This week has been hard. There’s no significant date or anniversary trigger, it’s just been hard. Maybe it’s because I, for the first time, saw my son’s name on an awareness ribbon, as if that was confirmation that he’s gone. Maybe it’s because I’m tired. Maybe it’s because I’m fighting summer allergies. Maybe it’s all of it, or maybe it’s just because I buried my child. I mean, that’s just about the best excuse anyone can have for a bad week. Matter of fact, I’m going to put “loss of child” at the top of the Reasons To Have A Hard Week list. It’s my list, right, so I can do what I want. The thing is I know I’m not the only momma that’s had a hard week. I know I’m not the only momma that has the same list.
Here’s the thing, a hard week for me does not mean that I’ve cried all day everyday, nor does it mean that I haven’t enjoyed time with my youngest son or daughter-in-love, or that I haven’t been able to function. It doesn’t mean I haven’t laughed or been blessed by friends and strangers alike. I have. I’ve just had to work really HARD too. All of my energy went into fighting to be ok and situations I could normally handle became overwhelming. Sleep wasn’t happening and I haven’t cleaned my house - don’t judge- and I’ve forgotten to eat or just not had the energy or desire to cook anything - don’t tell my grandmother. On the outside no one could tell. On the inside there was an intense battle every waking minute to not fall apart.
If I were to describe to you in a picture what grief looks like for me, it would resemble a ying-yang. A swirl of emotions. On one side there is the light where understanding, hope and perseverance are found. On the other darkness, where there is only a void. There is no clear cut line in that swirl. If you have a line, you can stand on one side or the other, and if I had that line, I would absolutely stand in the light 24/7 with my back to the darkness. Grief doesn’t give you that line and has no gray area, so you fight the fluidity of where it wants to take you.
In my ying-yang there is a pillar that cuts right through the ebb and flow of emotions and dissects the light and darkness with a little of both on either side. That’s where I stand. It’s a pillar of strength, determination and the ability to lean towards the side that’s easiest for me to survive, but on the hard weeks, I have to fight to stay there. I have to fight HARDto stay there. I grow so, so weary and I get so, so tired of the sadness and tears, but because of that line, that pillar that I stand firmly on, I know the hard week will end. Because that pillar is with me in the light and the dark, and because that pillar has proven over and over again to not let me slip permanently to the side of darkness, I know this too shall pass. The fluidity of the emotions has no effect on my pillar. He’s my anchor and when I’m weary and tired and can’t stand on my own, He holds me with His nail scarred feet firmly planted reminding me of His love and compassion. Reminding me that my tears are precious to Him and that my pain is real. Reminding me that Hagen is with Him and free from all pain and struggles. Reminding me that I have work to do. Reminding me that He is fully aware of how hard it is, and that He is with me in the light and in the darkness.
Because of the faithfulness of this pillar, next week will be better. It will be better for me and it will be better for those of you fighting hard to maintain control in your ying-yang of grief - whatever the cause. It isn’t reserved for the loss of a child. I hate it and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I know that it is now a part of my walk. I also know without the pillar, I would be swept away into the darkness and I have no intention of giving it the satisfaction of sweeping me away into its abyss.
Next week will be better.
Stand firmly and fight.
Be held when you can’t stand.
And then fight some more.