Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Alice's bottle of grief...

Imagine a little bottle sitting just in front of me.  And before you can ask, ponder, question or inquire anything of me, you have to drink it.
And in that bottle is what sits inside my heart and soul- every second, of every day.
As it pours down your throat, you gag.  The bile rises and it burns, relentlessly firing inside your throat.
Every instinct in your body is forcing it out.
But you can't.
Once you drink it, you can't go back.  It sits there, spreading and seeping, invading every layer, pore, fiber, vessel and crevice of who you are.
It chokes you, suffocates you, blankets you.  With feelings that don't even have words that can capture the layers and depth of your heart-wound.

When you're wounded by the potion in the bottle, words and opinions are like arrows, sharpened and pointed into razored barbs that embed in the jagged and bloody flesh you have left hanging off of your broken and battered body.

Descends in a shroud, hovering and covering all that your senses take in. Distortion is inevitable, the funhouse mirror is all that you see.  Reality feels surreal and who you are simply doesn't make any sense. 
All of a sudden, you were too big for your life.   Your head hit every corner and your mere presence made chaos of all that was around you.
Then just as quickly, you were too small, so small that you not one single thing fit anymore.  Everything was just wrong.  All WRONG.

When you drank the potion, you started falling. And it felt like you fell forever, the black bottomless pit swallowing you whole.
And then you hit the bottom.  So hard.
Then standing back up took every ounce of what little you had left.  

But you have to stand up over and over and over again. 
And you're just so tired.
So when you stand up over and over and over again, it's all you can do.
Literally.  All you can do.

And it's still all I can do. 

And it's all my husband can do.
And my children.
When nightmares and loneliness, confusion and anger, fear and failure, when they walk in your steps and at your side...
sometimes standing up is more than we can do.

We are loved.  
We are blessed. 
We are thankful. 
And we are so broken.

Please don't splatter me with "Jackson Pollock" scripture or platitudes you think might ease the sting. Don't use my tragedy to tell other people to hug their loved ones tighter.  Because you have NO IDEA how tightly I hugged those babies before they left me for the last time.  Please don't place your timeline of healing on my shredded soul.  
And for the love of all that is holy, don't tell me my children are in a better place.

Just tell us you'll keep praying.
Lift us to the throne of the only One who can lift us out of the hole.
Share your memories if you have them.
Plant a flower in their garden.
Don't give up on us.

Just know that every day, every minute, every second...
standing up is mostly all we can do.  

And when it's time and when we can, maybe we'll stand straighter.
And take a few steps.
We'll wobble and stumble, most likely we'll fall.
But we'll get back up.
When we can.

It's not easy to walk beside us on this broken and pitted road.  Switchbacks and cliffs are lurking in every moment, around every corner.  We're like that box of chocolates in Forrest Gump-"you never know what you're gonna get..."
You will get tired and fall off.  Our shrapnel will become too much and your patience will wear thin.  Because you want us to be better.  Because you love us.  Because we fail to be whole again.
And that's awkward.  And sad.  And shitty and uncomfortable.

You want the gal who thought "asshat" was entirely appropriate in the right circumstance.  The loose lipped chick whose favorite adjective was "craptastic."  You want the redemption and the good.


But it's not my story to write and I don't get to pick the timing.  And I don't get to decide what the redemption and the good is.

What I do get to do is be me.
See through.
Broken and battle scarred.  

I get to be me. 
I'm trying to do it gracefully and I'm probably failing in epic proportions, but I'm not giving up.

A sweet friend asked me the other day if I share my testimony...
I didn't really know how to answer her.  Because I can't tell you, with any amount of the eloquence you'd expect, what my testimony is.
Maybe it's as simple as this.
God doesn't leave you.  Even when you try to make Him.  When you put up the wall, erect the barrier, close the door and deadbolt it shut.

And what I can tell you is that I refuse to give up. 
Bitterness is my constant companion and I DESPISE the words FAIR and HEALING.  (And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT tell me everything happens for a reason.)

I don't know what that looks like or how it's going to play out, but I'm hanging on.  By a thread.

Don't for one second think that because I figured out how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, we are A-OK.

We ain't.

You can pray for the nightmares to stop.
For sleep to come with peace and stillness.
You can pray for our hearts to thaw and our family to find our center.
You can pray for your own hearts and souls to be moved with that same earth shattering awareness of His goodness and presence that invaded you in the weeks and months after the accident.
You can HONOR God with remembering that You are SECOND. 

Me? I can pray for you.  For me. For my husband and children.  My whole family.
For every soul in this world to realize that it's not about them.
Charles said this to me today when we stared off into the endless horizon of the ocean-
"He's not coming back until we stop believing WE are what matters."  

Above all else, love one another as I have loved you.
With an everlasting love...
That type of love means WE don't matter.  
HE does.  

His pillar of fire in my heart and the hearts of my family-I pray for that pillar of fire to burn away the barriers and the bitterness.
I pray for the LOVE  to be the center of it all.


1 comment:

Mary Nickels said...

Though I can't know the agony of losing 3 children, I know the depth of disorienting sorrow and unfathomable horror as my heart was sliced in half when my daughter was returned to heaven just after she turned 17. A cancer diagnosis at the age of 16 wiped her from our earthly lives with brutality and swiftness. And now I struggle to keep a connection with my lost boy who has since been set adrift. I weep for you, I weep for the collapse of all that you so lovingly tended and nurtured. I weep for the idle hands that itch to hold your tribe of five. Those platitudes... how did we get so narrow about love and loss? grief and pain? How did we come to over simplify something so beyond simplicity? I'm sorry for each one of those platitudes that you've heard, though my heart knows they generally come from somewhere good and well intentioned, they trigger an urge to throat punch...

I feel your pain, sense your great sorrow, and recognize your enormous effort to somehow rise every single day. I am listening. And I am grateful to have stumbled upon your words and your beautiful family.

We are loved. We are blessed. We are thankful. And we are so broken.

Though many days seem it seems impossible that these thoughts can co-exist, they do. Thanks for giving me that thought today. Peace and tenderness to your broken heart today.