How are you?

I’m never quite sure how to answer this question when someone asks. I don’t know if they mean physically or emotionally or mentally or spiritually. And I’m never quite sure if they really want to know…the messy details, the pain that still sits in the middle of my chest, why I can’t sleep at night, my fears, my hope or how lost I feel.

Usually I just say “I’m fine considering” and for the most part it’s true. I’m fine. Considering…I’m tired and weak still. It takes 4-8 weeks to replace mature red blood cells so I expect it to take a bit before I feel physically “normal”. I’m taking an iron supplement (called Floridix).
I’m tired, mostly because I’m not sleeping well. I wake up in a panic thinking “Knox!” like “where is the baby?” kind of panic. It’s the same feeling I get when my babies sleep through the night for the first time. Then I realize why he’s not beside me and it hurts, I grieve, I pray and I read the Psalms. I have been able to nap some in the afternoons without waking up like that, so for those short sleeps I am thankful. I’m trying to avoid taking medication to help me sleep. I am taking an anti anxiety to help get me through the panic I feel when I wake up at night. It kind of helps. I just don’t like taking meds period.
Emotionally…I have moments. There are times when it hurts so deep that I can only choke out the words “God…please” before my grief and tears overwhelm me. Romans 8:26-27 says : 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” I trust that when I can only say “Please” that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me, that God knows my heart and can meet me where I am.

There are other times that my mind is so numb and I feel so lost that I can’t think straight. I keep telling Kerry it feels like my mind is only firing on half cylinders (and most times I feel like there were only 2 to begin with). During those times I can’t make sense of the thoughts or feelings that are running through my head. I pray for clarity, I pray for peace and I pray for “order” in my mind. Sometimes, I just put on music and listen…I can’t tell you how many times this last week during my cloudy moments, the words of a hymn or worship song have come to fill the “space” that seems to exist there. Putting words to the feelings that I can’t name.

Yet there are other times that I have a few brief moments
of joy and reprieve from the grief. I feel kind of “normal”. I glean some of that joy from my children…their innocence, their pure delight in little things. I can’t help but smile and delight with them sometimes. I have a 16 month old son, who thinks he’s the funniest kid when he plays with his belly button. I have a 3 year old who delights in dumping water over his own head during bath time. I have a 7 year old who used his hard-earned “Awana bucks” to buy me a ring and was so proud to give it to me. My 9 year old wakes up in the morning to hug me hello. He has no idea how important those “good morning” hugs are to me. I am thankful for the 4 wonderful children I have. They help keep me putting one foot in front of the other. They help me stay focused. They help keep me from getting lost in the grief of losing a child. Even if it’s for a few moments each day I feel “normal”. I am trusting that I will have more of the normal as I heal.

Grieving this kind of loss is new to me. I have been fortunate in my life time to have never lost someone this close to me. I don’t know what grief should look like. I know the “stages of grief”, heck I teach them. But I don’t know what those stages will look like for me. I’m such a system person…I like step by step… I like a check list I can complete…but I’m learning I can’t move through this step by step. I’ve found that I have to let each step happen…it’s not easy for me. I’ve also found that the lines between the “steps” blur, I will move back and forth, I have to trust that God will help me move through and navigate the path of grief that is before me. I trust that His will is being done in my life. He has a plan…He doesn’t have to tell me what it is…He doesn’t have to tell me why. I have to trust Him. I have to keep clinging to Him and seeking refuge in Him. I can’t rely on myself, or my kids, or my husband, or anyone else to bring me through. It is God who will guide me and heal my broken heart.

I have found great comfort in Psalm 34 today…
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I will praise Him, even in my grief. He has blessed me and for that I am thankful.

4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

I have fears about whether God will bless me with more children, I have fears about whether my body will be able to carry another baby. I am fearful about what the future holds. I fear that I will never heal from the enormity of this loss. But I will continue to seek God, even when it doesn’t feel like it, I have to trust that He will deliver me from my fears.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Refuge means: to a place of shelter, protection, or safety. 3. anything to one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.
I will seek my escape, my relief, my protection in Christ.

18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I am so broken hearted. My spirit feels crushed at the loss of Knox. But I am comforted knowing that God is close to me. I know that He is walking with me through this, His arms are around me. He is patiently guiding me and slowly allowing me to heal. He will deliver me to the other side of this hurt.

Philipians 4 reminds me…
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I trust in that. I will continue to heal both physically and emotionally. So yes, I’m fine considering…

2 thoughts on “How are you?”

  1. Erin you will continue to heal, although the steps of the process do get blurred, and you may go through different steps more than once. Be easy on yourself, sleep and rest whenever you can. There is still a block of about two weeks after I lost Mel that I have to ask people what I did, who was there and even where my kids were. It drives me nuts that for a moment in time I had no idea where my kids were. I just thank God that he knew where they were and He comforted them when I couldn't function. You will continue to heal, but I have to tell you grief is the most physically, emotionally exhausting thing I have ever gone through. I still lay down almost every day because I just can't keep going. I took six months off work and can barely work 3 hours a day now. I am blessed to have a few very kind and loving Christian women friends here now who hold me up when I need held up. There is a website I got from a grief support group I went to. It is called griefshare.org. They send daily emails. You might be interested in them and the scripture they give along with the subject of the day. Please know I am praying for you. I know how much you love Knox and can only imagine what you are feeling. Patty Emerson

  2. My Friend,
    You are exactly where you need to be and each moment need to be. There is another Psalm 30:5b
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    ……Weeping may last for the night,
    But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
    You nor I know when your morning will be. Many times it is moving through a grief, not over it but through it. Little by little. I am thanking God that He is giving you little snippits of normal joy. And He is truly there in the dark when we are alone with our fears, tears, dashed hopes and our griefs beyond words.
    Loving you daily,
    Laurie Mishmash

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