Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warning: Contents may be heavy!

I mentioned in my last post that I picked up the book, "Choosing to See." I'm not sure if I'm glad I did or not yet. What I mean is, the book is amazing. I have barely been able to put it down since I started it on Tuesday night. The problem is, I've been an utter mess ever since. It feels like the wheels have come off and I'm zipping down the road of life with no brakes. Have you ever read a book that's done that to you?

Because of Mary Beth Chapman's writing and her style and her honesty and her humor, I've been drawn into her life, her family and her grief. And as I've explored her grief over the loss of her 5 year old daughter, adopted from China, I've been confronted with the reality of my own loss and my own (most often) denial of my grief.

For the past nearly 7 months I've plowed through. I've held it together. I've self talked. I've said all the right things. I KNOW the truth of my mom's eternal state and I've used that as a *band aid* (or should I say tourniquet) to hold the wound. Not that it's wrong to dwell on the amazing fact that she stands (on two legs) in the presence of God, happy, healthy and as she was created to be. But I've dwelled on that so much and have held that as the *right response* so much that I have not often (until the past three days) faced the fact that it as though I have lost a limb in my own life.

My mom was the one person in my life who cared about every detail. Because of her home bound situation, I talked with her on the phone more in one day than many grown adults talk to their parents in a week, maybe a month. And I enjoyed it. Believe me, there were days that it stressed me out. I took it upon myself to entertain her. Keep her company. Make sure she was alright. Not depressed. Taking her meds. But for the most part, my calls were not out of obligation. Not out of duty. But out of pure love, enjoyment and relationship.

Since Tuesday night, I have allowed myself to go down into the depths of grief. Grappling with the knowledge and understanding and reality that there is no other person who would love to hear from me 9 times a day. No one else who can be my constant companion as I am at home with three little kids all day.

I've realized that as an extroverted people lover, being a stay at home mom has been fine up until now, largely due to the fact that there was always someone a dial away who would LOVE to hear a story or ask a question or revel in a kid story. For seven months I've gone without. And I do believe it's catching up to me. Thus my need to smile more. With out the calls to my mom, I am turning into a stay at home crazy mom!

My mom's sister has stepped in and has filled a huge hole in my life. She truly cares and loves me and wants to hear kid stories. I am so thankful for her in my life. Even as I think of that, I realize how much I want to call my mom and let her know what Aunt Sherry and I talk about. Sadness. My right arm, gone!

I've had a hard time acknowledging that I'm grieving. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in denial. It's just not the first thing I'll bring up. And its not a thing that too many people bring up. But if I'm asked, most of the time my answer to, "How are you doing?" or "How were the holidays without your mom?" is something along the lines of "It depends on the day." or "I'm doing pretty well."

Which I think has been fairly true. On the surface. It's the deep innards that I have not allowed myself to access. Until Tuesday. I think I've convinced myself that everyone loses their parents and that life needs to go on (which is true, especially when you have three little kids.) And honestly, the book hasn't exactly helped me in that regard. I mean, here's a mom who watched her 5 year old die in her own driveway and then had to watch her 17 year old son deal with the fact that he was driving the car that killed his sister. Now THAT is a good excuse for grief.

But shoot. Losing your right arm is still losing your right arm.

I didn't even want to blog this. I hate the idea of my blog turning into a depressing, self indulging place. In my mind people want to spy, see cute kid pics and be entertained. And I assure you, I'll be back there just as soon as I can. But I also know that my mom loved this blog. She read it faithfully. She would want me to share my true self.

Some days the true self is funny. Cute. Hip. Some days the true self has puffy red eyes and snot hanging down its face.

Please hang in there with me until the funny cute and hip re-surfaces (and that's assuming it was ever here to begin with :) Prayers for me as I venture to a place I know God wants me would be welcome. Its kind of scary. Like I'm not sure if I go there I'll be able to re-surface in time to do what I've got to do. I'm thankful for Mary Beth Chapman's courage and her courage to write this book. If she can do it after something so devastating as losing your child, I can do it after losing my right arm, right?


vwiller said...

Oh, E...I have no words, but it makes me not complain about my mother calling me 3 times a day...while they are on vacation this week! Use your blog as you see fit, and I will keep reading and responding!

Anonymous said...

Dear Elizabeth,
I totally understand your "Mom grief journey"! I was in denial, depression, etc. for a period of one year after my mom had a fatal heart attack coming home from the Art Museum!My principal came to my classroom and said," There has been an accident!" I was 52 years old,and going through a divorce.Since Mom and I always lived in the same town, we were girlfriends as well as Mom and daughter, I picked her up for church each Sunday, took her to social events with my girlfriends and her friends,made trips to Ashtabula often, and talked on the phone daily before and after school.I thank the Lord everyday for her!My # 1 fan, totally supportive with my accomplishments or lack of them! That unconditional love! My dad passed away from heart related problems at age 59, so at 60 years of age Mom was a widow. Nance and her family, mom's sister, Carmen, and yours truly were her life. You had your Mom to yourself, you were each others worlds! This is a major difficult adjustment in your life, go easy on yourself, and know that everyday that your mom had you in her life, made her the happiest woman on earth! You are a very special, talented,loving and kind person, and our family has always been thrilled to have you as one of us! You are an amazing Mom yourself, and I can see that you and Olivia have that special connection that you and your mom had! I think that one of the bravest things you have done is your Quin adoption, you and Steve grabbed my heart on that one! I am blessed to have Nancy, we don't talk on the phone daily, but I call her just to chat and always if something special happens, or if I have a problem. Mostly, we talk about her amazing grandkids, and my amazing great nieces and nephews! Thank you for giving us these miracles! I am glad you have your aunt, I liked her right away when I met at the mortuary, the same with Becky, I loved her humor! Nance and I could have hung out with your mom and your aunt.We would have made quite a fun foursome. I'll sign off here with one thought, Nancy and I love you, you can call us anytime, we both get lonely for our kids, kids in law, and grandkids, since we both live out of town, and away from them. Remember dear, your mom is in heaven, happily, and proudly smiling, and watching over you and your family everyday!

Love, Marilyn

riley said...

Thanks for blogging this. One of the things I appreciate most about you and learned from you when I was there is your honesty about where you are at. You being honest here helps me feel still connected to you half way around the world and helps me know how to pray for you.

jenny said...

Your honesty is a God-given strength, Elizabeth. Don't ever feel bad for sharing that here or with anyone. I don't have the perfect words, but I talk to my mom multiple times a day and I "get" that the relationship with a supportive mom is almost impossible to replace. I can only imagine that the void you feel for her must be huge. I am praying for you, friend and am always around if you want to chat or just feel like sharing some memory of your mom. Love you!

Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

Thanks for sharing! I've been away from your blog for awhile but missed your unique voice and your cute kids! Thank you for letting us see the real you. Praying for you!