|Photo Courtesy of Trish Scott |
Most days I step boldly forward in this life and find secure footing as the kids and I navigate our way into a new kind of beautiful life.
But some days…
Some days, I take that step and find nothing but air beneath my feet. I free fall. Spinning wildly, gasping for air, and wondering what will break my fall.
While the bad days are farther apart now, they still arrive ferociously and unexpectedly, leaving me faced flat on the ground, a bit dazed, and quietly whimpering the name “Jesus”.
Medical memories flood me, nestling in the forefront as if set to constant replay on the big screen of my mind.
The days away from our children turning too quickly into weeks and then months; we blink and it has been two years consumed with medical treatments. The IV’s, tests, scans, exams that violate, radiation masks, chemotherapy ports, too many surgeries to count; they are horrors that can never be erased from my existence.
His constant suffering plagues my thoughts.
My continual juggling of roles. I remember with pride the honor of fulfilling my wedding vows to this man, “to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health”. The privilege of being a mother to his children. The two separate responsibilities are so tightly interwoven, existing out of the deepest love for my family.
It’s all there. The guilt over being away from my children coupled with the joy of serving my husband by rarely leaving his side in the battle. The traumatic memories of medical horrors I can find no words to describe and the comfort of the love we shared that somehow only deepened through the journey.
I remember someone telling me that missing him would be harder than walking beside him as he awaited death. I thought they were crazy. I needed them to be crazy. The pain of anticipating his death was excruciating. Having to ensure I was the first one in the door from school carpool so I could protect a child from being the one to find their Daddy’s unresponsive body somewhere in our home was exhausting. Holding my own breath to listen for his staggered breathing throughout each night would cause heart palpitations. I am experiencing them even as I type this.
Then, he died.
And someone dared tell me year one would be hard but year two would be hell on earth. I needed them to be a liar. I couldn’t fathom pain more intense than each “first” ticking off the calendar. I thought “well, maybe for them, but we have been living with the stress of death for a few years, so we are probably further along in our grief journey than most.”
I’m not here to say that losing a loved one to a terminal illness is harder than receiving a state trooper knock on the door with notification they have passed away. This isn’t a competition! It is all hard. It is all painful. It all downright stinks. All I know is what I have experienced. And yes, while we were able to say goodbye, I also witnessed suffering that I wish I could somehow un-see. I simply thought we were “more advanced grievers” in our home.
I was wrong.
Year two was H A R D. It was MESSY and painful. It compounded grief in ways that I could never have foreseen. There was anger. There were hurt feelings between friends. Abandonment, betrayal, loss of self-all tumbled upon us triggering new levels of grief in each of us. His loss was the undercurrent of every encounter we had; whether the other person realized it or not.
We have emerged into the beginning of year three without him; having passed the two year anniversary of his passing one month ago today. It is still hard, but we have found new footing and it seems to be solidly holding us.
Here is hoping that the healing is sinking deeper within each of us with the dawn of each new day.
They say “this year will be a turning point for us”. The missing never ceases, but the coping with loss becomes more stable. I pray they are correct. I need stability. Our children need to string good days together in a consistent pattern of success. I believe Tim is praying on our behalf at the very throne of God; praying for Him to use all of this, our good days and our bad, for His glory.
Lord, thank You for never once leaving our side. YOU ARE GOOD. Remind us to remain focused on your goodness and rain down your healing into every crevice of our brokeness. Amen.