I stayed the night in the ER waiting to be admitted to the hospital. There weren’t any beds open in the hospital. I was thankful I at least had a room as there were all sorts of people (crazy people) lined up and being treated on beds in the hallways. That tiny, hot room could have been a place of misery or it could have been a respite. I chose for it to be the latter. So many things to be thankful for – my life, a bed, privacy, kind nurses, God’s presence, a precious husband. I could have gotten upset at many things (no a/c, construction in the hallway right outside my room, crazy woman next door hollering her head off, having to use a shared bathroom with all the ER), but I was just thankful.
I was released almost 24 hours later. Precious friends had already been showing us so much love. A homemade Italian meal was waiting for me at home made by my friend Lori. All my girls (The BSLs) had pitched in and given me an amazing gift certificate to a spa. Gifts were brought, flowers arrived, meals and desserts nourished our family and filled us with love – even when the givers didn’t quite know what to say. It showed me that all I need to do in times of loss are just show up. Be present. Words aren’t needed.
I came home so very grateful to be alive. I was so thankful to hug my kids again. I was so thankful to hear their laughs and fights. I received their snuggles with happy tears. I brushed my teeth, took a shower, and slept in my bed with my favorite sheets. I slept 11 hours that first night home. Pretty sure I haven’t done that since I was in high school!
But that grateful high eventually gave way to the grief. After appreciating all these gifts, my heart began to ache for our baby boy. It was too soon. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I had just said hello. My whole body stung.
The grief and tears would come out of nowhere. I would be going along fine (read: watching movies, napping, resting), and then BAM – something would remind me and the tears would overtake. My crying would turn into heaving. The further away I got from the day of the loss, the more I expected things to level out. Nope. Grief doesn’t happen that way. It is a crazy jumbled mess! Anger, hurt, and sadness are just all throwing punches. Then, after a little while, the tears stop, there is a calm, and life carries on. Life went on like this for months.
I think one thing I learned during this time was not to fight the grief or rush it- to let it come as it may. Having loved ones and trusted friends always be a shoulder to cry on definitely helped, but at some point they just wanted the pain to be gone. They are wanted me better, and it was impossible to just ‘snap’ out of it. There were many days I wish I could have snapped out of it! Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. So I didn’t. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, but there wasn’t a choice. So, I would cry as I washed dishes, or cleaned up the house. I would cry folding laundry…and pretty much did a pitiful job at whatever job I was doing while crying.
Christian music helped me a lot. Listening for ways God would encourage me to keep walking. To keep hoping in Him, and the future He has for me. And one thing I learned…
The best way to get through any time is to be fully present. Fully grieve, fully celebrate, fully sleep, fully eat. Be present and feel, experience, don’t push it away. It isn’t easy, but it is the fastest most complete way through it.
Two songs during this time that really helped my heart: I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe. As I continued going through counseling through this this time, one truth my counselors truly wanted me to grasp is that suffering alone is terrifying. It is dark and hopeless. It is scary and you want to claw your way out as fast as you can. Life with out *knowing* Jesus leaves us vulnerable to suffering alone. When we know Him, He promises to never ever leave us. I can tell you that I have never felt His presence closer than when walking through this time of loss and grief because I knew Jesus was right here. I wasn’t questioning whether He did this to me. How could He allow this? I’ve learned so much more about His heart after walking with Him, studying what the Bible promises, and praying. I believed this truth. He has been faithful. We aren’t promised a life of ease by believing in Jesus Christ, but we are promised that we will not go at it alone. And that takes so much of the scary out of those ‘what if’ times.
The other song that I held onto was a verse from Amazing Grace.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.
I heard this the second day I came home from the hospital. I was extremely weak and scared that I would start bleeding at any moment again. I put on some praise music (my usual go to when feeling anxious) and this song came on. After hearing the words, I had to go and google the song so I could hear it again and again. Yes, Lord – you have promised good to us. It may not look like what the world says it will look like, but you – you can help me see that good. Your word is where our hope is found, where promises are made and they are kept. You have proven this over and over. Your word is where I have hope! Oh and Jesus, you have been my shield! You will keep being my shield! And you are the most perfect portion. Always perfect. And I get to walk with you all my days left on this earth and for eternity!
If you know Jesus, you are not alone. Do you truly grasp that? Do you know that you are not alone?! Today, tonight- choose to believe that you have an Everlasting God walking beside you. Now, talk to Him regularly because He is always there. And, don’t forget to listen because He wants to speak to you.