Friday, February 8, 2013

Bouncing through grief with a 4 yr old & a trampoline.

Grief is a tricky thing.

It hits at weird, strange, unexpected times.  And it leaves at times when you've completely braced yourself for impact.  When we first lost Gibson I thought it would be easier to walk through this having two little ones at home who would keep us distracted, and won't let us crawl in the covers and never come out.  They keep us moving forward, they keep us entertained and they keep us thankful.  But the more I walk it out I also realize that as a mom that means you just have more peoples' emotions you are responsible for.  More people grieving in their own weird ways and looking to you all along.

When we told the kids Gibson died we made a point to tell them we will continue to talk about him (as much as they want), we will include him in special occasions and in daily thoughts and we will remember him that way.  As HARD as that is day to day I want to choose that.  I don't want them to forget him.  But by choosing this I open myself up to a lot.  Three and four year olds don't see the beauty in a private moment.  As awkward as it is for everyone Ryder abruptly tells that his brother died or is in heaven now, it's exactly what he's supposed to be doing.  We told our family, our friends, and his teachers to expect it and respond like that's perfectly fine, because it is.  We told them to use the word died.  And to talk about heaven.  Ryder's teacher said in the weeks after Gibson's death Ryder made a point to tell all the adults at his school... That Gibson had died & his mommy was very sad.  But that made me happy in a way because he knew.  He could say it (more than many grown-ups could).  He asked me lots of questions in those first few days that I couldn't, or didn't want to answer... about death, about life, about heaven... about why.  I faced them all as best I could, glad that I had a sweet, smart 4 year old capable of asking deep questions.  And in between there were comical questions like, "Isn't it going to hurt to sleep on gold?"  We all looked quizzical for a minute and then realized someone had told him heaven was made of gold... you get the picture.
Many days now Ryder & Paisley bring up Gibson casually- very matter of fact.  And then there are days like the other day in the grocery store when Ryder, upon seeing babies all around, throws himself down in the cart and says, "I wish WE had a baby!"  At that point I wanted to crumble, abandon my full grocery cart and hit the road.  But instead I had the strength {God's grace} to keep pushing, smile and say, "We do have a baby.  He's just in heaven now.  We can still talk about him..."

The kids got this little trampoline for Christmas.  It's a small one person (or two tiny people) capacity thing, complete with poles & netting all around.  At only about 1 foot off the ground its a brilliant way to let a three & four year old get out all their energy.  In there alone they can pretty much get as crazy & rowdy as possible, jump it out and crash.  And they magically bounce back up.  Though we did wait outside for over an hour on Thanksgiving night to get it we should have done that a couple years ago!
This past week we celebrated Daniel's 30th Birthday.  And in the midst of what should be tragic grief we were able to celebrate.  {God's grace}  Sunday at church we sang a new song proclaiming, "Yes, the Lord is good and His love endures.  Yes, the Lord is good forever...."  And I just got this image of God's grace like that trampoline below us.  No matter how hard we fall somedays we somehow bounce back up.  It's ok if I WANT to let myself feel it one day and crash.  Somehow God sends someone along that day to be my trampoline of grace.  To push me back up.  Somehow, beyond expectations we're bouncing along.  Hitting highs & lows and getting right back up, uninjured, moving forward.  {God's grace}

A couple Friday afternoons ago while getting out of the car at Chickifila (of course if you've been to a CFA on a Friday for lunch you'll see the inopportune moment here!) Ryder said, "I just really wish Jesus could heal baby Gibson and then send him BACK to us, because there's so much I didn't get to teach him."  He went on to mumble something about teaching him to walk on a white line.  I think he was looking around the parking lot to think of things he'd have taught G.  I hugged him close, said I understood and felt the same.  Then he said something I hope I don't soon forget.  He said, "I'm just sad."  To which I said, "That's ok."  And then he said, "But I'm not sad all the time, just sometimes now.  Is that ok?"  I smiled (bigger inside than I could manage out) and said, "Me too buddy.  Mommy was sad all the time, but now I'm just sad sometimes.  And that's ok." {God's grace}


Tina Fuller-Jones said...

Thank you for sharing Beth. After Danny (my husband - Daniel's cousin) died, I had "yo-yo" moments. I found that with grief . . . every tick of the second hand clock was noticed. Slowly those turn to minutes, then hours. Then, one day, it switched to calendar days. Time does heal your pain, but you will never forget. You just learn to LIVE with it. I found so many blessings along the way. The raw feelings you have do hurt, but they also expose you to such depth -- a wonderful way to truly experience life. Hugs to all. Tina

Kathy of the HavinsNest said...

So beautifully said, Beth.

And listen to Tina. She knows of that which she speaks.

Bonnie Marks said...

Beth this way so beautiful and sad at the same time. My sister lost her grandson born 12/17/07 and died 10/11/08. Both her and her daughter were so completely devastated and have yet to fully recover. Since then my niece has had another baby, a girl this time and she still worries that something bad is going to happen to her, but then she remembers that they are all in God's hands and everything will be alright. Saying a prayer for the family.

Annabel said...

This is beautifully said as several others have mentioned.

Thank you for sharing this and of testifying of God's love and grace.

Our thoughts and prayers continue on your family's behalf.

Anonymous said...

AMEN! And thank you, Beth, for perhaps the best message on healing from grief I have ever heard.

Amanda Bradley said...

I'm in tears, Beth. The trampoline is a great image, and Ryder has such an amazing perspective on it all. You all have still been in my thoughts and prayers a lot and I hope we can catch up soon. Love and hugs.