The Pain

I've observed a few things about my grief process. I have learned that the first week or two of grief is just shock and survival. Following that was a period of adrenaline. That time was filled with busyness and visitors. But once all the business is handled and the visitors dwindle, the loss settles in and the void makes itself known. The truth is that I didn't have room to miss Isaac before now. There was too much chaos, too much to do. As things settle down, his absence is so loud. And it hurts. There are different parts to the hurt. There is the loss I feel for my children. There is the loss of the future I thought would be ours. The loss of my dreams being shared with Isaac. The loss of marriage. The loss of my best friend. The loss of Isaac, the individual. I've heard some people talk about how surprised they are when they continue to grieve even after remarriage, but that makes sense to me. Remarriage can't be a replacement. You can't replace a person. You can simply create new nurturing relationships.

When someone dies, there is part of you that says, "I want to say goodbye one last time or have one last kiss, or one last whatever." I don't dwell on that because the truth is that no one last anything could make it better because it would still be a "last," and that is what hurts. I remember that a few days after Isaac died I had to drive somewhere. While driving I thought, "If I wanted to be with Isaac, I could just crash the car and die." And here is the struggle: I could die and be with Isaac or I can live. But, the truth is that I want to live with Isaac. And what I want, I can't have. And what does it mean that as I move further from that moment that my desire to live is stronger than my desire to be with him? These aren't questions that I need to answer. These are simply the raw emotions that I have felt.

When Isaac first died, I felt so sad for my children. One of the reasons I married Isaac was because of his loyalty to family. My parents divorced when I was about six-years-old and my relationship with my dad has more often than not been a source of pain and disappointment. I wanted to be sure as one can be that the father of my children would always be there for them. So when Isaac died, it felt like the most important thing that I wanted for my children was ripped from them. But a dear friend told me something that has brought comfort to me. Someone had told her this when her family was grieving the loss of a young father. She said that it is important to remember that God loves my children more than me. Just think of that. If I truly believe that God is my Heavenly Father and the Father of my children, then why would he allow for this tragic loss? If God is love, how is this an act of love? I don't know why and I don't know how, but there is something in me that tells me Isaac's death was necessary.

A couple weeks after Isaac passed, I found myself watching a cartoon movie, "Joseph in Egypt," while babysitting my friend's children. I had actually thought it was the movie "Prince of Egypt" and felt a little disappointed by the music, ha! As I watched the show with the kids I learned something about life and God. As I watched Joseph's brothers sell him into slavery I started to cry in empathy. How awful! Can you imagine your siblings hating you so much that they sold a slave? I'm sure that Joseph had a hard time praying, "Oh yeah, this is totally for the best God. I get it." He probably spent many nights wondering why God allowed for this to happen, but years later when he saved his family (and many more people) from famine, he got it. Now, I'm not going to save anyone from famine (at least I think not!), but I could relate to parts of the story. The first part being that sometimes horrible things happen for seemingly no good reason. The second part being that faith in God is the only thing that makes it possible for us to endure hardship. The third part being that in time God will show us all things and will manifest His love in greater ways than we can imagine. My favorite scripture is 1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." Each time I read that it blows my mind. It is so hard to comprehend that there could be this whole other plan for my life that is so much better than my plan. I've always thought that I can dream up some pretty amazing stuff. When I read this scripture, I know it is true. God has always been merciful to me. He has always provided. He has never disappointed me or let me down.

As I was thinking about Isaac's death and how it felt like I was losing the most important thing I ever wanted in life, a devoted husband and father, I thought of Abraham. I thought of how much Abraham had wanted a son from his dear wife Sarah. After so many years they were finally blessed with Isaac. And then God, asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Whenever I've thought about this bible story I've always felt so much empathy for Abraham. How awful to be asked to sacrifice your son. I can't even imagine. At the same time, to some degree I can relate to having to give up the thing you wanted most. It was a little ironic and upsetting that I too was asked to give up my Isaac. Abraham was blessed that God then said that he didn't need to kill Isaac and provided a ram for sacrifice. I don't know why Isaac had to go. I don't know why that sacrifice was necessary. I can't explain why I'm not angry at God. It doesn't make sense. I should be angry. Instead, I feel like a little child, submissive. I trust Him. And this trust or faith surprises me even though it obviously lives in me. Mainly because you can only trust someone as well as you know him and it overwhelms me to think that I know God, that I know Him well enough to wade through these murky waters.

I think another reason I trust God is because God gave me Isaac. It's hard for me to conceive that a God that would bless me so immensely would take away a blessing and then never bless me again. That doesn't make sense. It makes me think of Job from the Bible and how God took everything away but then after Job proved his faith, he gave him twice as much as he had before. Now, I'm not hoping for two husbands, but I do believe that God will bless me. And that blessing will feel more than sufficient. I have felt very blessed already. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful family, friends, and in-laws. I seriously have the best support system anyone could ever have. Despite the blessings, I still feel and will feel pain. Pain is a feeling, and one thing I always tell my clients is that feelings are information. Pain is information that something isn't right. So as much as I want the pain to just go away, I know that I need to let pain teach me. So that's what I'm going to work on, letting the pain teach me. I think it will be hard to not postpone or push emotions aside but I believe that as I allow myself to sit in this place and rumble with these feelings I will find strength.