Sunday, February 10, 2013

Grief Can Ambush

No matter how long it has been, you still carry a portion of your grief with you. Emotions you already dealt with come flooding back at the most unexpected times. Grief's timing is not your timing.

Elisabeth Elliot says, "One day after my husband died, I was in the grocery store picking up the things that I needed, throwing them into my basket, and suddenly I found myself absolutely shaking with sobs. Fortunately, there was no one else in that particular aisle. I couldn't explain it. Grief does strange things to you at times."
I can not count the number of times this has happened to me.  Sometimes it is easy to understand why it's happening.  I remember be back to work after my maternity leave about a week.  It was new school, new kids to get to know.  I was sitting in a room a noticed that two of the students had the same birthday...and ironically it was exactly one week before Cameron and Cole's.  I began trying to figure out who these students were...and it never even occurred to me what I might find when I discovered who they were.  One of the girls wasn't at her desk but the other was.  I left the room for a minute and while out passed this girl.  I returned to the class expecting to find the girl who was missing before to be at her desk and the other student missing now...since only one student is allowed out at a time.  I am sure you can figure out how this one ends... yup... identical twins.  I stared and I stared... and then I felt the tears rising.  I left the room and barely made it to the bathroom before I burst into tears.
But sometimes it isn't so obvious.  Last summer it was when Cameron learned to ride a bike.  One time it was the drive into Toronto where my surgery happened.  Just this past Christmas I was totally blind sided by my tears as I decorated the Christmas tree.  

But God holds the master plan for your life. He is never surprised. Although you cannot know the details of the plan, you can know and walk with the Master Planner.

This is so very true. I wasn't supposed to go and work at the school where the twin girls were.  I was actually supposed to be in the school I am in right now in a Kindergarten class.  God gave those twin girls in my life...I know he did.  He lead me to these amazing girls who were the sweetest and kindest girls.  He lead me to share a small bit of my story with them and he allowed them to show me some wonderful things about twins, the life of twins...but in a gentle way, not a reminder of what I don't have but of the connection my boys will always have.  
And that kindergarten class in the school I was supposed to go to, the one I am at now... identical twin boys.... I could not have faced that going back to work after the 15 months I was off, the 15 months that changed me forever.  God knew this, God planned this.  

Psalm 139

Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!
"I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me" (Psalm 31:14-15).

Special days—anniversaries, holidays, birthdays—can act as emotional land mines. The emotions you feel on those days can be as intense or even more intense than the emotions you felt at first.

Dr. Tim Clinton observes, "Too many people are unaware or underaware of the normal grieving process. For example . . . anniversary dates, birthdays, holidays and things like that can evoke a lot of anger. When this happens, people feel like there's something wrong with them or they're not very strong."

I am pretty sure that everyone who has lost a loved one has experienced this... the dreaded lead up the anniversary of the loss or even the marker after's been 7 days, 1 month, 6 months, 256 days... none of this is abnormal.  Anniversaries continue to be hard for me.  The first one after losing Cole was brutal and the second wasn't a whole lot better. It did get better but I had to do something pretty big to make that happen. 

These feelings are normal. Knowing this, prepare yourself ahead of time for those special days. Read the Bible to draw strength and comfort from it. Plan a quiet day with close friends or family members who will surround you with love. Remember, when you are discouraged and at a low point relating to your loss, the only remedy is to look to the Father.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you" (Psalm 42:5-6).

God, sometimes I do not understand what is going on with me, I cry a the most unusual times, tear up and miss my son at times that just don't make sense.  But I trust that You do know why these times happen, you do know and understand me better then I know myself. 
Lord, I look to You when I am struck down again by grief. I will depend on You, and I will praise You; for though I am struck down, I am not destroyed. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10
 8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

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