I have discovered that grief can be loud and all consuming. The best way to describe it is like a big pink elephant in the room. Sometimes it sits there looking cute and you can pretend it is just part of the room. We all know it is there but I just find ways to ignore it but then there are other times it takes a big giant elephant size poop right next to me and it is hard to ignore. It is loud and messy!
I have also figured out that grief and cancer have many similarities. Both choose at random. Both attack the physical body. Both attack you mentally and cause fear, heartache, loneliness and loss. I have learned that grief is a life long battle just like cancer can be and both can hide from the outside world while attacking the inside.
I have been totally alone while standing in a crowd. I hurt so deep that I know there has to be a physical wound that everyone can see. I know deep down that my smile will never reach my heart yet I keep pretending that it does. But the hardest part is that I am so broken that I cannot pray. I cannot find the words to ask God for help. These are all things that our family experienced during Eddie's illness. I watched him struggle to make sense of the senseless as we all did. We prayed for answers, for hope and for healing and we held on to each other. Now I struggle with the same things as I walk alone but I know without a shadow of doubt that I would choose this path and my life with Eddie every time.
There are many days I find myself wanting to withdraw from life more often than not. Making plans and the simplest decisions are hard, they overwhelm me. My heart hurts and I miss Eddie with every part of me..
I am not angry with God but I do find myself being indifferent towards him. More often than not I feel like a fraud when it comes to my faith because I am having a hard time showing up. Church is one of the most difficult places for me because I feel Eddie's loss everywhere. His absence is huge there so I often take the easy way out and I don't show up.
I am incredibly blessed to have family and friends close but I often wonder how can I want them around me when I cannot stand to be around myself. Life continues to move along even when I don't want to participate.
I have discovered that along with grief comes depression. Depression isn’t about not having enough faith. It isn’t about choosing joy over sadness. It isn’t about digging deeper and getting on with life. It isn’t mind over matter and it isn't about not trying. It’s a real thing, no matter how much faith you have, depression can steal away everything that once made sense.
When loss cracks you wide open and leaves you raw and exposed, you quickly learn what’s worth the hard work and emotional energy and what’s not. It has taught me the importance of focusing on things that really, truly matter and letting everything else wait. Every day I struggle with how do I make it through this hour, then the next and the one after that. I choose to smile even when I don't want too and I lie most every time I am asked "How are you doing?" I find that pretending gets easier and before long I hope it becomes real.
The one thing I know is that God has not left me even when I am indifferent to him, even when I don't show up and even when I don't ask. I am finding out that if I am still and listen, God whispers, "I am still here, lean on me" even when the noise of grief is too loud.
May each one of us embrace the pink elephant in our lives.
Grace and peace