Friday, December 07, 2007

The Jews Have it Right

We have no rules for grief. Jews have rituals they have to observe. I think (but not sure) Catholics might have some too.

Us lowly Protestants sit figuratively scratching our heads after a loved one passes on. Grief is not an overwhelming flood (at least not when you've had months of expectation). It laps up the sand in small waves and sometimes large ones, but for much of the time you don't feel anything. You ask yourself "is it alright to go to the store?" "read a book?" "get some work done?" Is it appropriate to pack your grief in a to-go bag and move through your life?

I will miss my Mom tremendously; there is no one else I have loved every minute of my life as I have her (I love my children every moment of their lives, but they came along late in mine, as did their mother). "Bitter-sweet" takes it's meaning from delighting in knowing she's in paradise and yet missing her here on this Earth.

Maybe I'll think of some rules. Sandy T. gave me a good one about writing notes on balloons and releasing them to the sky. Maybe we'll do that with the kids on Sunday.


Sherlock said...

How are you guys doing? We'll be praying for ya'll.

Rob said...

It comes in waves. Years of denial and escapism have prepared me well. Knowing it was coming and having seen her last month helps.

Little things set you off, though. Packing up the manger scene from the party last night was difficult (mom painted the figures, dad built the barn). Being in full denial through busy-ness last night worked until someone expressed condolences. Then I felt like a chicken trying to stay in flight. I appreciate that my friends care, it's just difficult to respond and stay merry, y'know?

(THANK YOU, Tara, for understanding. Your sensitivity has made you an oasis in this storm).

Rob said...

Thanks for your comment at church, today, Jo. I know you're going through some very difficult things and didn't want to open those wounds in public. I do care, though, and if you want to talk about it, feel free to track me down.

Ray was my grandfather's name and literally my best friend in the world. I'd go to his house every day after school and work on his yard with him. They moved in with us when grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. Watching him fade away was like losing a piece of myself - the only good piece as far as I was concerned. The only thing that has ever consoled me with all of that was that he died with a smile on his face. My memory is hazy about a lot of things, but I can clearly remember his face, his laugh, and his smell. Every now and then I see my reflection and see a hint of him.

I envy my Mom getting to spend eternity with him starting now. There are so many people I can't wait to see on heaven's steps.

Losing loved ones is the most difficult treasure to store up in heaven, but you get them all back, someday, and until then, as you carry on, you carry some of each of them.

Tara said...

I was just thinking about what a "ride" grief is: One minute life seems(embarrassingly) normal,the next I get broadsided with pain and sadness. It's the little things I miss the most. Talking to her about mundane, everyday things, comparing notes on motherhood and life. During the holiday season and the current courtship, I miss telling her all the silly, sweet, aggravating,precious events and conversations that swirl around me. I know that God is sovereign/gracious/merciful/faithful, but this is still a hard thing to go through. So, when you're strong, you help me up, and when I'm strong, I'll do the same for you. I'm so thankful that God puts us in spiritual families as well as human families.

Sherlock said...

Your welcome.

God seems to have a lot of us in this season right now. As I write this I am listening to a message by my good friend Gareth Lloyd entitled: How Do I cope?

I'm not quite sure what it's about yet, but you might be able to get something out of it. ( five minutes into it).

I'm in denial at this point.

Sherlock said...

The hardest thing write now is this since of dread hanging over me.
Honestly one of the things i'm struggling with is putting on a smile and walking into church like normal.

Thank goodness for funny wisdoms by kids like Aly, Ezra and Mira.

Rob said...

I hear you, Tara. (You too, Jo.) It helped having you behind me when worship overwhelmed me. Funny how having someone understand helps without have a word be said.

My dad is pretty bitter about it all; why did she have to suffer so? He says he'll have a few choice words for God when he gets up there (sends a shiver down my back to think he might really believe that).

On the bright side, he says he has conversations with mom each morning (he does the talking, no voices answering). I'm praying that conversation will turn into prayer. I've told him God's shoulders are big enough for dad to vent how he feels, but don't be surprised if God answers. One can only hope.

Jo, I'm becoming convinced that denial is a male trait, and not necessarily a bad one. Sunday I'll slug you in the shoulder and you can know that means all sorts of emotional touchy-feely stuff that we'd rather deny, okay?