As we turn the calendar to another new month…May…it feels as though death is creeping back in. I know that we should look forward to May. Each new day is a gift. Each day and month, however, can feel like another day without Grace…another day farther away from her memory. Instead of feeling so distant from Grace’s memory as time goes on, we want to see this as one day closer to being with her and all of our loved ones again. Most importantly, we long to be with Jesus. At times, it continues to feel as though our lives changed just yesterday. Turning the calendar to 2012 was difficult because I could no longer say “last year”. Coming into another May, I’ve expected to “feel better” by now. Some things have changed, but there continue to be moments where this feels just as bad as her birthday.
Last Sunday, we sang Psalm 118… “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I see and say those words several times each day, because they hang in our kitchen. I couldn’t sing those words last Sunday. They actually made me angry. I felt as though I shouldn’t think about what happened almost 2 years ago. Instead I should suck it up, deal with it, and get over it. “Look forward to today, Wendy.” I do, but my “today” will always have someone missing while I’m on this earth. This is what keeps me looking forward to heaven.
I know that I’ve talked about this before in a previous post: My pastor said that I should focus on today…not the past. I try to do this. If only it was that easy. I feel that it’s necessary for me to put myself in those early moments to see the blessings that have come because of the pain we continue to live with. The “seasoned veterans” told me from day 4 that “time heals…things will get better.” I’m still waiting for that. Did they forget how difficult it was for them when their lives changed? Time has allowed me to learn to process things. Sometimes it takes a few minutes; sometimes it takes several days. Time has also changed how I think and how I listen. I also react differently. When I hear of someone whose life has changed, I put myself back to our first moments of grief, as difficult as it is to do, and try to reach out.
I want to keep my focus on Christ and what He did for me…for Grace, not on what happened to our family.
Yesterday in church, we sang “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb”…a song that will probably always bring me to tears. When I was pregnant with Grace, I remember frequently singing this song with Heather as I pushed her on the swing. At that time, Heather was 3. She knew all of the verses from memory. The day that Bob and I came home from the hospital without Grace, our friend, Angie, told me that Heather was singing this song at the top of her lungs as she was swinging outside. Angie told Heather that Jesus was holding Grace in His arms in heaven. Heather said, “But I wanted to hold her, too.” Our Sunday School children sang this song at Grace’s memorial service. The last verse includes these words...“And when my short life is ended, By his angel hosts attended, He shall fold me to his breast, There within His arms to rest."
I braved Sunday School after church yesterday. I was quickly put back into “survival mode” as we discussed King David’s sin with Bathsheba. I struggle with this section in so many ways. To me, it seems as though David was being punished for his sin of adultery. His son died as a result of his sin. We discussed the difference between punishment and consequences of sin. The punishment of sin is death, but Jesus took that upon Himself when He suffered and died on the cross in our place. Sin also has consequences while we live on this earth. Grace’s death feels more to me like a punishment than something done out of love for our family.
We also talked about David’s reaction after he learned that his son had died. “Then David got up from the ground. After he washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house,…and he ate.” 2 Samuel 12:20 He said that while his son was still alive, he fasted and wept hoping that God would be gracious to him and let the child live. “But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:23 It sounds to me as though David was able to accept it, deal with it, “get over it”, and move on immediately. I wonder how Bathsheba reacted? Do others refer to this section of Scripture when offering their well-meaning words of comfort to those who have lost a child? David made it look pretty easy, so those who haven’t been through this must assume that it is. During class, someone said that David figured there was nothing he could do about the situation, so he moved on. Is this why I’ve been asked, “Why is your grief so much more…?” Is everyone supposed to act like David? The last thing that I wanted to do was eat. I wasn’t even feeling all that thankful, but we did and continue to worship God.
I’m pretty sure that this isn’t all there was to David’s grief. I’m certain that he missed his son until he saw him again in heaven.
On Saturday, May 5, my dad gets to celebrate his birthday in heaven with Grace. When I was a child, I remember having races with him from the house to the barn and vice versa. He was so fast. Grace won her race only hours after being born. They would tell us that it feels as though they’ve been living in heaven forever. I look forward to that day.