Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pain & Hope

I'm supposed to be sleeping right now, but not much of that is happening for me lately.  Honestly, it's odd; sleep is usually my escape during times like these.  Last night excluded, the sleep that I have been able to snatch has been plagued by dreams of Ginger, & thus far less than restful.

I attempted to write last night, but just one look at the pictures of Ginger & I was wracked with sobs.  I've likened my constantly fluctuating emotions to weather, & let me tell you, the weather over here is stranger than any I've ever experienced.  One moment, there's a fierce summer thunderstorm.  It usually begins slowly, then builds til it consumes all of me.  My tears are the rain, my audible cries are the thunder, & I suppose my searing pain is the lightning.  Next moment there's icy cold numbness, where I'm so emotionally spent that I can't feel a thing.  No emotions & nothing matters.  It's not that I'm hopeless, I'm just . . . nothing.  Finally, like a tiny shaft of sunlight that breaks through the clouds for a time, there's hope.  I can't begin to express what a comfort Reformed theology has been to me.  Not in & of itself, mind you, but in how it points me back to God's sovereignty & love.  And of course, Michael is constantly by my side.  I told him many months ago, when we knew this moment would come, that it would probably be better for me to be able to grieve alone.  I thought that I wouldn't be able to fully release my emotions in his presence, that I would hold back to protect him from my pain.  I was so wrong.  There's absolutely no way that I could make it through this without him.

Reading back through, it all sounds . . . poetic, almost.  Actually living through it is not.  The last time I felt pain this severe was when my grandfather died nearly 17 years ago.  You want the unvarnished truth?  My heart has been ripped out & dashed into millions upon millions of pieces on the floor.  Sometimes I can't breathe.  My eyes are often swollen, red, & oh so exhausted from the tears that keep welling up & overflowing of their own accord.  Sometimes I curl up into a fetal position while I wail out my longing for my baby to come back to me.  "Please, God, PLEASE let me wake up from this nightmare!  I don't want it to be like this!  I don't want her to be gone!"  I've almost vomited several times when I've given in to the need to cry long & violently from deep within my body, so I have to be careful to calm myself down when I feel like I'm reaching that threshhold.  Which is often.  I keep seeing things that remind me of her, that bring back memories of her, & I burst into tears all over.  You'd think I'd have run dry already.  I fled Beth & Chris' house yesterday when Michael received a phone call from the pet cemetery informing us that they had just finished burying her.  I have to protect others from seeing my pain; I know they love me & want to be there for me, but it's too raw & violent to expose them to.  Michael soon came out & held me while I poured out my grief.  Dear sweet man.  He's an exemplary husband.  Words fail to express how much comfort he brings me, how much I feel his love, & how much I love him.  Jake's always here, too.  He honestly hasn't seemed to grieve like I expected him to, but he's sticking by my side, often giving me sugar or looking at me with his big doe eyes seeming to convey his love to me.  I couldn't bear it if the house were completely empty.  Having him to love on & play with is another comfort.

It's ironic to me that Ginger died one day short of the two year anniversary of her diagnosis.  Time has become a funny animal, seeming to move as slow as molasses in winter while rushing along at the same time.  It seems like ages ago when Mama & Dad left, yet that was just hours before my baby's last breath.  However, could 54 hours really have already flown by since that awful hour?  It's hard to fathom.  We came home last night, & I dissolved into tears when I realized that she wasn't waiting by the door.  She's been there every single day for the past 8 years, expecting me to drop everything & lean over to envelop her in my love.  How do I go on without her?  How do I live without her sweet face, adorable personality, & unconditional love?  These are my feelings, but God's truth grounds me.  My life & faith are built upon Him, & He's the solid rock.  This storm that is now crashing against me will not fell me.  I will lean on Him, & He will see me through this.  How people get through the trials that inevitably plague us in this life without God is beyond me.

I've received several emails from people that I dearly love, & I know y'all want to know how I'm doing.  This is the truth:  I'm hurting.  I'm grieving.  I'm in fairly constant pain that overshadows even happy moments.  But I'm going to be okay.  God is with me, & He will carry me through.  I don't grieve as one without hope.  Thank you for your prayers, for your words of love to me, for your support & encouragement.  They mean - you mean - far more than words can ever express.  At some point in the future, I'd like to tell you of how God has shown us His love & mercy throughout this entire trial.  For now, know that I'm leaning on God & receiving comfort from Him through all of my loved ones.  He is good, He is merciful, He's the Love of my life.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)