It's my fuel. My driving force.
I've spent so much energy over this last year to just "keep my sh*t together"...to seem strong and "together" and pleasant and comfortable to be around. But as the one-year mark approaches, I am starting to fall apart. I can't juggle it all, anymore. As the numbing shock of the last year is starting to wear away, I am starting to feel the darkening pain. But I do not want to. I have read that the 2nd year is actually harder because of this....the shocks fades away and the reality starts to really set it. I feel my "safe" walls crumbling down around me and I can't control it as well as I used to. Bit by bit, pieces of that not-so-securely-built wall are starting to crumble away. And what lies beneath is my raw anger and devastation.
What am I angry at? Oh, everything. First and foremost, I am still angry at God and myself. I am angry that my dreams were shattered. I am angry at the un-fairness of other families getting to keep their two beautiful little girls while I don't. I am angry when I hear a mother not appreciate her role and gift as a mom. I am angry at the expectation that I am just supposed to live with this....like this. I am angry at happy families who have a perfect happy life. I am angry that Ivy does not get to have the big sister that she was meant to follow and learn from. I am angry that this is the path I am meant to walk. I am angry because I feel betrayed by God...and punished by God.
Please know that I already have full confidence that "God can handle my anger". I know this reminder is said with sincere and best intention but it is not a new concept to me. It is a truth that I have known and been comfortable with for a good portion of my walk with Him. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that as if it is a new and enlightening concept that should be hard to grasp. But it is not to me. You see, for me, my walk with God and Christ has always been very intimate. Christ has been an intimate friend to me...God has been a loving, warm, protective Father. I have never feared sharing my deepest secrets with Him. I have never feared sharing my darkest feelings with Him. I have been angry with Him before. I have cussed Him out before. I have always known that He can see past all of that and knows my heart. So, when I say that I feel betrayed, it is because I have shared this very deep and honest, intimate relationship with Him...and this just feels like personal betrayal. For He could have stopped this. (These are my erratic irrational feelings....I know full-well that I am irrational in my anger. Who isn't, a lot of the time?)
I've been reading a book that was given to me. It is titled A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. Jerry lost his mother, wife, and 4 year old daughter all at once in a tragic head-on collision. I feel that his book is one of the very best I've read yet, through all of this. I am only a third of the way through, but his thoughts either mirror my thoughts or have given insight to my emotions and mindset.
One concept that he wrote about has been nagging at me ever since I read it - That in avoiding the pain, you only cause yourself to get worse but that we must face the pain, walk into the darkness, in order to start some sort of healing. And, healing does not mean that you get over it or past it or "better". No. Healing means that you start to learn how to live with the pain, for the Rest. Of. Your. Life. Jerry states it perfectly in the preface of his book - "This book is not intended to help anyone get over or even through the experience of catastrophic loss, for I believe that "recovery" from such loss is unrealistic and even harmful expectation, if by recovery we mean resuming the way we lived and felt prior to the loss."
Here are a few other statements of his that I very much appreciated ~
"My suffering is as puzzling and horrible to me now as it was the day it happened. The good that may come out of the loss does not erase its badness or excuse the wrong done. Nothing can do that."
"...my mourning became too deep for tears. So my tears turned to brine, to a bitter and burning sensation of loss that tears could no longer express. In the months that followed I actually longed for the time when the sorrow had been fresh and tears came easily."
"I was assigned both a tremendous burden and a terrible challenge. I faced the test of my life. One phase of my life had ended; another, the most difficult, was about to begin. When the emergency vehicle arrived at the hospital, I stepped out into a whole new world." (or for me, it was when I walked into that bathroom and found her under the water...)
"I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choose the direction my life would head, even if the only choice open to me, at least initially, was either to run from the loss or to face it as best I could. Since I knew that darkness was inevitable and unavoidable, I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than try to outrun it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering raher than to think I could somehow avoid it. I chose to turn toward the pain, however falteringly, and to yield to the loss, though I had no idea at the time what that would mean."
"My decision to enter the darkness had far-reaching consequences, both positive and negative. It was the first step I took toward growth, but it was also the first step I took toward pain."
"I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather, I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter, until it became a part of who I am."
*** "When we plunge into darkness, it is darkness we experience. We feel pain, anguish, sorrow, and despair, and we experience the ugliness, meanness, and absurdity of life. We brood as well as hope, rage as well as surrender, doubt as well as believe. We are apathetic as often as we are hopeful, and sorrowful before we are joyful. We both mourn deeply and live well. We experience the ambivalence of living simultaneously in the night and in the light.
...The darkness lingers for a long time, perhaps for the rest of our earthly lives.
...The choice to enter the darkness does not ensure we ever completely come out the other side. I am not sure we can or should.
But is it possible to live this way? Is it possible to feel sorrow for the rest of our lives and yet to find joy at the same time? Is it possible to enter the darkness and still to live an ordinary, productive life? Loss requires that we live in a delicate tension. We must mourn but we must also go on living."
"I knew that running from the darkness would only lead to greater darkness later on."
I look back over this past year and running is all that I have done. In asserting that, I have realized that running is really just called denial. How did I not know that I have been living in denial? I function best by denying this ever happened. I don't want to face that pain. It hurts like freaking hell! So, I ignore it. That's why I smother my tears and avoid all the sad places and things. If I avoid it, it won't hurt and maybe just maybe, I can get through yet another day. My life is just about getting through one day at a time. Diving into that darkness just sounds like going in reverse. But, I also know that denying and avoiding it hasn't faired me well either. It's been making me physically sick...and darker inside. And, now it's starting seep out the corners. It's becoming a harder struggle to smother it all the time. Facing the pain sounds horrible. And what does that actually look like? Well, this author dove into his darkness and pain by staying up late at night and going through old photos and memories and bringing on the tears and weeping. Sometimes, I don't even know if I know how to do that anymore. I can look at the photos. I can watch most of the videos. So, I'm not exactly sure what that is going to look like for me. The only video that is brutally unbearable to me is the video that Kinsey made for Vienne's memorial service. The songs that play in that video and the feelings that surround all those memories at that service and during that time make me sick to my stomach. I have only watched that video 3 times since. And, then I don't want to over-watch it and become numb to it. So, I guess this is a topic that my counselor is going to help me navigate through. I have to start facing it because I have to start forgiving myself...and I have to start protecting myself from a "greater darkness" that could occur.
And, eventually I hope to come to some sort of understanding with God. Right now I feel like He and I are just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I will never agree with His decision to say "no" to our desperate pleas to save her life. I will never agree with the plan for my child to die. There will NEVER EVER be a point in my life when I will stop and say "oh! I get it now. I see why Vienne had to die." NO. Never. There is NOTHING that could occur in this life that would be worth sacrificing my child's life for. So, I am just going to have to disagree on this one. And, I believe that is ok. There are plenty of choices He made in the New Testament that I have never fully agreed with or understood. But, the main thing is that I do still believe in Him and I do believe He is the one and only God and I do believe that His Son was sent to die here for us. (But, the loss of His Son was WAY different than my loss...yes, He lost. But, He also got Him back 3 days later!) And, loving Him right now....well, that's something I'll have to work on.
So anger is my fuel, my driving force. And, the anger that boils beneath the surface helps me to keep going and denying or avoiding my living hell. Yup. That pretty much sums it up. Pretty, isn't it? I don't really have it all together AT ALL. I am a mess. A running angry mess.
But, I am aware of it all. That's one thing in my favor. I am so blasted conscientious and self-aware. So, I know the things I need to work on. In an earlier post, I alluded to some changes that are going on this summer. The main and only one worth mentioning is that we are moving again, at the end of this month. We are moving back to the area we were living in when Vienne passed away. I have been running from it for this past year. It is time to start facing the pain...one step at a time. We love the area we were living in and realize that there is no other place we'd rather be. We love all that it has to offer in places to walk to (4 parks, 3 coffee shops, our health food grocery store, a splash pad, a play boutique, a library, restaurants, walking paths, toy store....). And, mainly, we also realized that we want to raise Ivy in the area that her sister loved and show her all of her sister's favorite places. So, we will return. And, it will be a good stepping stone for us. My first step into facing the darkness.
Here I go....