Friday, August 1, 2008

Thank God for Friends & Family

It rained buckets here yesterday (smileygirl, it's true -- but you know that, since you have the weather ticker on your "blob" now). The plants loved it, and it was cozy, but it didn't feel like summer. Today it is sunny, breezy and warm, and the air is so clean that you can feel it.

David went to help my dad dig holes (for posts) in their yard, and to buy lumber (they are going to make a rack for firewood). I dropped him off at their house in the morning, and drove to the beach by Maribeth's house. On my way there, I passed the church we used to attend before Katie got sick. They have a new "interim" pastor, and the church has basically imploded. I have never been back.

Immediately after Katie passed away, I couldn't face the attention from all of those loving, kind people who I knew had been hurt by our tragedy, and who had such compassion for us. Then, as the events began to unfold in the church hierarchy, I knew that the church that I loved was falling to pieces. I didn't have the strength to help, nor did I have the energy to watch it I never went back. When I drove by the parking lot today, there was a chain across the entrance. It perfectly symbolized the impression that I have of the new leadership..."keep out." It broke my heart a little more. That church changed my life for the better, and the lives of my family. It was a place of nurturing, growth, joy, music, support, learning, extended family and unconditional love. My children and I were baptized there; my mother was baptized there. I was a deacon, a Stephen Minister and a volunteer in other capacities; I was part of a (weekly) women's Bible study group for years, attended women's retreats, etc. It hurts to lose the sanctuary that the church was for our family, but there you go. It's been a year full of losses.

I parked the car next to MB's house and walked down the hill to the beach access, and started my walk toward the north. I thought that if I walked on the beach, in the sun, I might be able to cry a little in a familiar place, and feel some comfort. I'm just feeling really sad these days.

I found some beach glass as I walked, felt the lovely breeze and warmth of the sun, and sat down to let myself go. Panic. When I started to cry, I had a real sensation of not being able to breathe. My nose and throat just seemed to close. I had to get up and continue walking, wiping my eyes and nose, and trying to breathe and clear my airway. So I can't even cry when it's safe, when it won't upset anyone else. There I was, far from anyone else, and I couldn't let it out. Strange. So I just started talking to God, to Mary, to Jesus and to Katie, as I walked. I called MB in Kansas City and left a message for her: "I'm on your beach and I'm thinking of you."

When I got to my car, she called back, and we had a long chat. I miss her, but it's so great to have the phone contact. Standing by her house, hearing her voice, helped. She was with me so much at this time last year, and she remembers what I do. She can talk about it; it doesn't wipe her out. I can just let it all out. It has the same effect that crying would (if I could breathe when I cry); the same effect as writing here does. It clarifies; it purifies the air, I can think again, I can get that suffocating weight off of my chest, I can breathe.

Thank God for friends & family who listen, who know they can't fix it; who pray, who love, who hold the sacredness of just BEing. Thank God for bloggers who read and understand, who care, who send love. THANK GOD.

I am listening to David playing the piano as I write this. It's too beautiful for words.


Kay said...

I'm so sorry you couldn't have a moment you needed today. I know at times I've felt like I had to schedule a cry session and seldom does it work out for me.

Thanks for the reply about the quilts. Do I have to put my email address in the message or can you get it out of caringbridge somehow? I'm not the techy-est person in the world! LOL

karengberger said...

You can leave yours when you sign the CB guestbook; just make sure I know it's kay-blogger -- or find mine on the CB site (you'll have to really look for it, for privacy reasons).

Kay said...

I made one for the bloggy just now. Been thinking about doing it anyway. This just got me to do it! *smile*

Stephanie said...

Hi Karen, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. This stinkin' 8 year old daughter is one of the lucky ones and beat her leukemia. She is 8 now and I know we could totally be in your shoes and other family's shoes. Abby asks me all the time "are you crying, Mom?" I think I held it in so much during her treatment that you name it, toilet paper commercial, a drawing Abby has completed, something sweet she does and the waterworks come on. We know so many children especially this past year who have earned their angel wings and we as a family are working hard to raise funds and spread the word about pediatric cancer research...we keep looking for the good in this...having Abby...becoming closer to the Creator..meeting wonderful caregivers along the way...Thinking of you in MN

Contemplative Photographer said...

When my first husband ran off with his best friend's wife, I would do the same thing: go someplace and try to cry, not be able to do it. For about 5 years after that every time I started to cry I would throw up. So I remember that sensation; when you've already lost so much, to lose the hope of crying it out hurts even more. I'm glad MB called back and you had a chance to connect.

I can't believe there was a chain over the entrance. We were right to leave. That church was so important to me; what a loss.

catperry said...

Standing shoulder to shoulder with you, praying for peace, hope and healing on this journey that so many of our families must travel.

heather b said...

sending love across the nation and praying for the sadness to lift a bit. For deep breaths and for the sky to look bluer than ever. Praying for you....and feeling frustrated for you. Churches have no idea when the get into games of power and politics how many hurting souls need the solace of the place they are corrupting. I am so sorry. I actually can say that I do understand about that. Hang in there, Karen. Hang in there.

Smileygirl said...

Thank God for you too!!!!

Sheri said...

Learning to weep has been the hardest part of my continued grief journey. I'm not very good at it. I didn't blog about my last EMDR was too painful. Needless to say, I did weep...a a way I didn't know i had it in me. It was cleansing, but exhausting.

This time of year is going to hold a lot of emotion for you. I think about you daily and it is always with a sense of love and companionship. Can you feel us holding you?

You are loved. You are the epitome of grace and dignity. Please know even if you were to act undignified or to become ungraceful, I would still see you this way.

Katie will never be forgotten. I see so much of her in you.