Monday, March 7, 2011

 Grief of a different kind

I have to admit, there was a {quiet} grieving process for Dave and I when we realized that our parenting adventure was going to look very different than we had originally dreamed it would.

I don't talk about it that much because we have always believed strongly that all life is precious. For us, there were so many worse things that we could hear than, "Your son is not going to do the normal things that most kids do, he is severely brain damaged".

For instance we could hear that our son was not going to make it (Yes, been there done that).

We did hear that - and there is just no comparison.

Or we could hear that one of our children did not want anything to do with the God who created them. To me, that would be far, far worse.

Given our stance on life issues, and our faith, I don't often contemplate the less harsh, but nonetheless heartfelt, grieving process that Dave and I went through pertaining to our son, K.

Yes, we had grieved that year. We had grieved the death of our firstborn, we had grieved lost dreams, and we had grieved an innocence that no longer had a place in our small family.

We grieved a world that had made an immeasurable departure from everything God had intended for it. A world where death now stalked the unsuspecting and robbed the faithful.

...And there was a different kind of grieving later on that year. It was more gentle to us. It did not cut deep, but its presence was there. It snuck into the back of our minds when we contemplated the future. It wrapped around dreams of T-ball and little boy giggles - running across the yard with reckless abandon.

We let it all sink in, and then we knelt and thanked God for each breath that K took on his own. Truly miraculous. Every breath, every beat of his heart was like God saying "Yes, he can" while the doctors said "He can't". And even in the midst of that, there was a legitimate place for this soft grief.

Dave's excitement was undeniable when we found out that the precious little ones in my womb were both boys. What dad doesn't dream of everything he can do with his sons? He did. 

When our reality hit after their birth Dave's love was big. It was tangible. And yet he grieved.

My grief hit in stages, as is the nature of this process.

I wanted to figure it all out. Get to the bottom of each issue K would face. Read up on it, ask all the right questions.

Untangle it, 

unpack it, 

unravel it.

And then I wanted to fix it.

Go to all the right doctors. Put in all of the hours. Undo what nature had so cruelly done to my little boy.



                to utter


...fixing it.

Fixing him.

And then, well then I hit the insecurity stage. And this phase was measurable in years, not weeks.

This stage said, "This is too big for you."

"What are you doing?"

"You have no idea how to fix this!"

"You don't know how to love him the way he needs to be loved."

This stage hurts.

This stage is hard.

Here is a peak into the broken theology that sometimes takes up residence in my brain:

At times I imagine that God has lists. Lists of people and what they can handle. He bases what he allows in their life, on what they can physically and emotionally handle.

...And I was pretty sure that he had accidentally gotten my list mixed up with some one else and someone else's tolerances mixed up with...mine.

Here's the good news: Then came the healing stage.

Healing in my heart,

healing in my parenting,

healing in my marriage,

healing in my spiritual life.

Truths became concretely laid into the very core of my being.

God does not make mistakes.

He is not capable of accidents.

He does not choose the equipped, he equips the chosen. And I am chosen. 

This is a really, really significant one right here:

K does not need to be fixed. 

He needs to be nurtured.

Let me tell you, each one of these phases of grief still enters into my life every now and then. But since the healing phase has  been activated I have TRUTH to combat the GRIEF with.

Truth that puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Truth that compels me to





I had to write this today, because in the last several days I went through some degree of each of these stages of grief in reference to K. Again.

Decisions had to be made,

strategies sifted through,

and I just really needed wisdom.

In response to all of that, I began to sort through this rarely shared grief.

And in doing so, a few more pieces of the healing puzzle locked into place.


Lindsay said...

the puzzle pieces of life ... all falling into place ... one move at a time :)

GREAT post ... and so relevant to many areas of our lives!

Thanks ~

Rebecca said...

beautiful post. thank you for sharing.

and that last picture...your husband's face as he looks at!

Kristen said...

Some days I still feel this soft grief too. Definitely in lighter ways than I use to. Cayman was not expected to live til birth and if she did her prognosis was given in comparison to a vegetable. And then last May her shunt failed and the pressure on her brain caused her heart to stop. We almost lost her again. And you're right...nothing compares after that.

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Can't tell you how God's glory just radiates through your posts! I love to imagine how many people you are encouraging through your real-life testimony that just keeps on loving our Savior and seeking His strength!

Megan said...

Wow, Wendi... I don't really know why this post hit me so hard, but yes, I know exactly every word you spoke here.
I know what it is like to rather have struggles such as the ones K has, than to not have that precious being here with you.
Savannah would have had the same issues K has. And though yes, in hearing about the medical battle we would have faced, there WAS a grieving process we experienced in having those "dreams" you dream for a healthy baby to disappear in a second.

But I would do it. And I would gladly fight... just as you do. Because you LOVE them soooo very much. And they are perfect to us. Give that sweet boy a big hug for me... and just soak in his heavenly presence. All children are treasured by God... but K...? He may not be able to play T-Ball as you and Dave imagined, but God takes him to far greater places. :')

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Beautifully captured, Wendi.

BARBIE said...

This is so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. I do not have a special needs child. Yet, I am challenged through your blog, through your testimony of what God has done in your life on this journey. Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth said...

I came across your blog recently and I'm glad I did. This was beautiful. May God continue to bless your family.

Penny said...

My favorite part of this post is "God does not make mistakes."

No. He doesn't make any mistakes. =)

Nikki said...

This is such a beautiful post, Wendi. I grew up reading stories about Joni Eareckson Tada and Corrie ten Boom, both very involved in the lives of people with special needs...and I've always wondered what it looks like from the parents' perspective. I've wondered "could I do it?" if God gives us a child who isn't "perfect" by our standards. Your transparency, especially how you acknowledge the component of grief, is so so beautifully put. Bless your mother-heart! Your boys are so blessed to have you and Dave as their parents!

Tink said...

I came across your blog quite by accident and I am so glad that I did. Reading this post was amazing and hearing your story touched my heart. I'm in the different stages of grief concerning my daughters own brain injury. Reading your post was another reminder that their is an end and all the the hard work I am doing does pay off. Thanks agian!!

Arlona said...

I remember the day that K Jumped for the first time for me! I never dreamed that he would be able to do this! What excitement as I watch God work in K's life. Many challenges and many victories! God is still working in K's live. What a blessing and challenge! God,You and Dave are doing a great job together as you let God lead. I love all of you so much!