When I came home from the hospital after having Sam, I felt the need to mother. And since there was no one to mother, I kept asking (sometimes in my head, sometimes aloud to whoever would listen), “What am I supposed to do?” The feeling of uselessness was sinking harder and harder onto my shoulders, and I felt frantic to figure out my purpose in all of this.
My mother answered, “You’re supposed to grieve.”
I pictured myself sitting on my window seat, tears streaming down my face, watching spring turn to summer, then to fall, then winter. I pictured stagnancy. I am learning that grief is what moves me out of stagnancy. I have a choice in all of this. It is tempting to feel like a victim, but we had a choice. We chose to do the right thing. We chose to be Sam’s parents for as long as we were given. Now, though his death was untimely, we still have a choice. We are choosing to grieve.
I have learned that there is a difference between tragedy and grief. Tragedy is what happens. Grief is the choice in tragedy. I can move through this tragedy without completing my grief. People do it every day. Tragedy hurts and begs me to move away from it. Grief is brave. It picks up tragedy and tempts my heart to hope. Grief polishes this tragedy till it shines. Grief will heal me. Grief will make me a healer for others.
Several have asked what my plans are for this season. I need plans, right? My original plans were to be caring for a newborn, and since that won’t be happening for some time, I have to do something else. I can’t just write on this blog and keep a home, can I? I’ve tossed around several ideas about how I could harness and direct this phantom mothering energy. I keep hitting closed doors. I have learned not to force closed doors, and I will not force these. I stand outside of them, slamming my fist against their finality, crying out to God, “Why is this door closed too?”
This weekend, the weight of everything I accomplished last week came down on my heart, to the point that my emotional state began to manifest in my physical body. Last week was good. It was time for all of those things to happen. It was healing for all of those things to happen, but it was also exhausting. “Now is the time to rest,” I told myself. And I was so grateful this morning that God has prevented me from finding “something to do” and taking on more than I can bear. All I can bear today is grief. All I can do today is grief. And that is enough. I am happy to harness and direct all of this mothering energy into grieving.
Grieving is hard work. It is deliberate in its movement. It is not sitting in front of the window watching the seasons fly by. It is confronting monsters. It is resting after confronting monsters. It is asking for help and encouragement. It is moving slower, thinking slower, talking slower. Everyday activities like making a grocery list take a monumental amount of energy. And that is OK. It doesn’t mean I need to move faster or even give up on trying to make grocery lists. The grocery list gets made. Conversations are had. Monsters are confronted. Life is lived. And while all of that is happening at the unique pace of grief, an important polishing is happening to the tragedy of losing my baby boy. I keep thinking of how much better I will represent Sam and my joy over his existence to the people around me, but especially to Sam’s little brothers and sisters. Staying in this, going through this grief with my head high and my heart open, will make me a better mother to Sam and his siblings.
I trust that when it is time, a door will open. For now, I stay in the valley, moving as slowly or quickly as I need to. This tragedy will shine for me someday.