Over the last few years, many who have lost their children have reached out wanting to know how “I did it.” Although I’m not quite sure what “it” was that I did … I would suppose they are referring to getting up each morning and most of the time showering, how I continued to love my other children in the midst of my own unbearable pain, how I spoke of God’s love continuously even when I had countless moments of doubt I was too afraid to speak, or how I have continued on with life for four years.
Many have commented on how hopeful my posts were or how much strength I showed. I call this out because it is the absolute opposite of what I felt during those days after Owen’s death. I felt anything but strong, positive or hopeful. My life was upside down and I had no energy or idea on how to put it back together again. But I suppose that’s just where we all need to be in order to give up. That’s right, I threw my hands up and said, “I GIVE UP! I don’t know where to go from here so the rest of you just need to tell me.” And that somebody included God.
I completely surrendered myself to the care and love of my family and friends and most importantly my Creator. When friends called and asked if they could bring meals, I said sure. When church called to see if there was anything my family needed, I said, “well we are running low on diapers and that would save us a trip to the store.” A childhood friend wanted to give me a blanket she had made for Owen, I said thank you! and slept with it every night. My sister’s friend offered to just move in while Owen was in the hospital and take care of my kids and the house – I said thank you. I called uncle and gave up my control. The world had been trying to push me down my whole life, and it finally won.
It’s in that surrender that I found strength. Crazy and kind of poetic, right? I found a path or a cue to what my next step should be. This strength did not come from my own will or decisions. It came from complete hopelessness, fatigue and grief. It came from the the conversation I had with God that went something like this:
God – what the heck? Are you kidding me? I have loved you. I went to bible study this week. When I was so mad at you after my car accident I continued to work on it with YOU! I could have ran, but I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad I did – but wasn’t that enough? Didn’t I prove to you that I love you then? Why are you testing me again? This isn’t fair. My marriage is already falling apart, I have no idea how to mother these children and now this? Are you taking Owen away because I didn’t love my kids enough? I swear I’ll turn the tv off and just play puzzles on the floor with my kids like the commercials if you just make this all go away.
FINE. I give up. You let this happen – you figure it out. I’d like to see how you’re going to make anything good come of this.
I think God was waiting and hoping I’d say that. Because then, and only then, did he have a complete empty canvas – clean from any of my scribbly attempts of fixing things. He had all the paintbrushes in His hand so he could create a masterpiece I could never have imagined. He delights in those moments when His children give him total control. Not because He is this sadistic puppeteer but because He knows He can create something far more beautiful for us when we just let Him do His job – love us. He is our protector and our creator. He knows us far better than we know ourselves – which is hard to believe after how many hours of therapy I’ve been through trying to understand why I do the things that I do.
To my dear grieving parent friends, let go. Let it all go – drop it on the floor and rest at Jesus’ feet. Do not try to make sense of what has happened, but rather let those around you take care of you. Rest. Focus on your own feelings, allow yourself to feel the pain. Even if it’s for only a second today, try for two seconds tomorrow. Thru that pain you will pick up all of these treasures.