Friday, February 17, 2006

Grief

I mentioned earlier that the Lord had been dealing with me to write about my experience with grief. I posted the poem I wrote shortly after my mom's death in August of 2001. It will be five years this fall since she left us, and it still feels like yesterday. Two years after her death, I finally started coming out of the deep depression that her illness and death had thrown me into. Even Christians battle depression at times. We are only human. I think all of us that lose someone close to us go through the same stages, but we react differently according to our personalities. The following essay talks about my experience. Please excuse the paragraph formatting. I have tried repeatedly to get it to format as I wrote it, but blogger is not cooperating today. Anyway, I hope it helps someone today:

Grief
When she died, my life ground to a halt. Each action of every day took on the surreal quality of just going through the motions. I literally willed myself to act. The knowledge that I was and am responsible for her grandchild would urge me on. I would hear her voice ever in the recesses of my mind--sometimes disapproving, sometimes encouraging, sometimes cheering as she did by my bedside as I labored to give birth. But always, always in loving tones, I would hear her.
When she died, new fears developed--the fear of losing others, the fear that my child would forget, that he would miss out on the glories of being the Golden Child. How would he remember? How would he ever know how much she loved him? These questions and others began to constantly nag me. How would I live if something happened to my son, to my husband, to my sisters? How could I prevent it from ever happening? Could I have stopped her from going? Did I leave anything unsaid? Dear God, the list went on and on.
The pain I felt at the mention of her was overwhelming, yet I made myself talk about her. I did not want to forget one smile, one gesture, one moment. Yet even then, as I saw the pain it brought to others, I would push it aside and grieve that I had opened their own wounds afresh. I felt sorry for them, but I myself did not wish to heal. Healing might mean forgetting. And I could not afford to forget. It was unfathomable to think she was never coming back.
So, for over a year the fog crept in over soul, darkening my surroundings, clouding my judgment, oppressing my spirit--holding me hostage. Helpless to find my way, I just sat and waited--and cried. I cried a lot. And I wondered if life would life, could life, ever be the same? And the days continued to pass.
But finally...finally one morning, I felt the fog beginning to lift. I started to realize the days and days I had missed--days of sunshine and hope. The Son had been there, waiting to warm me, to brighten my life, to cheer me. And the thought occurred to me, "O God, where have I been?"
My soul replied, "You have been to the Valley of Death, it the shadow of it. And you have witnessed its horror, its cruelty, and its terror. Yet, now you have come out on the other side. For His rod and His staff have comforted you, even snatching you back from the jaws of depression and the pitfalls of self pity, drawing you to His side, away from the grief and sheltering you.
This valley where Death resides, dark and cold, casting shadows on the walls of my heart was a deep place of weeping and mourning--a place of parting, a place of fear for those with no HOPE.
But it has not place in the life of me. I am a Believer. There is nothing death can do to separate my soul from God. Though physically we part from our flesh and those we love, death can have no lasting victory. It is, indeed, a hollow victory. Death brings us one step closer to Home--that place of unimaginable glory that awaits. I cannot be sad for her or wish her back to her life of trouble. There is no pain where she has gone, only beauty and perfection, and pure love.
And so, I decide that no, life will never be the same. I decide that I will go on until my time. I decide that it is o.k. to cry and remember and cherish the memories. I decide to live, healing a little more day by day by day, until I decide that I am finally going to break through the murky water overhead--to splash, to kick, and even claw my way to the surface today. I decide I am going to do whatever it takes to feel that breath of life on my face once more.
And my miracle comes as I finally break through--gasping and savoring at once the sensations of life, the sounds, the smells, the tastes and sights. I'm alive! I'm alive! My soul cries out. In utter amazement I find the sun shining warm upon my face, and God, my ever present Lifeguard smiling down upon me with arms outstretched, welcoming me back. Finally--yes, finally I have let her go. And it feels so good, to finally be able to stop holding my breath, and just float on Faith...safe in my Father's arms.

4 comments:

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Yay Cindy! You have come out of the Shadow of Death into the Springs of Living Water! While I read your post today, I could feel the love you have for your mother; how special she truly must have been. And how proud she would be to know that you have taken this painful experience and given it to God. Way to bring glory girlfriend!

You are a gifted writer, Cindy...and an inspirational friend. In spite of the cyber- distance (and the fact we have never met), I feel as though we are sisters, somehow, in this journey of life. For that I am thankful! For your journey out of depression, I am thanking God! From your beautiful, descriptive words, I am moved. Thank you for sharing this inspiring journey to well-being. Thank you for taking my breath away today as I read this tribute..for reminding me that, yes, as His children, we can "float on faith...safe in [our] Father's arms."

Diane

C. H. Green said...

Diane,
I am thrilled that something good and beautiful is emerging from these months at home. After a good cry this morning and your prayers, plus some more of my new friends, I was able to pick up and move on with my day. I went and left more resumes across town. I went and bought groceries because of the bad weather coming in. And I did not worry that I was spending almost all I had. God will provide. I can make it.

I am so thrilled that you have begun a blog yourself. Careful, it can be addicting. I see you're already meeting people. I smiled as I read March's post on your blog. Some say the internet is evil, but it's just like anything else. It has to be put to it's proper use. Let your friends and contacts in your email addresses have the link and pass it on. Who knows who all may find a blessing in your words. There is strength in numbers. I can practically feel the heat of His spirit on me as I write. He is pleased. May God's glory abound in and through us as we reach the world--for HIM. Love in Christ.
--Cindy

March St. Ives said...

Dear Cindy,

Our mothers are so special -- and I hope in the same way, my children feel that I'm special to them. "Pass it on." That's what my mother always told me when I would ask her, "what can I do to repay you?" And I try to continue to preserve my mother's memory by doing just that... pass it on.

My mother died the week of Thanksgiving (2005) but I've grived for her a long time. She had Alzehiemer’s disease. Death freed her. I talk to her every day; sometimes she's in my dreams -- normal once again. I tell her what I'm thinking and about my fondest wishes. I swear that I can still hear her voice guiding me. Until now,I haven't heard her talk to me (rationally) in several years.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Thanks for linking Partners in Prayer for Our Prodigals! I have tried several different times to link your blog to mine....I must be link--illiterate!!!! Any tips? Any advise!??? I appreciate any which way you could walk me through it.....it's all a maze to me!

Diane