Life is exhausting for us in the most unexpected ways. My daughter is in town for a shower in honor of her upcoming wedding. She is almost giddy with excitement over the upcoming event. The shower occurred on Saturday in the afternoon so we had the morning to visit and figure out a few more things that we needed to do concerning the wedding. Dressed and pressed at 2:00 p.m. we arrived. It was an absolutely beautiful event with so many women from her childhood, church, family and friends from her work there. Simple and elegant refreshments were served. The gifts were themed by as being applicable to “morning, noon or night.” Nice, companionable fun.
Some of the ladies packed the car for her while we continued to visit after the presents were all opened. Once back in the car headed towards the house it swept over both of us. “I am exhausted,” she said. “Me too,” I agreed. Once home we changed our clothes and disappeared under blankets in the den to nap. I have never been to a shower for my daughter. I have experienced this from the other side, as a bride. I don’t know why this was so exhausting for us. My daughter is in great shape, working out, eating right. Since the death of her brother my routine has been less than routine when it comes to getting regular exercise. I cannot see how this could explain it.
We had, had a little melt down earlier, concerning her brother. At one point she said, “I am just so tired of talking about him.” Me too.
I would rather he were here to be able to talk for himself, behave in his annoying ways, hug, comfort, make fun of me, and generally at times get on my nerves. I am sorry that there are loose ends to still tidy up. Compared to other deaths his was infuriatingly neat and simple. I am sorry that his death has drained my battery and that I have little reserve. I thought I understood the part of me that was tied up in him, but I don’t.
There are many times lately that I have been thankful for the wedding because more than just the event itself it has given me things to concentrate on besides the death of our son. I have also, purposely remembered traveling with my daughter and the times we did so on our own. I pick out certain rest filled memories to meditate on in the night.
I am reading “Lament for a Son“. I read the words and think that Nicholas Wolterstorff has done a great job of editing out a lot of his pain. Our son was a spiritual man, but not a man of so-called religion. Our son was appalled by what man does in the name of religion, especially the practice of using it to promote political agendas and the absurdity of some of the assumptions that fly in the face of things that nature makes self evident.
As if time on this planet were not enough to make me question everything I ever believed, now throw in this untimely death. My faith if I ever had much of it, has been badly dented and I am in a struggle to sort it out again. Please don’t send me any of the platitudes – I probably wrote them all! I grew up with the mother of truism, cliche and empty platitude.
My daughter on the other hand, exemplifies faith and acceptance. She is a great example of how I want to be. She takes the world by the horns. She has worked through so much while I know from my own struggle with life there will be more to work through. She has worked hard to equip herself with the right tools. I do not ever want to part with her, but I feel a security concerning who she is and where she is going.
I hate to admit, that I did not have that with my son. He seemed so much more fragile.
I have asked God, who I have tried to stop believing in, what happened. I asked Him why. He is silent. I put it out there on the table. I asked HIm why, years ago, why our daughter developed Leukemia. I am not sure why I keep asking.
Please understand this. I do not believe that we have a time clock that gets punched and we die – I do not believe in a puppeteer God. I do not believe God cast our son down, or meant to punish him or us. People have tried to tell me what God was thinking and though I listen, I have found little to hold on to because what they say sounds silly concerning( if He indeed exists) an almighty eternal God.
The ladies from the church that gathered yesterday to celebrate our daughter’s marriage in their quiet way support us both in our silent grief. They exemplify the nature of God to me. They are inexplicably strong, though I know they too have suffered emotional and physical pain yet are able to come to embrace us. They smile with us and hug us. Yes, I am saying here that I think the God that I believe exists also suffers. The term “long-suffering” has taken on new meaning for me.
God knows I can’t stop believing. I accept the fact that I may never get any answers, but I get hints every now and then. I will not stop searching because I taught both my son and daughter to search and I will not abandon that for anything.
I don’t think answers are being withheld, I think that I am being prepared to accept them in time, if they ever come.
Our daughter marries in two weeks. There was a time that I never thought this would happen. She is confident and capable, smart and wise. If entered into a bank of evidence from my limited ability to postulate, based on the circumstances twelve years ago, I might have said, I did not think it possible that this would ever happen. Today, I will embrace my limited abilities to understand anything. I will embrace her and celebrate her joy and excitement over her future. I will consider the shower as something that was not only a shower of gifts to prepare her, but a shower of real blessing to sustain me through an emotional mine field.