Sunday, July 13, 2014

Healing



     I am lying on the cushioned porch swing in the evening calm. Dinner dishes are done and put away. Sunlight slants across the grass and into woods behind our house. Birds are chirping in the cool breeze, flitting from tree to tree. Sweetface is reading in the wicker chair, his feet propped on the ottoman. My heart lies quiet within me, struggling to heal inside even as I rest. Yesterday was my first day without tears. Today not so good. My hairdresser asked if I would like to talk about Scot's death. I could only shake my head "No" and squeeze back the tears. I remain too very fragile. I cannot trust myself to talk about it for fear of another episode such as when I sat sobbing while having my ragged nails manicured. Just when I think I am getting stronger my cup of grief spills over, leaving me weak and drained. Friends come over, text and call. I am okay with them for the most part. They have already been told that our son is gone. It is harder to start from the beginning and tell someone new, bringing it all back afresh. It has only been a month now. I am still raw, like an open wound; an exposed nerve. But daily, bit by bit, I am mending from the inside out. Allowing myself to cry when needed, but resisting the deepest pit of engulfing grief that stalks one step behind me.



     I have been re-reading, for the first time in many years, an old favorite book that has consoled and encouraged me throughout my fifty-year-long walk of faith, Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard, born in 1905. The author prefaces her book with, "The High Places of victory and union with Christ can be reached by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by laying down our own will and accepting His. The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief and pain, and of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious, these are the lessons of the allegory in this book."  It is the story of timid little Much-Afraid, who is attempting an escape from her Fearing family to follow the Great Shepherd to the highest mountain top, reminding me again that to reach the Pinnacle of Love one must climb there in the company of two veiled assistants, named Sorrow and Suffering. I feel that, rather than climbing there, however, I am crawling naked across jagged rocks every inch of the way.

 


 


 


 
     I have also been reading So Much Work to Be Done, Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier. I have always loved reading excerpts from the diaries of pioneering women, describing their hardships and struggles to survive, to remind myself that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. This book, filled with remembrances of wives who followed their aspiring husbands to the California Gold Rush, tell brave and harrowing tales of danger and earthshattering loss upon loss. Last night I read an entry by Lucetta Rogers in 1882. "I too have been called to pass through the bitter trials again. My son Walter died last May 18 after a long illness...his suffering was fearful, but with it all he never gave up his courage.  (He) was wonderful the doctors thought. Left a wife, 24, but no children. I am now all alone as you know. My husband has been dead three years."  How could I pity myself after reading that? I have lost my beloved firstborn son, but he did not suffer.  And I am left with a doting husband and three other children, four grandchildren, and a faithful company of devoted friends. I remind myself to thank God every day for my generous blessings while allowing myself the space to grieve as well. 

      Sweetface and I had planned to be in Alaska over the Fourth of July holiday this year with our son Todd and his family. It is also my birthday, as well as my oldest granddaughter Gretchen's, who was born on my fiftieth birthday. We love to celebrate together each year, as "soul mates." Little did I know how all of our plans would be changed by the sound of police pounding on our door in the middle of the night.  They announced, "We are here about your son, Scot."  I knew at that moment that my life had changed forever. This July Fourth my husband took me to place a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers and a patriotic flag upon Scot's grave, who loved his country so very much. His remains lie there now, next to his Grandmother and Grandfather.                           

 
      Shortly after the funeral I had a dream in which I realized that I had lost my right leg. In the dream I did not feel sorry for myself, but was hard at work learning to walk with the aid of crutches and a prosthetic limb. But there was also a sadness about the fact that from now the first thing that would come to my consciousness each day upon awakening was the realization that a large part of myself was missing-- part of myself that I had always depended upon being there; just gone. 
      Fortunately, though, I am convinced that this separation is only temporary. My Uncle Jim reminded me of the last words of his brother who looked up towards the ceiling of his hospital bed and marvelled about, "All those people up there." I know those same people greeted Scot as he departed this earth. They will all greet me soon enough as well. The circle will remain unbroken.
      In the meantime I will remain as busy as possible, doing my normal, healing, daily routines. Cooking, cleaning, shopping. Reminding myself of our very great blessings.  And learning how to walk again in a whole new way. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

11 comments:

  1. Dear Linda - Though I don't know you or your family personally, you have been in my thoughts and prayers so many times over this last month! Thank you for the update, you expressed where you are at in your grief so beautifully. I just want you to know, I am praying much! Blessings, Shirley in Washington

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  2. My dear friend Linda: I just pulled down to the June 16 post and saw again Scot's smiling childlike face. Please know that Scott is now smiling down on you with that same smile you enjoyed throughout his life. You have such a way with words I pray that others that have felt the same overpowering loss will be able to read what you have written in this post and that they would find comfort. Our precious Lord has his loving arms wrapped around Scot and know that his arms are also wrapped around you. Your strong faith will help you in this very difficult time. Praying........
    j9

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  3. Sweet Linda- I love you so much and I just want you to know if you need me anytime let me know I am there for you. Thanks for showing us how faith works and thanks for being honest with all of us. Please, continue to share. You are such a light of God and believe it or not he is shining through even in this storm. tb

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  4. Grief is handled so differently and that is how we are able to process Life. I have no suggestions, but can only offer friendship .... Thinking of you and your family.

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  5. Oh Linda, somehow I missed the post about your son. I am so very sorry! I cannot even imagine.....praying for you. (((hugs)))

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  6. Linda, I came here today to see how you were doing. I know just of you from a few comments on the prudent homemaker. You have been in my prayers and thoughts I have been hoping you have been finding some comfort just so you might have a moment of rest. This was a very lovely post.

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  7. Dear Linda, I have thought of you and prayed for you and your family so often since your last post. I wanted to post again to let you know that, but I didn't want you to feel pressured to post again before you were ready. Your strength and faith is an inspiration to anyone who reads your blog.

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  8. Wow Linda, such beautiful writing. Your perspective is refreshing...I have always tried to be grateful for the blessings we have been granted. As bad as it sometimes seems, you are right..others have it so much worse. I'm glad you are starting to heal! God bless you and your family!

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  9. Linda,
    Your words are so eloquent. Your grief for your wonderful son, Scot, your faith in God gives strength and my tears well-up for you and your family. I cannot imagine the depth of your sadness, however, knowing you and the strong lady you are, your compassionate spouse, devoted family and friends are with you in this healing time to comfort and hopefully help bring peace to your heart and in your daily life, so you may continue being the pillar of strength and blessing you have been to all of us.
    Linda, if there is some way, any way we can be of comfort to you, we are here for you.
    You are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.
    W&A, B

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  10. Hi Linda
    I don't know you personally, but I've been following your blog for awhile now. It is so heart wrenching to imagine what you and your family are going through right now. I lost my sister several years ago when she was only 32 and I remember how long it took to heal -- but eventually we did. I will be praying for peace and healing for you and your family.
    Sharon

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  11. Linda,
    Came over from prudent homemaker, I am praying that the Lord will comfort you and your family bless and keep you in all his ways.I love hinds feet on high places .
    Patti

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