My story is old news at this point. Three and a half years later I can walk into a room of people and know that the first thing they see about me is not my grief, not because it’s not there, but because my body has adjusted to functioning without the tell tale signs of the sadness I carry. A grieving parent will go through their every day with reminders of their loved one every where they look.
When I wake up in the morning I pass a little girls empty bed. I walk into the kitchen and see her chair at the breakfast table still vacant. Retrieving my coat from the closet I feel a stab of pain because her tiny pink North Face hangs exactly where I left it years ago. I turn my head to back down my driveway and always notice the empty car seat where she once sat. This is all before lunch time; there are a hundred other reminders that continue to poke at me as I go about my day. To say my story is old news is accurate, to say my grief is old news would be grossly incorrect.
Last week I decided that it was time that I put Naomi’s clothes away. It was a painful process of picking each article of clothing out of the hamper and moving it into the soapy water. I was wrong in thinking that was the hard part. The hard part came next when all of the items were dried and it was time to sort and fold them. The final step was putting the cleaned out basket back in the corner of her room, and that was the hardest part of all because it too was now empty.
I wonder if the other grieving moms and dads find it hard to breath as often as I do? At times I’ll find myself holding my breath as if I’m under water. Other times I need to draw it in deeply as if I’ve been holding my breath too long. Once I exhale I usually say the words: “Lord Have Mercy”. What was once an expression of frustration, has now become a genuine prayer because I need God’s merciful strength to keep moving.
I recently discovered how much I appreciate the verse in Lamentations: “His Mercies are new every Morning“. It is packed with promises for me. God’s mercy is full of a Father’s Love, and with that comes so many rich blessings that are laid out fresh for me each morning. His strength, His comfort, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His understanding.
Even years after losing my daughter every move I make is weighed down by missing her. Most parents who have lost children will confirm that there is rarely a minute that goes by when their child’s absence is not a pressing pain on their heart. We go through daily routines like everyone else, and it would take a pointed question for us to reveal how exhausting it is to do two things at once; work and grieve, clean and grieve, shop and grieve, worship and grieve, even laugh and grieve. Every morning I need a fresh supply of mercy.
I have long ago stopped asking God why? I realized it doesn’t really matter why; would there ever be any reason that could cause a mothers grief to be extinguished? So, all that is left for me to do is rest in His merciful assurance that I will one day be in Heaven with her, where there is no more sadness, no more sickness, no more pain, and certainly no more emptiness.
Yet I still dare to Hope
When I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His Mercies never cease.
Great Is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh every morning.
I say to myself: the Lord is my inheritance;
Therefore I will hope in Him.