Featured Post

No Reply from Heaven

  I received a response yesterday to my post “Tears in the Closet”.   My friend reminded me of the “extreme separation”, which are the words...

New Map, Same Destination?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I sat down to write today and realized that the prevalent feeling I have been experiencing has already been written down several months ago.  It continues to amaze me how these boomerang emotions keep circling back to me, or sometimes just hover overhead and never go away at all.  They are nearby, ready to lower on me at any given moment.  In my post, “It’s A Long Road”, I wrote, “Have I mentioned how hard this is?  I mean really hard.  Every minute of every day is hard.  Every breath I take is hard.  My breathing patterns have not been the same since Michael died.  It is always shallow, and at the same time I feel like there is something heavy weighing on my chest.  All day long, I tell myself, ‘Take a deep breath.’  Throughout the day, another reminder, ‘Just breathe.  Inhale deeply.  Now exhale.’”

This is hard…. all of it, and continues to be while I sort out everything, heal from the wound, and learn a new way of living, which requires things of me that I have never had to do before.  The first few months were hard because they were consumed with the excruciating pain of the sudden loss of Michael.  I missed him more than I ever could have imagined. But during those first few months, my life coasted for a while on autopilot.   (“My life”, meaning everything that it takes to run a household and to be a single parent.) It continues to be just as hard, but now it is more than just missing Michael. 

At first I was only dealing with a broken heart, and now I feel (if I must be honest with myself), somewhat scared of the future with every step I take, apprehensive, plus am carrying around my healing heart.  Now I am struggling every day with my “new normal” life. 

When you are young and you get married, or even do not get married, you establish a plan for your life. You begin your journey in the direction that you feel will take you to your destination.  You have a mental image of how you want your life to look in the future, and each day you walk out that plan, that dream, that vision, on the road that lay before you. You have a map and you feel like you can and are reading it correctly.  Life has a rhythm to it… it feels safe. 

Then one day, the road suddenly gets pitch black, your travel companion is mysteriously snatched away, you are alone, shuffling your feet trying to determine where he, or she, went, and the direction you must now go. It is as if you have been picked up and transplanted to another country where all of the rules have changed, even which side of the road that you drive. The physical map has been destroyed and you have to rely on your memory, and your instincts, for the details on the direction of your journey.  You have to keep asking yourself, “Now, why was I going this direction? Can the celebration of arriving at my destination feel the same with out my original travel companion? Or did I reach that destination and now there is a new one? Or has everything changed, not just the road but everything that propels me toward the destination?” 

These are questions I must face and truly meditate on the answers.  I could turn away from facing these questions or problems, as many people do, and move on pretending that my journey is the same but with one less person, only this would be pretending, a way of numbing reality.  I would not learn from it or become wiser for it.  As I also wrote in, “It’s A Long Road”, “There are no shortcuts on this journey.  People have tried shortcuts but then their wound shows up later in life because it did not heal properly.  It is a journey that we must take slowly, experience the pain, meditate on the loss, sit down occasionally when we are weak, slowly stand and move when we are able, and see and feel everything along the way.” 

It makes me think of a blind person learning how to “see” a new way.  Their sense of smell, touch, and hearing are heightened to help them experience life more fully.  If they refuse to learn the new ways, they will continue to bump into things and live a frustrated life.  They must learn to navigate with a new map. People have said there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  This is a truth, but only a partial truth.  I also believe there is a healthy, productive way to grieve and an unhealthy, deceiving yourself way to do it.  Everyone grieves differently, but I think it has to be better for us, in the long run of life, to face it, question it, learn from it, feel it, and embrace all that we can learn from it in order for it to help us, not hinder us, in the rest of our walk here on this earth. The way we do all those things can look differently, but I think we must do them in some way, shape, or form.

I have to trust God in a very real way.  I have no choice but to trust Him.  I must lean on Him. I am reminded of a verse that I have prayed for years.  Proverbs 4:25, “Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids right before you.” And also, Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  Without my Lord, there would be no light on this new road.  A lamp shows the light only directly where your feet are and just one step ahead, but at least it is some light.  This is all I can see right now, directly at my feet and one step ahead.  It is a little scary, but there is also a glimmer of light way down the path…like at the end of a very long and wide tunnel, but it is only the size of a speck right now. The road may zig zag all over the place, but that I cannot see, and it is probably best that I can't.  At least the light is there. I am walking the road with apprehension, uncertainty, and am wounded …but at least I am walking and with my eyes wide open, facing every twist and turn with an unaware boldness.


Anonymous Says:
September 12, 2011 at 11:24 AM

I am very sorry for your pain and loss of direction, but happy to see your progress in this short period of time. If you just stick with your commitment to trust God.. I believe you will be truly happy again.

I thought of you yesterday in listening to only dozens of the thousands who very tragically lost loved ones in the crashes of 9/11. Oh, it was very sad indeed. I cried hystarically just watching. But surprizingly among the hundreds of husbands, wives, siblings, parents and children who read names of victims, and paid tribute in remembering, there were not as many tears shed as one might have expected. There were so many instances of very strong resolve, even by children who never met their parents. In just beholding the incredible monument and construction of the new tower, there was strong, solid, physical proof in the amazing progress of these 10 years past. I suppose the only difference in their case is that they have the multitudes of each other's shared grief and sense of purpose in not allowing the cowardly terrorists to "win" as some understanding of like feelings, to whatever consolation or support.

In addition, 20/20 aired special stories by husbands, wives and fiances who had lost the love of their lives. Yes, the stories told of many months and years of disbelief, sadness, confusion, loss of weight, sleep and direction, just like you are experiencing now, but yet wound up with very happy unexpected "endings." They testified to being totally stunned by another human being showing up out of the blue who slowly wound up helping them complete their journey in life as a couple. One woman who had 3 children with her lost "amazing husband," even said, "this is not bitter-sweet. It is sweet."

I certainly wouldn't expect someone in your shoes to be able to comprehend falling in love with another at this point, or even consider allowing the thought to exist, but this is what can and does happen when you simply do your best in accepting the tragedy that has befallen you, and carrying on to the best of your ability in His care. He will provide the desires of your heart if you continue to delight yourself in Him. God bless you!

Anonymous Says:
September 13, 2011 at 7:43 AM

The light before you never goes out, never dims. May we all have the spiritual focus not to let our eyes look anywhere but right before us, to know the truth, to know the way. This day, may all that concerns you be perfected, in the name of Jesus I pray.

Anonymous Says:
September 28, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I lost my husband of 28 years suddenly just 5 weeks ago. A friend forwarded your blog to me. You have captured so eloquently many of the feelings and emotions I am walking through right now. Praise God for His grace to see us through this uncertain time in our lives. I will keep you in my prayers.

Post a Comment