Saturday, November 23, 2013

When you don't feel thankful.

The holidays are upon us.  Of course I've known they were coming and knew they wouldn't be what I expected them to be this year.  You see, ever since January 14th - the day we found out that I was pregnant with Nora - I've been excited for this holiday.  We moved into our house right after Christmas last year.  And after 5 moves since coming to Tennessee I was excited to be settled and very much excited to spend the 2013 holidays in our new home with our 2 precious children.

Then Nora died.

Now it's almost Thanksgiving and every commercial is filled with Christmas songs and the stores are decked out.  I read everyday what everyone is thankful for this month and the truth is that I don't feel thankful this year.   I'd say I've been doing OK for a good little while.  But as the Thanksgiving holiday creeps up I find myself caught under a wave of grief.  My heart feels broken and very empty right now.  Tears have been streaming down my face for days and I can't seem to come up for air or I just don't want to. I want to hide and wait out all the "thankfulness" going on around me. 

I decided to ask for wisdom from an older woman I know.  She said this to me:

"The "trick" to thankfulness is being thankful even when you do not "feel" thankful or like anything about your life or what is happening in your life.  It becomes ...being thankful BY FAITH.  The same way in which you walk by your become thankful by your faith.  You are looking not to what is seen but to what is unseen."

So this year I am trying to be thankful BY FAITH knowing that it is the Lord's will for me so HE will empower me. 

I am looking to what is unseen and I am thankful for 33 weeks and just under 4 hours with Nora. I am thankful for my sweet husband and my precious boy.
I am thankful for Jesus always meeting me where I am and giving me the grace to go on.


Monday, November 18, 2013

On Grief

Before Nora I knew nothing of deep grief.  I had never experienced any life altering loss before now.  I didn't know how to grieve or what it looked like.  After 3 1/2 months I've learned a few things about grief.  Here are some thoughts on the topic:

Grief takes time.

I have found myself really wanting to "hurry up" this grief process.  Man, if I can just hurry up and do all these steps I'll feel better and can move on with my life.  It doesn't work that way.  I'm learning that.  It is a process that takes time.  You have to give it time.  You have to take the time to heal.  

Grief is messy.

It doesn't look like the defined 5 or 7 or 11 steps of grieving that you read about.  I really wanted it to be that way.  I wanted to have a schedule or process to stick to.  You will be in denial for 3 weeks.  You will be angry for 2 weeks.  etc.  I wanted to be given the steps and the process and the time table for making it to the other side of grief.  It didn't work that way for me.  I have experienced all of the steps of grieving but they come and go day by day, minute by minute.  I can feel acceptance, sadness, anger all at one time. I can feel Ok one day and knocked down in grief the next.  

Grief comes in waves.

The healing process isn't a steady stream uphill to the peak of healing.  It is up and then back down some.  Then up again and back down etc.   Some days are good days but then one day I can get knocked down again. That just seems to be how it works.  It's like the ocean.  Waves come and go.  The knock you down and you learn how to move through them.  Sometimes you can see them coming.  Sometimes you can't. 

Grief is different for everyone.

No one can tell you how your grief process will be, how long it will take, or what it will look like for you.  It is different for everyone even if you've suffered a similar loss.

I'm sure I have much more to learn and live through when it comes to grief.   I know I will grieve this loss for the rest of my life.  But I also have hope and grace that will get me through it.   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

new normal.

Two weeks ago we went down to Nora's grave for the first time since we buried her.  We buried her in South Carolina at my grandmother's church cemetery where some other family members are buried.

I was excited to finally visit the grave.  I know that she isn't there.  I know that she is in heaven.
But the grave is just a place for us to go to remember her, to feel close, to bring healing.

And we also wanted to take Coleman there. 

Cole and I went to buy flowers to take to her grave.  He said he needed the blue flowers for her so yes we bought the died blue daisies and had blue die all over our hands.

We had ordered Nora's gravestone a few weeks prior to the visit and they put it in the same day we were headed down.  I was excited!    For some reason excitement over a gravestone and being in a cemetery seem very normal to me.  I guess it's part of my new normal.  Before Nora I would have thought it to be weird emotions.  I would get nervous being in a cemetery.  It's funny how things change, 
We enjoyed time together in the cemetery as a family.  Cole played at the grave and we just sat.
 It was good.  It was healing. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

In November...

In preparing for going back to work next week I'm posting the book I like to read to my class on November 1st every year.

In November by Cynthia Rylant

"In November, the air grows cold and the earth and all its creatures prepare for winter. 
Animals seek food and shelter, 
and people gather together to celebrate their blessings with family and friends."

It sure is looking like November around here.
Today is a beautiful fall day and I'm thankful for that.