Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Grief

My mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly last week at the painfully young age of 62 and our lives have been forever changed.

Up until this event I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I've had boys hurt me and make me feel worthless. I've had friends stab knives into my back. I've lost grandparents whom I loved. I've been deeply in pain. But until Saturday October 12th, 2013 I had never truly felt my heart break. When we got that awful phone call, it felt like my heart shattered into a million pieces, and it will never be the same.

There is a gaping hole when we look at our future now. My husband and sister-in-laws have lost the woman who raised them. My father-in-law has lost his soul-mate far sooner than he should have. My niece and our future children have lost their caring Gigi. It is truly a devastation.

Over the last week I've seen many facets of grief. Grief can be deep, dark, and lonely. It can be helpless and debilitating. It can be frantic and busy. At times it can be comforting as you lean on loved ones and pull together to survive. There are moments where you share warm memories and laughter. There are also much darker moments when fairness is questioned and anger wells up.

Through it all, there is also hope. Comfort knowing that she is in a better place. The thought that she is looking down on us with pride of how we are honoring her memory and is reveling in the wonderful family she helped create. Hope based on the fact that Jesus' sacrifice made it so that this is not the end.

We are broken and lost without the matriarch of our family. But we are also capable of healing through the love of God and each other.

I was reading a book today, a book I've been anxiously awaiting for months, called Allegiant (if you are planning on reading the final installment of this amazing trilogy STOP READING THIS POST RIGHT NOW, TOTAL SPOILERS AHEAD. You've been warned).

Trough the series I became attached to the main character, and at the end she dies leaving the love of her life devastated and broken. It's heartbreaking and I cried like a weenie. And truth be told, not what I was looking for the week after such a major loss.

But, as I process the book I realize the beauty that the author is portraying through the crushing pain and it resonates with where I am right now. The final line of her book reads as follows:

 "Since I was young, I have known this: Life damages us, every one. We can't escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other." Quote from Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

Susan, we will mend each other. You leave behind a legacy of love and strength. Your family will take care of each other and will remember you always. We love you and you will be missed more than words can say.

 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

If You're Perfect... Come Back Another Day.


I can be a very strange person. Here are some examples just from the last week:

I often wear children shoes because I like sparkles too much to be satisfied with adult shoes and I have weirdly small feet. Yesterday, it was purple, sparkly Toms.

John found me watching Doctor Who on the Ipad propped up in the sink - I was watching the entire time I was getting ready to go out, including while I was in the shower.

I get nightmares just from commercials of scary movies, this one in particular was about a sloth (the nightmare, not the commercial). This was my second nightmare recently about sloths.

If you ask me what my dream job is, without fail I answer “Queen of England,” and I mean it every, single time. For example, when I was asked this question this week in a graduate level class.

Every night I sleep with a one-eyed teddy bear who is 22 years-old… all though Snowball and I are going to need to have a talk about the sloths and how they are NOT invited to the party.   

However, there are some things that aren’t strange about me. I struggle with anxiety, anger, and over-eating, just to mention a few. Why isn’t this strange? Because we all have struggles, every freakin’ day of our lives.

I’m often followed by a cloud of worry that settles in my chest and makes me feel like I’m being ripped apart slowly. I’ve gotten so angry that I’ve said and done things that would make Charlie Sheen blush. When I started my weight loss journey I was 75 pounds overweight, because I like food. A lot. Obviously.

These are all things that society tells me to keep to myself or to magically fix so no one ever needs to see my dirty laundry. Well, I have heaps and heaps of dirty laundry (literally and figuratively – did I mention I’m lazy?). It sucks, but it’s the truth and it’s my reality that I have to work on these things constantly (seriously, does laundry ever end?).

I’m not saying this in a pity-party way or woe-is-me-I’m-all-broke-someone-fix-me way. I’m saying it because there is NOTHING weird about imperfection. Jesus’ sacrifice sure would have been pointless if we were all shiny, pristine examples of awesomeness. We are not Stepford people – no one has it all together. There are seven billion people on this planet who are a mess, in one way or another   

I think we all need to hear sometimes about how damn hard life can  be – for everyone. You are not alone, you are not more colossally messed up then all of humanity. Don’t believe the lies Satan is selling. He knows that isolation and embarrassment make any situation ten times worse (that’s a true statistic, I read it on the Internet).

Will I always be an angsty, irritable woman with self-control issues? Yeah, probably. But I will not be a shame-filled lonely one, by the grace of God.