Monday, January 7, 2008

Quiet time

I haven't posted in a while, as I haven't been alone for many days. Gregg is back at work, David is at school, and I had several things to do that prevented me from having a block of time in which to think deeply at the computer. It's been a good day, including spiritual direction and massage (which are two of my "lifesavers" these days), but not one given to time to write.

We had a good time in Cannon Beach, and David had fun in Palm Desert. We all traveled safely, and came together back at home. Then the days after Christmas became quite dark for me. I had to stop myself from "carrying" others' sorrows in my heart, especially those of the caringbridge "family," and turn them over to God. We celebrated the New Year in a different way than ever before, with Andrea here for dinner (Mike was working), games, a beach fire and fireworks at midnight. Andrea and I wrote down things we wanted to let go of, and burned them in the fire.

After New Year's, my own sorrow began to wash over me in a torrent, so I took myself up to Katie's room, shut the door, lay on her bed and cried as I haven't cried since she passed. For those of you who cry freely and easily, good for you; for me, it is often a painful process, and I usually end up feeling ill, with difficulty breathing. Sometimes it kicks off a cold (which it did this time), so I tend to avoid crying, other than letting the tears leak out here and there. Even so, I had my time alone with God in the dark, crying my deepest questions and feelings. Eventually, I silently prayed "I NEED HELP!" and then, things got a little better. David came in and offered me a box of tissues. Then Gregg came and sat with me. Apparently it was necessary to have my tears out in the open with God, and with my guys, that night.

We are all heartbroken; our life is completely changed, though it looks similar to what it was before, on the outside (we live at the same address; Gregg goes to the same job; David attends school with the same kids, in the same school he attended last fall). But life is profoundly, completely different: we were a tight foursome; David and Katie were each other's best friend; we spent most of our free time together. Now, we are without an essential member of our family. Therefore, we each know the others are hurting, and we try not to make it worse for one another. We are all grieving differently, and one thing I know: it is important to respect each other's process and offer alot of patience and unconditional love to each other. We are trying to do that.

This weekend was better. David went skiing with Jim and Caroline, and Gregg and I had some time to enjoy each other's company. I found a letter that Katie had written to me, dated two years and a day before her passing (August 15, 2005), expressing her love for me and her appreciation of what I am to her. It says, in part:

Dear Mom, I want you to know that I love you all the time. Every single second of life and death. I'm thinking of you always. You will always be my mother. You come and help me when I'm hurt...your smile brightens every day of my love all of the family with all of your heart. I LOVE you Mommy!

It felt as if she saw into my heart, and God heard my heart crying out, and brought me exactly what I needed, beyond time and space. For that, I am thankful.

For the God who showed us what it means to be human and divine, for the goodness of the "good news," for the awful truth (the mystery of suffering) that God told us (and showed us), and for the beauty of this life, this world, I am thankful...though it is not what I thought it would be, not what I thought it meant. I am glad that God is with us, for us, and that he is truthful with us, but I wish he were a little bit more of a magician sometimes...I guess the "magic" may be the divinity in creation, in us, and that we can continue to love each other, that we are moved to offer help and comfort --LOVE-- in the midst of the awfulness that sometimes overtakes us.
I am thankful for the opportunity to be honest with God and with myself, for comfort when it comes, and for a new day.

I am especially thankful to be the mother who carried Katie from the day of her conception, and who cared for her and loved her every day of her life, through the day she passed from this earth. She is missed every day, and she is loved every day.


Karla W. said...

I'm sending hugs your way. You are an awsome mom.

Mandi loved visiting with you and David over breakfasts at Children's. You and your family really helped her get through our time down there.

Sheri said...

I am glad you took time to honor your grief. It is a sacred process. Do not feel guilty for the breaks you need to take from the suffering of others. We can only shoulder so much. I was happy to read of your cleansing tears and my heart with you through the honesty of your words. You are loved, cared for, sheltered by the concern and compassion of others. Thank you for being a wonderful friend. My heart genuinely breaks for your pain. You are finding your way and your faith is comforting to me too. I'll be in touch soon.


WoodenHue said...

What a wonderful photo! I just sent a similar picture to KC in Taiwan, hoping to remind her of the joy she felt as little guy. Like you, I find tears now make me physically ill, and I cry rarely as a result, though I certainly drip from time to time!

But I remember how healing those horrendous bouts can be; I also remember how healing it was to shout at God in fury and frustration; somehow I always ended up feeling nurtured and held afterward.

Bless you all for the support you give one another, for the ways you protect and encourage one another and light the way for each other in the dark times.

As always, you are in my prayers and never far from my thoughts. Take care...

A said...

you look so beautiful...and she looks so much like Gregg! :)