Thirty years ago, my vision was very narrow, after my bereavement. It was enough just trying to accept what happened to my family-never mind the trying to see the big picture of God's Allowance of what happened. That's where a lot of bereaved moms get hung up…that difference between "God's Will" vs. "God's Allowance." If I believed for even a moment-that God "willed" that wreck to happen-then I would not be a Christian today. What I do believe though, is that God "allowed" that wreck to unfold the way it did-that lousy truck driver's "free will" was allowed to cause the tragedy. God did not cause the wreck-He allowed it to happen. That is a huge difference to me. Bad things do happen to good people...Jesus hanging on the cross is the supreme example of that. Man's free will horribly prevailed there, too...
There's just no way that our finite, mortal minds will ever be able to figure out why God allows some tragedies to unfold, and why something mysteriously forestalls other disasters aka "a miracle". I gave up trying to figure out "why"... just a few seconds before or after that intersection... and my family would still be here. I had to process the question as part of my "grief-work", and the summation of all of that was a big fat "I don't know"…but just going through the process was somehow, a tremendous help and a relief.
A broader perspective on the whole tragedy, came very slowly. It was as if a sliver of dawn light was breaking through the solid darkness. Little by little, the darkness became overcome by the ever spreading rays of light. Finally there was daytime, and no more night of unbearable suffering. It took God's help, time, and my effort, to allow those slivers of light to come in. No one can ever see the dawn while hiding in a closet. You have to make the effort to "see"…Now I look back and see how I had made mountains out of molehills. So very few things are "essential" with the whole grief outlook. The only thing that's important really, is that we love each other. God can heal and restore all the rest. What's to worry?
Like coming out of a foxhole, trying to recover from bereavement is fraught with anxiety at first. Even though it was incredibly long ago, I still recall the guilt I felt, the first time I found something funny enough to laugh out loud about. The self recriminations were rampant during that early time of trying to emerge from my cocoon of all-permeating sadness. And then I went through a period of "You know, I'm so done with sadness and feeling depressed…hell, I want polka music played at my own funeral!" I am still so "done" with being voluntarily immersed in anything sad unless I'm trying to help a friend. No sad music for me! I have lived that life for far too long, and do not need to recreate those feelings, thank you!
There were a lot of self- imposed restrictions limiting what I found "acceptable" behavior. And during later bereavement years, I felt as though I had to stand up under pressure, when faced with listeners who seemed uncomfortable by my apparent "lack" of suffering. Many were not one of "us", and had no clue about the savagery that child bereavement inflicts. To be able to retell my family tragedy -without quavering voice or tearful sobs- frequently seemed to break some inviolable rule... gauging from the reactions and comments I'd later receive. I had to strengthen my own core beliefs, when faced with such near shaming. I had trespassed against someone else's beliefs about "proper" bereavement behavior of bereaved Moms. What about all the work a champion athlete goes through before receiving his/her gold medal? Do they think this athlete-even though now calmly answering questions with that medal hanging around his/her neck- hasn't gone through hell and back, to get to this place of accomplishment?
Recovering from child bereavement is Olympic medal worthy, in my humble opinion! We're all worthy of gold medals!
Sometimes I feel like saying, "Are you crazy?" "Do you seriously think, that just because I am able to retell my story without becoming a basket case…that I have not suffered and do not miss them today?" "The fact of the matter is, I believe what I profess, and I truly believe that I will be reunited with them when I die." "And until then, they are perfectly happy in a beautiful place with God's safety surrounding them and Jesus as their constant hand in hand friend!" "So back off!" I want to live the rest of my life as St. Paul told us in the Bible,
"… do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope."
Donna, you have been a beacon of hope by your retelling of your personal tragedy even though you could just as well stay silent and no one would blame you. To be able to share how and why you can cope and be victorious is a true testament of your relationship with God. I,too, have been able to look back and see exactly how God has helped me in my loss. I am thankful for all those yesterdays and my tomorrows because He is faithful to us. God bless you dear friend as we always remember little Michael's words, "going home to see Jesus!"
Much love and Brandon bear hugs!
Thank you Dale! I feel that a big part of why I survived the wreck, was to be able to give my testimony regarding Christ's saving grace in my life. I feel strongly that newly bereaved Moms need to know that even though unrelenting grief seems like a life-sentence…that is not necessarily the case..particularly when Jesus' saving grace enters the picture. If I had had a glimmer of hope from just one bereaved Mom "back then"…my own journey would have been made a tad easier I feel!
Much love to you and Brandon and all your beloveds! And seeing how this is "Super Bowl Sunday"-I hope this wasn't too rough a day for you and your family, dear friend.
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