Tuesday, October 7, 2008


"I would almost describe spirituality as a concern for one's being, one's inner motivation and attitude, one's real inner Source, as opposed to any primary concern for one's 'doing.' Doing will always take care of itself when your being is right."
from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality by Richard Rohr

Dear YHWH,

Things are not getting any easier here. The pain is not lessening; it is getting more raw and dry. Every night when I go to bed, I seem to feel the weight of missing Katie. I don't want to live without her in my life, though I don't want to kill myself. I want to help David grow up, and share what remains of my life with David & Gregg...but to live the rest of my life without Katie's presence is still undesirable, --truly unthinkable.

People say to us that they can't imagine what this is like, and the truth is, neither can we. I can't imagine what this life is going to look like in 5 years, or 10. I don't like bitter people, and I don't want to become one of them, but YHWH, how can I keep my heart open in the face of such searing pain? How can I survive the daily drip, drip, drip of pain wearing away at my heart like water on a stone? What will be left of me?

I can see the "reward eating" creeping up...it used to be that I would have one glass of wine, or a small dessert, but now I'm having a glass or two and something sweet, after dinner. I want to give myself a present, a reward, but eating food that I don't need is not a gift. Thinking about why I am doing it, so that I could stop myself, is so painful that I can see why I do it mindlessly. But I am going to regret it, if I let it go on. I see discomfort and shame peeking their heads up in my mind.

I am feeling restless nowadays. A year ago, the thought of taking a job was incredible, like an insult. I even wrote about how offensive it was to me, that people assumed I would try to "fill the gap" with a JOB. As if a job could fill Katie's place! I did the best I could with the job that was given to me: to be a wife and mother. Being the mother of a critically ill child is a very demanding and fulfilling calling, and I learned to do it...I grew into it, through Your help and the help of Your children. Then my sweet girl passed from this life, leaving me with the skills and work ethic needed to help her, but without her...and with a relatively easy job here at home. Now, although I need the solitude and the peace to rest my weary heart, I am starting to feel vaguely guilty for not helping to bring some income into our home during this crazy financial time. Am I trying to run from the quiet because of the pain, or is this a call from You? Please help me to have the courage to stay with myself, with whatever I am feeling, until You call me and move me. Please help me to hear Your voice, here with me, in the midst of the rushing river of grief. I am feeling as if I could drown in this place.

What Fr. Rohr said in this passage...please help me to "be" with You, aware of Your presence, and to feel You in me, so that what I "do" will be of You, for You, through You, and in You. I don't want to act in fear, avoidance, guilt or denial. I want to serve You. Amen.


Suz said...

Heartwrenching. Your mind is never at peace it seems. Your heart won't let it.
I hope you find what you are looking for right now......
I love the picture you put up. So perfect. It gives a real feeling of family, of love.
I can't even remember what you had there before. Isn't that terrible of me?

Kay said...

I love your pic! It's perfect!

I'm so sorry for your grief. I wish I could take it away for you.

Just keep listening... be still. I'm thankful I allowed Him into the grieving, aching places in my heart. I would have lost it otherwise!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

You know, Winston Churchill once said "When you're going through hell, keep going"....

Keep pushing through. Don't think 5 years into the future. Don't even think 5 months into the future, if it's too much to deal with. Just deal with today. That's all you need to do. Just today.

I'm sorry I've been out of touch... I've been battling the Depression Monster (clinical depression is one of my "issues"...) I think I'm finally winning again, though.

Know that you're in my prayers, Karen. Keep pouring your heart out to the Lord. He will meet you in your pain.
*1 Peter 5:7
*Jeremiah 29:11

Laurie Keller said...

I feel sorry when I come across people who don't feel a thing. They hide, they deny, they live a lie. On the other hand there is you ... and if I had to choose, I'd choose your way of dealing with Katie's death. Remember this is an opportunity for spiritual growth ... and you are doing anything but "screwing it up". It's not going to hurt less in 5 years, but it's going to hurt "different". I love your new photo too. The way out is "through". Love from the Prairie, every day, good and not so good.

Jennifer said...

Even in the raw, wrenching posts, where you so transparently open up about the deep tidal waves of grief and confusion and pain you suffer, I am stunned by the clear, bright undercurrent of hope. It comes through both in your ability to speak of the darkness (as contrary as that sounds) and by the words you write concerning staying with your feelings (takes a lot of courage and hope) and also being present to the Lord, not to mention your desire (which you've voiced a number of times before) to not act in fear, avoidance, denial. It is a muscular sort of hope, not a happy, shiny hope. When you write, I sense that there's this lighthouse you see in the midst of all the dark waves and turbulence, and you are aligning yourself with it.

I happen to be in a place (over four years of infertility) where few can reach, but your words (and the spirit behind them) do. You have spoken of conducting life from a place of "love and spaciousness" and forgiving reality for being what it is (I think that was in one of your posts on the Rohr retreat) hit home for me. And your images of staying open, of letting God's love flow through you as the conduit -- it's obvious your perspective has been forged in the fire, have been tested and have come forth as gold. I cannot tell you how valuable your words have been in helping to shift my perspective and lead me to a place of exercising openness towards God.

Thank you for being a voice of truth, gentleness and deep strength. Your words exude grace and Love. Your experience is your own, and you open it and your heart to us. That, too, is grace. That, too, is Love. I came upon you accidentally and you don't know me personally, but I am thankful to ponder these matters with you and follow where they lead.

Katie is beautiful and your relationship with her -- even more beautiful. I love hearing what you write of her. At the same time, I, like everyone here, ache for your loss. Grace and peace to you. And thank you.


karengberger said...

Thank you all...and Jennifer, may your heart's deep desire be fulfilled by God's love, in a way that is a blessing to all.

Jennifer Stumpf said...

oh, my dear. how i wish i could take your pain away. sending you hugs from across the country.. xxoo

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry for all you are feeling in your grief. I was listening to a local radio program today and a Twin Cities area county forensic pathologist was on talking about her new book, Beyond Knowing, where she collects stories of people's unique experiences with their loved ones after the loved one has passed. It is a truely hopeful collection of stories which gives one confidence in being with their loved ones again in the afterlife. It's life affirming even in the absence of the loved ones life. Maybe it gives the glimmers of hope desperately needed in painful moments. You seem to be an avid reader and this may be something that speaks to your experience. God Bless.

karengberger said...

Stephanie, I just put two books by that author on hold at the library; they look good. Thank you for the recommendation.