But now here I am going into the second year and the atmosphere of my world has definitely changed. Acceptance has settled in, Jay's gone. And the new life I'm facing is starting to feel oddly normal. Needless to say, this can be confusing.
With the luxury of shock not being an option, the dust has settled and I can see clearly my circumstance and you know what? It's painful. With the loss of Jay, came the loss of our home. Not just the physical part of our home (and yes, that was hard) but also the loss of the center core that I held together for my family as a wife and mother. It's where I made meals for Jay and our kids, organized celebrations...it's where I nurtured them, and I took a great deal of joy in it.
I had two boys that were living at home when Jay passed away and two daughters that were living on their own. Both Jay and myself knew that the boys would be moving along over the next couple of years, and we were bracing ourselves for the approaching empty nest. In actuality, our nest became emptied. I sold my home after Jay passed away in July and we all moved out in February. The boys had decided they would live on their own. One moved to Seattle, and the other wanted to stay in our home town and was able to find a place that afforded him to do so.
All of this took place in a matter of seven months, and my life as a wife and a mother was dramatically changed. This was a lot of loss, and at the time, I was unaware of the magnitude of it; it would begin to reveal itself as my shock would wear off.
As I turned the corner and moved into my second year in this grief journey, I found myself having an unexpected reaction. I began to shut down my thoughts towards Jay. I've used words in the past like "sorrow", and "pain" to describe my circumstances, but as the dust settled before me, I could see that there was so much more that I had to grieve, and I started to feel less pain, and more frustration. I began to feel angry at God questioning the scripture that says He won't give me anything beyond what I can handle, but that anger would quickly diminish because I don't dare question my creator. Or do I?
As I began to shut down I could feel the memories of my marriage journey becoming distant. I started to forget how proud I was of our story and how proud I am of Jay. I stopped listening to the songs that reminded me of him, and I decided to stop wearing my wedding ring. I was frustrated at God, and not being honest with him about it. I took matters into my own hands. I decided that I had better answers to coping with my loss because frankly, I just had too much loss to deal with. However I didn't anticipate the consequences--I would begin to get lost myself and forget who I actually am in His grace.
I was okay with this for a little while because my way eased the hurt. It lifted me from the truth of my scene to a place that was just quite simply not so heavy. But the truth is you can't hide from your truth, and I found myself experiencing a silence from God that began to grieve me deeply. The irony though, is that I chose this road to avoid grief.
So, do I question my creator? He knows my heart, and he wants it completely. How can I give to him completely when I'm holding back the truth of which he already knows? So, after much silence, I brought to Him my honest heart, and I spoke these honest words; "You're asking too much. You want me to let him go, and I'm not ready!" And with that,the silence was broken and what I heard in return was, "when you're ready". Somehow I let myself get ahead of God. He wasn't rushing me, I was.
Since being honest with my Lord about my doubt and anger I've begun to feel Jay again both in my memories and my heart. I put my wedding ring back on, and I'm playing the songs that remind me of him once more. I'm able to reflect on our marriage journey together, the growth we attained by His grace, and my heart is beginning to feel grateful again.
I started to forget that I was in love with my own love story. That I valued the honor of watching such a valiant good fight from the man I fought beside, and that I got to partake in carrying a wounded soldier to the foot of the cross. I forgot that I became a women who could do that; a woman of strength and valor. By taking matters into my own hands, I started to forget who I was in His grace. But God is so faithful and patient. He's real, just like this relationship with him is real, and He's graciously working on this tired heart.
This second year without Jay sets me on a new journey. I will slowly learn how to turn "we" into "me". Jay's journey is complete, but mine isn't so this has to be done. I have to keep moving forwad trusting in God's plans for me and my future. But I will be wiser about my circumstances. I've been through a lot, and this is a fragile time. I plan to give myself more regard and grace in this matter, and I thank the Lord that I don't have to do it alone. I stand with an army: the body of Christ.
God is teaching me how to ask for help when I need it, and to value and seek out the direction of the wise. I don't ever want to forget who I was, or who I am, and in His grace I want to respect and appreciate who He wants me to become.
God is good...