I haven't looked through that box in a long while. Probably a couple years. I sat and read all the thoughtful words and prayers. All the sweet words of encouragement. Notes of how his life changed theirs. It brings heartache and hope in the same breath.
It's been 3 years tomorrow.
This year has been a different year of grieving for me. It seems each year brings a different wave of emotions and reactions. This year I feel like I was able to take a deep breath and accept freedom. Let go of the guilt. Assess some resentment I had buried deep down. And ask God some big questions - knowing that the answers may not come and may not be what I wanted to hear. But sometimes they're even better.
The first year of grief I plowed through full steam ahead. I was NOT going down in that pit. I felt like if I moved and moved and moved I'd get through. And I did. I only allowed myself certain times of sitting in it and feeling it. I resolved to be thankful, make new memories and find change. We did all of those things. And we did them well. The second year was more of the same, with a lot of newness. Newness that began to reap joy. We moved into our house, we had a precious baby girl and life bloomed. We still remembered him daily. There were still very hard days and reminders but a new joy flooded our hearts.
This year Stella has continued to bring joy and hope in our hearts. But something has changed in how I looked at my grief this year. Personally I've been able to stop and ask God things in the darkest parts of my heart that I was scared to uncover before. I read the book, "Soulkeeping," this year and it really allowed me to look at those places and have honest candid conversations with God.
I was never mad at God. I've said before something in me wanted to be so angry in those first weeks. I wanted to scream at Him and throw things and yell, "WHY?" But that's not what rose up in my heart. I'm not mad now. But this year I've asked God to reveal to me things I needed to hear. I think I felt like if I stopped and wondered too much in that first year I would fall deep in that pit unable to get back out. I was afraid if I asked God questions He'd respond in ways my soul couldn't handle. If I let myself sit and smell the scarf, read the notes and look at his tiny handprint I would crumble. I had little eyes watching and they couldn't see me crumble anymore. People would tell me I was strong and inspiring so I figured I had to keep it up. Chin. Up. Buttercup. I put expectations on myself that others never would have. I'm not in anyway saying I regret how I walked that first year out. I'm only saying that I've found more freedom in the process of grieving this year.
Once you take any wrong doings off of God and accept the process of grieving you find FREEDOM.
That is my revelation this 3rd year of grief.
Soulkeeping challenges you to speak to your soul. To ask God where He is in those hard times. One day while thinking of that night 3 years ago when everything came crashing down I took a deep gulp and said, "God WHERE WERE YOU?"
As everything fell apart that afternoon I sat curled up in a chair in the corner of the hospital room watching as if it weren't my reality, gripping onto that scarf around my neck. Mostly shaking my head no. As things progressed I wanted to leave. I didn't want to remember him this way and wanted to be anywhere but there. The nurses began to ask me questions to which I just kept saying no. Do you want to wait? Do you want to hold him? do you want to have people here? do you want to take pictures? No, no, no! I didn't want any of it at all. This wasn't what I'd chosen. They explained what would happen and convinced me that of course I wanted to hold him. Everyone gathered around, my rock of a husband by my side, and we were handed that sweet boy for the last time.
"God WHERE WERE YOU?!?"
Immediately I heard God say, "I was right there." I saw the sweetest most gentle image of my kind and compassionate savior with His arms wrapped around us weeping.
He is with us IN our grief. In the moment, and in the moments and years after. I don't believe He's asking me to "move on." If anything I've asked that of myself, not my patient Father.
He's ok with me sitting in my closet clinging to that scarf.
One of the sweet notes I read today was from a nurse that loved & cared for Gibson. It read,
"Sometimes the tiniest of feet leave the biggest impression on your heart."
we miss you baby boy.