who are strong enough to sit beside us and feel and see and hear the "ugly" in loss. And yes, help hold us out of the trenches of bitterness. Because bitterness is not a place one needs to end up. I sure did. With our first miscarriage...I have NEVER felt so bitter and broken and abandoned. I felt so lost, and my world just kept feeling more and more dark.
The fight out of that dark hole...was NOT an easy task. And for those who gave me their hands to help pull me out...what a blessing. What a blessing to just be loved and gently guided through that time. Not with cliches. Not with being hammered over the head with bible verses. That came at the right time, and gently. And gently...is what brought me back.
When Zac passed away...there are no true words to describe what I went (and go) through. I felt like two separate people wrapped in one. The grieving mommy was beyond broken. Beyond anything I had ever known. I felt the blackness swallowing me up again.
Yet...there was our sweet Evan, fighting for his life. Our 2lb wonder. And I knew I HAD to find a way to shine out my joy around my Evan in those dark NICU days.
And being by Evan's side and oozing joy and love wasn't a chore. It wasn't a forced action. It was true and real.
Yet knowing Zac would never again be beside his brother...I still don't know how to appropriately express that feeling. You just can't. It truly is like night and day.
It feels like right now there are so many special people in my life going through loss. And it breaks my heart. The reality of loss is painful. The fight to remain hopeful...that's the tough part.
Knowing the road to healing...it's a long one. A road that needs so very much TLC. Often times just an arm around the shoulder. No words. Words can't "fix" loss. Words often times come out in a way a person never intended. That's when it's the arm around the shoulder.
I know we have the ultimate arm around the shoulder. I know God holds us. I know He carries us. I know He cries with us and hurts in our pain. He will wipe away each tear. Yet, He will also allow the reality and truth in our tears to flow. He doesn't ask us to be brave and just smile and say "sure, I'm ok"...that's what we do to ourselves. We think we need to put on the brave face. I know, I've done it. I do it. I guess at a point in grief you just start to feel like you've "worn your welcome" for tears and sharing the struggle. It's not right to feel that way, but we do that. Yet, we don't have to do that with God. He knows. We can't hide the reality of our truth. And that is okay.
My heart is with each hurting person. My prayers are with us all.
Please pray for my sister-in-law and her family as the funeral for Sheila will be held this Friday. Please pray for safe travels for those of us travelling to the funeral.
Please pray for comfort, for peace, for healing, and for acceptance of grieving processes.
I'm praying for so many tonight...