Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A New Day

There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice...
and then there is a time to do both simultaneously.
It must be said that I had never known the pain of loss until Eric's death.
I had known the pain of disappointment...I struggled with it regularly as I petitioned God for the chance to bare another child and yet His answer was always no.
But, the grief of the loss of my dearest friend, lover, and companion for twenty years was not known to this heart until January of 2008.
And, that grief, that sorrow, that pain was so overwhelming the first few months.
Those feelings showed up again at about the nine month mark.
I just remember thinking "Well, they (grief experts) said that this would happen and I guess I am no exception!".

But, from that point on I was feeling rather energized. I had made it through the first year. I had made it through all the firsts: first birthdays without Eric, first holidays without Eric, first trips without Eric.
The second year seemed to go much more smoothly and meeting Phil just added to the "phew...I made it through the first year" feeling.
Of course, keeping very, very busy also helped me from having much down time to really reflect or deal with any possibility of "leftover" grief.

That changed after Phil and I were married.
There is a split second where I feel sorry for Phil. But, it is only a split second. He will tell you that he is happy to be the one that God is using to mend my heart.
He is always willing to have a shoulder waiting for my every tear.
And, there have been a lot of them there tears!

I had no idea that God would use this marriage to give me the chance to really grieve.
I had no idea that my Heavenly Father would give me such a gift so that I would feel free to mourn in a way that I had not yet mourned.
For many, I looked stoic as I marched through life the past two years.
They wondered if I was really dealing with the pain or just setting it aside.
No one can completely escape the pain of losing a loved one.
It will be dealt with either in the present moment or somewhere down the line.
I felt that I was dealing with it as much as was possible within the structure of our busy, daily life. But, for my particular experience, it would take the love of another man, the closest relationship that God gives, the companionship of a husband to bring me to a point of
deep mourning.

In all honesty, there are some moments that I am incredibly apologetic to Phil for not seeing this outburst of emotions coming.
But, I had no idea that there was so much left in my heart that would show itself...
we are not talking about a few tears here.
We are talking about a pain that is so deep that I can hardly breathe.
We are talking about sobs of anguish that I can barely control.
It is so reminiscent of those early months.
I had one of those moments while we were watching the flag being retired at Nate's graduation ceremony. The last time I had witnessed a flag being retired was at Eric's memorial...I just couldn't help but sob. The great beauty of that moment was the gift that God had given me in Phil. My Heavenly Father knew that I needed physical arms to hold me, to be my strength, to encourage me, to just be there.
A moment of mourning and rejoicing at the same time.

Phil was there during another crazy, emotional, and yet beautiful time. During Becca and Peter's wedding I was faced continually with the fact that Eric was not there to celebrate with us. I knew that walking down the aisle alone was going to be incredibly hard and I knew that watching Becca walk down the aisle by herself was going to cause an even greater heart ache.
There was nothing more comforting then knowing that Phil was standing right next to me, knowing how deep my pain really was.
Again, a moment of mourning and rejoicing at the same time.

Many have wondered why I didn't lean on my friends or family.
I did...so many people have helped me in so many ways.
But, my deep sorrow has been shared by very few...I am quite a private person, really.
Much of my sorrow was poured out at the feet of Jesus in the privacy of my own bedroom.
There is an intimacy that a husband and wife share that allows a vulnerability.
This is one of the treasures that I have found in Phil. In such a short time we have found ourselves marveling at the closeness of our friendship and the intimate nature of our relationship.
Again, a much appreciated gift from my dear Saviour who knows what I need even more than I know myself...and, who is a giver of good gifts to His children.

It is a new day...to rejoice...and, to mourn...and, to be thankful for the chance to do both together.


not2brightGRAM said...

Very touching and beautiful. God has given you a great gift in Phil. He is truly a Christ-like husband to absorb your grief without it stirring conflicting emotions in him. Having married a widower myself, I know that I would not have been up to that task.

Jonathan Hunt said...

God bless you all.

emily said...

Heather, Thank you so much for sharing from the deepest place in your heart. I am rejoicing that God gave you Phil ~ what a blessing. I am also so sorry that you have to walk through this pain. Wow, God's plan.... so challenging to hold onto sometimes! Your faith and love for Jesus encourage me! Thank you and God bless you!

Denise said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! You said that so beautifully! So encouraging- thank you!

Nan said...

I've got a pretty darn good brother there. :^) I'm so glad that God saved him especially for you... it's strange to see how God works... how in answering the prayers of many... He chose to do it in a way that first meant pain and sorrow and loss. Your marriage in so many ways is a picture of the gospel.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

da halls said...

Thanks for being real, Heather. I appreciate you!