What has it been? Almost a year! That seems about right and also seems wild that time has flown that quickly. There is way too much life that has happened over the last year to write. Long and short goes like this:
- We moved
- Charles changed jobs and now for the first time in our marriage has a commute…..like a real commute. One that encourages either road rage or prayer.
- Isaac is a full-time 3rd grader in Ms. V class!
- I am home full time writing. Obviously not for my blog ( hence the year of silence), I am writing the story of Katie Grace.
Needless to say, there has been some significant changes.
The guys are flourishing. Isaac is loving school, although he is missing being in his pajamas all day. Charles loves his new job, the commute is what a commute is.
The writing, that has been a thing for me. It is actually why I am putting out this random blog post. This week in particular has brought some revelations that are stringently crying out to be spoken.
I spent last weekend in Connecticut with my friend Katelyn. It was an amazing whirlwind full of laughter and food. On Saturday I spent some time at the Panera near her work and wrote some. I decided, out of everything I am writing, the easiest thing would be take my Instagram post of Katie Grace last 5 days and just write them so I can edit later. No need to add or take away, it was simply moving the words from post to paper.
It wrecked me. I sat there typing, tears falling. Wiping my nose with my sleeve not wanting to move to get a napkin, and praising the Lord that I wasn’t anywhere where people would know me. Not that that would stop me, however there was some solace taken this time in knowing no one. The words took me back to those moments. I remember the doctors, the process, the heartbreak at understanding that this was really it for her, that our time was ending. I remember opening up our home, and inviting people in to say goodbye to her. I remember tucking her in every night, not knowing if it was the last night we would do that. The past became very present. I was overwhelmed. It felt different sitting there at Panera, then it did when I lived it and I had to stop.
Fast forward a couple days at my apartment, trying to find the motivation to write again. This internal dialogue begins. In case you’re wondering my internal dialogue, is really me talking to the Lord.
Me: Lord my heart is just ugh. This writing out Katie Grace story is a lot.
Lord: It is.
Me: I just didn’t realize how entrenched I was in survival mode. I am not sure I can do this. It hurts so much more to retell the story than it ever did to live it. Can that be right.
Lord: That’s what survival mode is for. It buffers the pain. Allowing a person to “survive” without feeling the full extent of the pain in the moment.
Me: That seems so logical and simple. So how do I know I can do this? Feel the fullness of what I have truly lost.
Lord: Well….how I can be your comforter if you won’t embrace the pain?
Lord: You can’t embrace what you won’t acknowledge and I can’t comfort what you won’t invite me into, and you can’t really invite me into what you won’t acknowledge.
Me: ….more silence….
Me: ….but the pain….
Lord: I know.
Me: How do I know it won’t swallow me whole and spit me out?
Lord: Because you have already done this, and you made it.
Me: So what I am hearing is I should rest in the pain, trusting that I won’t be swallowed whole and lost in my loss.
There it is. The resounding revelation crying out for a voice this week.
Survival mode isn’t bad or something to have a distaste for. It is necessary to get through the really arduous and painful things that this life hands us. Appreciating it for what it is, is a superb choice. Using the lens of survival as the means of looking at what you have been through, that is detrimental. It creates a reality where the pain is always buffered. If the pain is always buffered, it leaves us unable to acknowledge it. When we don’t acknowledge it, we are left asking the question, how can we invite comfort from the pain if we can’t embrace it the pain.
This is probably going to sound harsh, I never understood why women cried when I told them my story with Katie Grace. I don’t mean it in an unkind way, I just didn’t understand. I did understand on some level but it was from a place of survival….that buffered place that allowed me to thrive in my world with her. So I would easily tell her story of medical woe’s and impending death, as if I was rattling off some arbitrary history. It wouldn’t be until I saw the tears falling down the face of who I was talking to, that I would think “oh bring it in….too much.” And when I heard the statement “I don’t know how you do it.” I would think “I don’t have a choice. I just have to do it well.”
Today, as I write this blog, and I write her book, I really get it. REALLY get it. I can finally truly connect with the tears those dear women cried for us. I understand every “I’m sorry,” and every hug in a way that survival mode wouldn’t let me. As I lean into the revelation of that inner dialogue and I embrace the pain from the past in the present without the buffer of survival. As I breathe in the trust that I won’t be crushed, or swallowed whole by the vastness of our family’s loss, and rest in the pain. I can say, “I am sorry too.”