I read this blog the other day via a friend on Facebook (http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2013/09/01/hope-after-miscarriage/) and it spoke to me in a big way. Her loss was different than my loss, but I wish I had her courage and faith in the face of it.
A few things really grabbed me…she said, “Praise became my weapon against grief.” My “weapon” was avoidance. I avoided God and church, friends and family, and in some ways life in general because everything hurt so much. Coming back into existence after avoiding things and people for so long is difficult. I am still not very good at it. I am terrified of social situations because I might have to tell someone that Michael is gone (even church). I am terrified to admit to others who don’t know me that while it may seem like Frank and I have been together since day one, creating these beautiful children of ours together, we are actually the product of one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. I don’t like to tell my story because I don’t like the pity, or the questions. Mostly I don’t want to experience judgment from strangers like I have from people in the past. The result of me using avoidance to manage my grief is that I still have a really long way to go 4 1/2 years later. I say manage because I wasn’t confronting it. I just ran in circles and let my grief chase me, when I should have stopped running and fell to my knees.
I started going to a Women’s Bible Study last week, and I actually liked meeting new people. The experience wasn’t easy to get through though. I had to hold back tears during each worship song because the words overwhelmed me. I am not a big fan of contemporary Christian music, but still the words dug into my soul. I didn’t tell any of the new people I met about ME (just the kids), and as soon as it was over I bolted. I just wanted to get to the door before I cried. I will go back because I think I need it, but I know each week it will be hard. I know at some point I probably won’t be able to hold back the tears…and there will be a sea of people who won’t really understand the “why?” but maybe, just maybe, it won’t matter one bit. I am a little afraid of that moment because I have experienced many times “Christians” turning their back on me. But, I am going to remember some GOOD people when this happens: my Grandma, my parents, all the people who know my parents (and me) that pray for me and have watched me grow into a woman, and two women that have encouraged me in Christ over the last 4 1/2 years more than they know. The first is Tyler…whenever I talked about God, church, and people she listened and encouraged me to try. She always tried to understand exactly what I was going through after losing Michael, even though I felt it was nearly impossible for anyone to completely understand (I know now she probably understood in a way we both didn’t realize). She also always encourages me when I write something like this!! I had to find my courage, but her voice has always been in the back of my mind pushing me forward. The other is my physical therapist, Carolyn, who I felt comfortable enough to share my whole story with, and who encouraged me three times a week for four months as much as Tyler always does. Of course, I will also remember God, and the fact that people are not a reflection if HIM, but rather themselves. I think in the past I have forgotten that.
This next part of the referenced blog has taken me a few days to process….
“The goodness of God had not changed because of the brokenness of this world. He still loved me. He saw me in all of it, and He was right there with me. Because even though the baby had died, I couldn’t lose my Jesus too. I couldn’t believe that He had done this TO me. I couldn’t make Him the bad guy and blame Him and yet run to find comfort and peace in Him. I needed Him more than ever… and when I blessed His name, I found peace. Because the truth is, He is good.
When bad things happen, God is still good.” -Scissortail Silk
To be honest, I lost my Jesus for awhile. I walked away because I blamed him. I was so hurt and broken that I spent many months obsessing over whether Michael was in Heaven or Hell and planning to find my way to him. It is really scary for me to admit that to so many people, but I couldn’t see past my grief and I didn’t want to live without Michael. I failed to realize for a long time that Michael was living in me and in each of the children. When I say a long time, I mean that it took years. I still struggle in that area in some ways, just not in a way that is scary to Frank anymore. He knows that it is still hard for me to live in Michael’s absence, but that mentally I am in a good place.
On the other hand, I never stopped believing in God or believing God was good…I just thought he wasn’t so good to me. I could look around and see all of the good things around me, but I couldn’t see the good in my own life. It is hard to explain how I could turn my back, but still believe. It is just the way that it was for me. I have gotten to the point where I throw around less blame, and I most certainly do not blame God (anymore). I don’t blame the men who were with Michael (though I did a lot), I don’t blame Michael, I don’t blame the government, I don’t blame Afghanistan, and I only occasionally blame MARSOC. That’s a big deal, trust me. I can’t place blame anymore because I realize tragedy happens. Death happens. It just happens. If there had been no war, this all still could have happened…maybe differently…but it still could have happened. Church and people still can feel suffocating and overwhelming…but God, He does not. I’m getting better at letting go of things and acknowledging that God is in control. He is in control even when things don’t go “my way”. He is in control, even when I feel out of control.
It has taken me a lot longer to get to the point of the woman who wrote the blog I shared. It still hurts so much…I remember thinking abut Michael like she thought of her baby. “I want to keep him. He is not yours to take! He’s mine. He’s ours. Give him back!!” I remember
crying. bawling wailing each of those phrases. I remember the anger I felt. The disappointment and the confusion. I remember it all…and looking back at all those desperate, lonely, and alone moments, I wasn’t alone at all. God was always there and in some ways so was Michael. And today? Their presence surrounds me and carries me…not the same way obviously…but I know AGAIN that I am never alone.
I believe again what I always tell the kids “God is with us and God is good.” Do I understand all the bad things that I have been through? Not at all. Do I believe it will all be okay anyway? Absolutely. I just have a refreshed perspective now.
I’d like to offer a song that I always sang to myself…in the shower, or under my bed, or in my closet…when the fog of grief became so thick around me that I wanted to give up. It is interesting to me now that I sang this song despite the blame and anger I threw at God. My heart was always in a different place than my head. I first heard it (or remember hearing it) at my Gungi’s funeral when I was 16…and I always sing it when my heart is full of grief and pain. It is a beautiful and moving song. I never get past the second verse without tears flooding my face…
On Eagle’s Wings
You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
Who abide in His shadow for life,
Say to the Lord, “My Refuge,
My Rock in Whom I trust.”
And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
And famine will bring you no fear;
Under His Wings your refuge,
His faithfulness your shield.
You need not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Though thousands fall about you,
Near you it shall not come.
For to His angels He’s given a command,
To guard you in all of your ways,
Upon their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
There is hope in the darkness.