February . . .
Finally, the days turned into March. February seemed four years long, rather than four weeks. It has always been recognized in our family as a month full of joyful events: an Army leave that began on the eighth, leading to an official engagement on the thirteenth, a wedding five days later on the eighteenth and six years after that the birth of a beautiful baby girl. Tom and I had much to celebrate. This year I celebrated without him. He died on the seventh. I wondered if the month would ever end. Would the end of the month and the beginning of another lessen my grief? It didn't. If anything, it seems to grow with every passing day.
A friend sent me book one in Kenneth Haugk's series, A Time to Grieve. Two of the quotes he uses describe a bit of how I feel. When we lose someone we have loved deeply, we are left with a grief that can paralyze us emotionally. . . . When they die a part of us dies too (Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey) and this one from Aldolfo Quezada: My tears are the words with which I tell God of my pain.
Sometimes I feel numb and my mind is blank. Still, little things bring tears, things like sitting in church and suddenly realizing that Tom won't sit with me again. Yesterday I emptied his daily pill container of the dose he would have taken the afternoon that he fell. For the first time since his fall I felt completely exhausted and had to make myself put one foot in front of the other. Back at our usual Thursday Bible Study, I couldn't keep my eyes away from the place where he last sat. He is physically gone and a large part of me has gone with him.
Last night I let the tears flow freely. Maybe it was a part of the exhaustion. I don't know, but that was the first time for that as well. Until now there have been plenty of teary times, but nothing like last night's release. This morning I read the above quote: My tears are the words with which I tell God of my pain.
The peace comes in knowing that God understands the pain; God cares. Several weeks ago I received an e-mail story about a little boy who called into a Christian radio talk show to tell something he had learned. He had been eagerly awaiting the birth of a calf which he would raise as his own and was overjoyed when the big day came. Somehow, in the process of birth and the immediate aftermath, the cow fell on the newborn calf and broke it's back. It was necessary for the calf to be put down and the little boy, sad as he was, said he would do what had to be done. When everything was over he thought about what had just happened and be began to pray. His thoughts turned to God's sacrifice of Jesus for us; he thought of the love God had for His only Son, a love so much greater than any we could possibly feel for another. He thought of the heart of God and how it must have been broken when Jesus was put to death. And then he realized: GOD UNDERSTANDS my grief for this calf. God understands our pain.
That is a truth that brings peace in the midst of grief.