Up the driveway we drove and before he shut off the engine, he turns to me.
While holding my hand, he looks me in the eye and says, “I love you and I know how hard all of this has been for you and I don’t expect you to try again, if you don’t want to.” An enormous weight lifted off my shoulders just to know this from him.
I am a very lucky woman, having such a wonderful husband who I know loves and cares for me. In the days, weeks, and months to follow my love for this man has deepened to a new level that I cannot find the words for. His showed a tenderness that I didn’t know could even exist. And while he usually oblivious to my emotional state, he would just know when I needed a hug. He would comfort me by just sitting with me in silence. He did not push me to ‘move on’ or ‘keep busy’ and he simply accepted my way of mourning. I have always treasured him, but this year I realize how rare and precious of a gem he truly is. This year I fell in love with him all over again.
Over the past year Cheerio has gone though one of those seasons of life that changes a person.
At no time did I question God, nor did it shake my faith in Him, in His love, or if He is Who and what He claims to be.
It did; however, cause me to question why His followers, who claim to show “the love and compassion of Christ,” can be such cowards and disappear during a person’s darkest hours.
It caused me to question friends and friendships. There are some people I’ve know for over 10 years who were among the "missing." I was disappointed and hurt to realize they’re apparently only surface friends and I grieved saying goodbye to the friendship that apparently died somewhere along the way.
While questioning friendships, I let go of some of the ones from the past. I also formed new friendships and there were some friends who were only on the fringes before who became very dear and special to me.
Sometimes it was a facebook message or chat “thinking of you’, or maybe it was a phone call to see how I was doing, and there were those who sent cards or flowers. Each of these events was like poking holes in the darkness that had covered my soul and allowed tiny rays of sunlight to shine in.
Each person who was brave enough to show even the smallest amount of concern has been fused forever to a special place on my heart.
One of the changes I’m not really happy about.
I’ve noticed that I just am not interested in sugar coating things anymore. I just don’t want to waste my time with ‘drama. I have lost my patience with it.
People need to grow up, stop being so self-centered, and take ownership and responsibility of their own actions.
Among all the angst, emotional and relationship turmoil, anger, and hurt, something unseen has happened as well. Death has brought about some healing. It was a gradual thing, the healing didn’t happen right away. In the weeks after our loss, I exhausted myself with physical work outdoors – moving dirt, shoveling tons of stone, moving rocks, and terracing the landscape.
My mind was numb, while my heart and days seemed empty.
The tears flowed for days and weeks, and months, and a smile was a rare thing indeed. I worked the soil until the ground was frozen. I then retreated to our mountain, walking through the woods in silence. I would sit on a log or a rock, or in a tree. I was in no hurry to be anywhere or go anyplace or do anything. I had no ear buds or ipod as any clanging noise was unwelcome. It was an unusual winter with the last few snowstorms we had.
With my aversion to the cold, I surprised myself with how frequently I was drawn into the woods and would take long slow walks in spite of the bitter cold and the falling snow.
Those times were my respite. I did not push myself to think, evaluate, or analyze. I think the snow and cold quieted and slowed things down.
Initially, I was worried that losing our Little Flower Bud would intensify my already searing pain regarding infants. But in the past few months I’ve noticed that the crippling reaction to infants has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not about to volunteer in the nursery or offer to hold someone’s newborn. But I don’t find myself crumbling inside when in the same room with an infant.
A year ago I couldn’t say that.
A year ago I was still edgy just to walk through the baby section of any store, but I’ve noticed that this too has changed. I have been able to walk through without the deafening sound of my heartbeat pounding loudly in my ears. My gut isn’t twisted into a jumble of knots when pregnancy is mentioned or discussed.
These may seem trivial to someone else. But for me, those 14 years after I lost my son to adoption were long and difficult when anything infant related came up, but I can now breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over.
But most importantly, when I think of my son, I feel free in this area.
I no longer feel nervous or fret over the thought of him asking about siblings. I no longer have to worry about it being a burden on him as if he is ‘the reason’ we didn’t have other children. It won’t hurt me or him anymore.
Death comes in a dark cloak to carry someone away. It leaves a trail of tears, sorrow, grief, and mourning. But from it’s passing, I have felt on the inside, a healing that was long overdue.