Thursday, April 1, 2010
Glimpses of Reality
As I walked in the greenhouse today I watched my two little girls run ahead of me...weaving between the rows of flowers. I see them, but my vision is blurred as I realize that my Ashley used to be there among the flowers. The greenhouse was her playground too. What is happening here? Is this for real? How can my entire life with Ashley be wrapped up into a box of memories? Why do I have to talk about my little girl in past tense? Who she was...what she used to do...what she looked like? It is so unnatural to hear my children say "after Ashley died.." in a sentence....is this really my life now?? Do I have to take my young family to the cemetary to feel even the least bit whole as a family? Does my little girl's name really have two dates below it? Could it really be true that I am slowly packing my daughter's life away into boxes to be set on a shelf? The land I am in is so foreign and unreal it's as if It's NOT for real! But, I know it is real...I just don't get it. I can't understand it...it's far too big to wrap my mind around it.
In the first few days and weeks after Ashley died, I can remember shuttering at the thought of 2,3,8 months down the road...I could barely imagine making it to the next day. I remember dreading the change of seasons, holidays, birthdays, school, church....everything without Ashley. None of it has been easy...to be honest, I think that spring has been the worst of all. Here I am 8 months later still not being able to imagine the next year. All my life I have spent looking forward to the next season of life....for me and for my children. I loved to imagine what they would be like, where they would go, what they would do or become. Now, I pray with my children that God would come quickly...because we are longing to be home, to be whole. There are days when I plead with God for this life to be over.
It seems in the past few weeks glimpses of reality have hit me and take me back for a moment. I have to sit back in disbelief that this is my life. I just can't believe it. It's as if I am going about life each day being "immune" or maybe "numbed" to reality. Sometimes when we are the ones in the "box", it's hard to see the big picture. Every once in a while I have a second where I slip outside my box and peek in through a window. I see a small glimpse of this life I am living and it's more than I can bear. This happens to me often. There are times when I will be talking about Ashley or looking at a picture of her...she seems so close to me...so familiar...I know her so well...like it is so normal to have her be a part of my life..AND THEN IT HITS...she's gone. She's not here. She's been gone for 8 months. She's not coming back. All of the sudden I don't understand death. How can it be that someone I know so well, who was just here...can be gone forever?
One thing I hear often is "I don't know how you are doing this." Well...I don't know how I am doing this either. Humanly speaking, I don't think it's possible for a parent to survive the loss of a child on their own. In my time of despair and deep sorrow, when I feel the bitterness of this pain...I sometimes hear others urging me toward the Lord. I agree, but often feel too paralyzed to move. I hear people remark about my faith being strong. How is this possible when I feel so far away from God. I feel so weak. I know that I am "doing" very little of prayer time and devotions. This is not of me! How am I walking? I'm NOT! I am convinced that although I feel so far from God, and although some may think I am dwelling in sorrow and bitterness...I am actually closer to God than I've ever been. God has actually picked me up and is carrying me. God is near to the brokenhearted. So the faith and strength that others see in me...is not mine. God has revealed his strength through me. I am just a broken body.
As I write this I feel so frustrated. I feel comforted to know that God has his hands on me...that He is molding me into a work of art that He wants to use for His glory. It sounds good to me, but at the same time I hate it. I don't want to be used in this way. I want my Ashley back. I understand the depths of despair and the bitterness in the hearts of the psalmists. I also feel too weak to go "kicking and screaming" my way through this. I feel like I have no other way than to let Jesus pick up my broken body and spirit and carry me. I don't have anything to give.