It’s crazy to look back and see how far I’ve come.
“They” say time heals all wounds. Does it really??
Most people don’t understand that no matter how much time goes by, you don’t stop loving someone that was taken from you. I didn’t get a divorce. He didn’t choose to leave me. This isn’t something you get over. I shouldn’t have to and I definitely don’t need someone who hasn’t walked this road to tell me I need to.
There is a difference between being stuck in the pain and moving forward without letting go.
How you live your life is a choice. Grief is not! No one would ever choose this life.
I’ve learned so much about myself; I’ve grown. I survived what I, on many days, was sure would kill me.
And now… I’m learning to truly live again.
I will never forget though…
When you think of the word grief, I think it’s safe to say that you automatically think of the death of a loved one. The process one goes through as they deal with that loss. Although that is accurate, I truly believe that grief is so much more than that.
In a divorce situation, you grieve the loss of a marriage. Losing your partner. Losing what you had planned for you future. Those involved, including the children, grieve the loss of their family as they knew it.
I’ve heard it said before, when someone is terminally ill, you often grieve that person while they are still living. Watching someone suffer in sickness, often times, watching the person you knew before the illness disappear. Knowing that their time is limited, you start to grieve much sooner.
Someone that battles a disease or illness that alters their lives, they grieve for themselves. They grieve the life that they had before, the things they used to be able to do, a life without pain and suffering.
Someone that loses a job that they’ve had for many years, they grieve the loss of what had become so much a part of them, their identity and self worth.
You get the point.
I guess what I’m getting at is that the word really means many things but the constant is that the person is experiencing or has experienced a loss.
Just as we all grieve different things, we all handle that grief differently. Truly, no grief is the same.
You really don’t know what someone is going through unless you have been through it yourself. You can have empathy, you can have compassion, etc. But, not until you have experienced first hand that particular loss, you really just won’t “get it.”
Thinking on this subject has really forced me to reason in my mind, why people act the way they do when dealing with someone hurting or struggling. And it is making some sense to me.
For example, our grief counselor, very early on said to me that I should be prepared for people to not be around. I didn’t get that. With the accident being so recent and the outpouring of care and concern we were shown, that didn’t seem possible. And me, being someone who considers and “prides” herself on being independent, I thought that if that were to happen I could handle it. I was wrong. Much quicker than I could have imagined, I felt alone. Little by little, after the flowers had withered and gone away, the phone calls and visits, etc started to do the same. I can’t completely describe the feeling but it was as if loss was being piled on top of loss, over and over again. I was so lost. I was devastated. I felt those things for myself and also for my kids. I was hurt. I didn’t understand. Hurt turned to anger which turned into bitterness and resentment. None of which I wanted to feel.
As I started the long process of trying to deal with all of those feelings, I realized some things that helped me. That helped me help my children. That hopefully, will help someone else.
What if “they” ___________________??
* are uncomfortable with your pain
* have their own pain and struggles and can’t take on any more
* don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do
* fear that they will say or do the wrong thing
* think you want to be left alone
* assume you already have so much support or people around you
* think that if you need something, you will ask
* are grieving themselves and actually feel the same way you do
* feel it’s too painful for them to talk about or being around you makes it more difficult for them
The list could be endless.
I came to the point of just accepting things as they were. Accepting people as they were. Bottom line, we are all human. We are not perfect. We won’t always say or do the right things. Acceptance doesn’t erase the hurt or invalidate your feelings but unforgiveness will eat you alive. I have enough to work through so I have to choose to simply let some things go and move along.
We can’t make people be who we want or need them to be for us anymore than they can make us be who they want or need us to be for them.
Honestly, we aren’t supposed to fill the voids. We can’t.
But, consider this… If you know someone who is going through hard times or any of the situations that I mentioned above, maybe just try being there. Just send a text, make a phone call, show up. You don’t have all of the answers and I can assure you that most likely they won’t expect you to. But any one of those things, are simple and can go such a long way.
So, I have always hated hearing a couple of phrases.
1) It’s time to move on.
2) It’s time to let go.
They are like nails down a chalkboard and they hurt my heart. If you have never lost someone close to you, you couldn’t imagine how hurtful those words can be. And the mere idea of the reality behind those words; absolutely terrifying.
I’m going to share a very personal story. I was recently reminded of it and I think it is going to be used to help me going forward. I am only sharing it in hopes it will be helpful to someone else as well.
In 2007, my husband and I separated. It was the most difficult time in my life up to that point. I won’t go into details as they aren’t necessary, but I was completely devastated and it was what seemed to be a hopeless situation.
One day, while at work, I felt as though I heard the Lord speaking to me. It was:
Let go. Let him go.
What?? That totally caught me off guard. I know what it means to hear from God but I couldn’t imagine that He would be leading me to walk away. I thought on it some more…
Let him go. To me.
It finally clicked. I understood. He was telling me to take my hands off the situation and have faith that He was in control and I needed to just give it to Him. I believe it was at this time in my life that I learned what it truly meant to have faith.
God wasn’t promising me that things would be fixed, that I would have my family back, that the outcome would be just what I wanted, etc. He was merely promising me that, whatever the outcome, He had me and I was going to be okay.
There’s so much more to this story but, long story short, I was obedient and God did have His hand on the situation. My family was saved and my marriage was transformed.
What does this have to do with my current situation??
I’ve been stuck. Beyond stuck. No matter how I’ve tried, I just can’t seem to get past the hurt and loss. I miss my husband so much and I just haven’t been able to find happiness. I haven’t been living. I’ve been merely breathing.
I. CAN’T. LET. GO.
Recently God reminded me of that time in 2007; that very time when He dared me to let go and to trust Him. Why??
I’m holding on for dear life to someone that isn’t physically here anymore. I’m holding on to to a life that no longer exists. I’m holding on to the past with everything in me.
I. DON’T. WANT. TO. LET. GO.
God spoke to my heart again:
~You don’t have to let go. At least not in the way you think. But, take your hands off the situation. Give it to me.
Wow. Totally life changing perspective.
You see, I will never “let go” of Jonathan and I will never “move on.” I will, without a shadow of a doubt, hold that love in my heart, forever.
But, I can hand over the situation to God and let Him work in my life. I can allow Him to help me move forward.
I’m at least going to give it my best shot.
In a class I took awhile back I read about the fears that lead us to believe things that are not true.
Some of these fears are:
The fear of failure
The fear of rejection
The fear of condemnation
We feel like we have to paint a picture for others that we have everything under control and are problem free. We hold ourselves to standards that are not attainable. We think others have unrealistic expectations of us. We work so hard at creating a facade. For what?? For who?? Where did we learn that we are supposed to be perfect??
I was just talking the other day about this very thing. To me, nothing ministers to people more than when someone is real. When we admit our struggles, it frees others to do the same. Feeling like we have to keep our struggles hidden, only results in isolation and further pain. I don’t want to live in a false sense of reality. I don’t want to feed into this lie that we have to meet the expectations of others.
I struggle. A lot. I battle things that not everyone knows about. I struggle with chronic grief and depression. I struggle with anxiety. I struggle with feeling not good enough. I struggle with a poor self image. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
There, I said it. So tell me this… How does that change how you see me? Does that make you feel any different about me?
After reading about this, my heart became heavy for all the people that suffer in silence in the name of fear. I thought about myself and how what I was reading reflected things I felt about myself.
So, the point of this is to give a voice to this issue. If I can put my struggles out there, maybe someone else that has been hiding will be encouraged to admit theirs too.
You aren’t alone.
Where did we learn that we are supposed to be perfect??
There is a quote that I love that always makes me think. I have a big ugly scar on my leg. That’s what I think when I look at it. Ugly. In the past I have been really self conscious about it. Most summers I wore long pants to cover it. I hated when I noticed people notice it. I didn’t want people to see it. So I hid it.
But I realize some things…
- We all have scars; both physical and emotional
- We typically hide our scars, I know that I hide mine
- Our scars make other people uncomfortable so, we don’t show them; for fear of what others will think, fear of seeming weak, of being judged, being misunderstood, _______________________.
But our scars tell a story. Mine tells a story. Scars originate with pain, whether it be physical or emotional. Sometimes, and in my case, the origin is both. My scar began as open wound. A literal, physical open wound. The instant I received that physical wound was the instant my heart became an open wound; both resulting in the most unexplainable pain I had ever felt.
The wound on my leg took a long time to heal. I use the word heal lightly because I wouldn’t say that it actually healed. After a long and painful period of time, it closed up. But it left a big “ugly” mark on my leg that will never go away. It has changed and improved over these last two years, it has faded, although it is still very visible to the eye.
The story behind that scar is one that tells the story of the open wound in my heart, the wound that is not visible to the eye. This wound is much more painful. It is a story of loss and sorrow, of suffering and grief, sadness and anger, fear and isolation…
This wound isn’t so easily “closed.”
Neither will ever fully heal. They will never go away.
You see, for whatever reason, I am supposed to be here. I’ve often wrestled with the burning question, why?? That is a question that I will never truly understand on this side of heaven. I do know that there are two young people that almost lost two parents in the same day. They needed me. I also know that my work here isn’t done. I don’t fully know what that entails but I do believe we all have a purpose. I also know that life is precious. I know that our days are numbered, tomorrow is not promised.
We can choose to let the pain behind our scars keep our wounds from closing. We can choose to hide our “ugly” scars and live in fear; fear of judgment, fear of being misunderstood, fear of being seen as weak and vulnerable. We can let the pain overtake us and keep us from fulfilling our purpose.
Whatever pain and scars you are trying to hide, may not ever fully heal. But, when you face them, when you show them, when you overcome them; there will be a story, a testimony of what you have made it through. That story just might help someone else who would otherwise be overtaken by the pain, that otherwise might choose to lay down and quit living.
I’m don’t hide my visible scar anymore. It is a constant reminder of loss and pain for sure. But, it is also a reminder of where I’ve been, what I have made it through and of what should have, could have, but did not end me.
“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” ~ Steve Goodier
We were clueless. We couldn’t have known. We got in a car together just as we had several times a day for 14+ years. We cranked up the music. We pulled out of the driveway. For the last time. Five years ago today my kids and I lost the single most important person in our lives. My best friend and the one that I would grow old with was gone. In an instant. Everything changed in that instant. EVERYTHING.
Life has not been nor will it ever be the same. We had plans. We had dreams. We were supposed to raise our children together. I have been trying to pick up the pieces ever since. The thing I have come to know is that no matter how hard I try, those pieces are never going to complete the puzzle that was to be our lives together. Well, not on this side of heaven anyway.
So what now?
I have to live. Every single day I have to make the conscious choice to live. Not just going through the motions but truly living. That’s what this blog is about and I dedicate it to his memory. I dedicate it to his life and the life he would want us to live.
Jonathan David Roberts ~ Born June 3, 1979 ~ Stepped into eternity June 19, 2012
Walking through the journey of pain and loss, with purpose. Holding on to the hope of the joy that lies ahead.