I know, I’ve been gone awhile. I’ve been gone in many ways.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching.
The deep, hard, tough, gut wrenching kind.
I’ve known something isn’t quite right with me. Something intangible in me was broken and that something has been breaking everything that I was and have been striving to be in the wake of tragedy. That break started out as something more easy to ignore, became something I worked to hide, and eventually lead to something that began to consume me to the point that I found it difficult to hide.
And my pain and grief began to show in ugly ways.
I recently told my ever so patient husband that I didn’t think I’d ever truly feel hope and joy again. I barraged him with a rapid succession of questions like:
“How can I ever trust medical professionals again?”
“How can I ever trust people to be honest when they make a mistake?”
“How can I have faith that people will do the right thing?”
“How can I fully put myself out there?”
This segued into deeper questions that have burdened my mother’s heart.
“When can I feel comfortable envisioning our children’s futures?”
“We know all too well that people, at any age, can die in the most horrible and seemingly senseless ways. How do I confidently hope and feel joy fully without being crushed again?”
See, I used to be a perpetual optimist. I found hope and joy in nearly every aspect of life. I was joyful and wanted to share that joy. I wasn’t overcome with worry in the first months of my babies’ lives (although, I did occasionally sleep with a hand near them in the bassinet next to my bed so I could feel their warm breath). I taught them to be safe, held their hands crossing the street, made meals from scratch, read them books, sang them songs, and was fully confident in the notion that they were growing into intelligent, kind, caring individuals.
And that I would see them grow up.
I still do those things. I realize now that, post Caleb’s death, I’ve lost the hope of seeing them grow up. The thought that something could tear them away from me at any moment has consumed me and kept me from being present. Brig calls it my self preservation mode, to keep from going insane with fear, worry, and pain. I excused it as being realistic. Really, I’ve been withdrawn, distant.
And it’s become one more thing that Caleb’s death has stolen from me, from my family.
One more thing that was compounded and complicated by last November’s miscarriage and our move across the state two months ago (more on that another time).
My loss of hope and joy doesn’t only withhold those peaceful, happy feelings from me. Me not experiencing them has prevented my friends and family from feeling the hope and joy that I can, should, and used to bring to the table. We all contribute emotionally to those around us. I’ve realized, I haven’t been contributing much and certainly not much that’s positive.
And, most importantly to me, it’s hurt my relationship with God. It’s hurt my trust and faith in Him.
So, it’s time for me to take some big steps towards reclaiming my happy place. It’s time to live without fear, unabashedly finding hope and joy, and pushing aside doubt and fear.
I suppose this is my first step. I sat on this info nearly three times longer than any other time. I’m still working on always feeling hope and joy, pushing aside the doubt and fear, but my family has enough hope and joy to spare.