Monday, January 4, 2016

 The grief brick

Grief is so weird. 

I should know its intricate oddities by now - but life is so busy and I haven't taken decent notes.

On January first I woke up with this heavy feeling on my chest, kind of like a brick had been placed right above the region of my heart.  I tried to reposition myself to make it go away.  It held steady.  I got up and started in on my post vacation tasks. They were many.

I functioned,
                                                    even laughed a few times.  All the while feeling this crazy weight pressing in.

I tried to shrug it off,

mentally explain it away,

and even deny it.

Weird.  Am I sad? Did something happen? Did I eat something strange? What, what, what? 

And then -  like I was finally fully waking, it just hit me.

January.      Hello. 

And so it is.    //January//

The second day of January wasn't much different.

I continued going through odds and ends from traveling and wiped tears away.  I caught Dave's concerned eye and tried a half hearted explanation,

 "Sorry. I'm not sad. Really...."  

"I mean - I don't know. It's just this brick on my chest. Thing. Kind of like a weight....."

"And it's Caleb's birthday, so it's good...." 

Wiped more tears.

And he just put his arm around me and said, "And one of your kids isn't here.  It's ok."

He's tender and matter of fact and just what I need.

By the second day I had a pretty good idea of what the brick on my chest meant and I, naturally, began to think of ways to remove the weight.

Hmmm.  Maybe I need to go to the cemetery.  Release a blue balloon or something.  Maybe I should look at his baby book and make myself cry.  Maybe then it would go away. 

I would slowly exhale - trying to ease the weight by a sigh.  Deep breaths.  Change my breathing.  Drink some water.

But see, it doesn't go away.  And how true of human nature to desperately try to remove the weightiness around my heart.  Because we have this pain phobia.  When my kids are sick, what is the first thing they say to me?  "MOM, can you give me something, do something. maybe some medicine, SOMETHING to make it go away?!"

I understand addictions and numbing the pain.  How easy.  And how destructive.

Instead, I begrudgingly acknowledge my old friend.

"Hi there,


I guess it's January, huh? 

Weird way to start a new year. 

But I guess we've been starting one this way for over a decade now....

so - it's ok."

Sometimes you can lean into pain a bit and be ok.  Sometimes acknowledging it and slowing down to go eye to eye with it offers a sliver of comfort.

Because it means he happened.  And I will take all the bricks on my chest to feel him.  If I numb that then it takes some of him away.  I won't do that.

A thirteen year grief is way different than a brand new grief. Way different.  The weight isn't sharp.  It doesn't make me bleed.  It's just..... heavy.  And sometimes it makes me cry.

And it slows me down significantly.  That frustrates me.  January is a fast paced month.  Things need to get filled out and filed and finished up and started.  Slow doesn't work well with January.  But I have to.

I was elbow deep in dishwater and bubbles.  "You need to go lay on the couch and be still."

Ha! That's silly.  I don't do that.  That's not a part of my life.  It's not a thing.  What a strange thought.

"You need to go lay on the couch and be still."

Insert eye roll.

"You need to go lay on the couch and be still."

It was like a Jedi mind trick.

"Why yes.  Yes - I DO need to go lay on the couch and be still for a while!"

Grief slows me down.  And it should.  If I were counseling someone else through a younger grief I would admonish them to please, please slow down.  To rest.  To allow great big margins in the time period when grief hits the hardest.  And I guess God is trying to teach me to offer that same grace to myself.

I might still take some deep breaths, and try to reposition the weight away.  -Much of it is on a subconscious level and human nature does it's thing.  But this January I will place my hand gently on the place where the brick is on my chest.  I whisper his name and remember his feathery hair nuzzled against my cheek.  If I'm going to have Big Feelings - then I will choose to go both ends of the spectrum.  I won't numb the pain away.  And in so choosing, I will feel the ecstasy of those January moments too.

See, that brick on my chest can't take anything away from me.  And honestly - I think it's giving me more than I may ever know.


Kathy said...

Precious words, Wendi. Thank you for sharing them.

Christy said...

Thank for this transparent post that I'm sure will minister to so many. I think of how that brick on your chest must feel so heavy at times and like you said you even might be thinking of "things" that would make it go away; but oh how lovely our Gods tender mercies are in how he choses to use those "bricks" in our lives to love on others and to draw them to His side. Be blessed today girly!