Uh-oh. Now that I’ve written this post I look back and realize this is two totally serious posts back-to-back. I’m thinking that something good has got to happen. And soon!
That is the truth. I went to pay my respects to a man who, in his own special way, made an impact on a lot of people. He died on Saturday. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. In a tragic accident.
I couldn’t help but let the hurt wash over me. I mean, that’s what you do at a funeral. You allow yourself to hear the funny quips and the sad truths and you can cry without it being viewed as a weakness. Two men (both of whom I have looked up to for a lot of years) cried today and seeing their tears made my own swollen cheeks damp again.
That’s the thing… I cried. I never allow myself to cry, either. My husband says that I build up this wall of grief and I tackle emotions by myself. “Why won’t you let me help you?” is a question he often asks me. The truth is that it’s easier to keep my million-mile-an-hour pace than it is to give in to my emotion when I am really upset.
It’s not just because of the funeral, because of this loss of such a wonderful human being. That would be enough, I would think. However, it is so much more. I saw his children sitting at the front of the memorial. I saw his daughter smile as she looked around and saw all the people who loved her father gathered in this place. I was jealous of her. In the face of this horrible tragedy, she has been blessed with her father's gloriously sunny disposition. And I am SO not that person.
I sat in my seat with my own beautiful, smiling daughter in my arms. And I got this horrible feeling as the memory of losing my mother as a child came to my mind. Seven years old and I had already defined how to compose yourself when you lose a parent, and I was acting the same way all over again -- putting on a brave face and not crying because I didn’t want the world to see my vulnerability. And that’s when I broke today. I saw those older men, my mentors, with tears on their cheeks. I saw this family that has now been broken by the loss of a great man, and … I lost it. I actually cried.
Then, I allowed myself to feel the sadness and anger over the things that I have been pretending don’t bother me. First, there is the fear of our entire unknown future as we embark on a possible new journey with our careers (especially Taylor). He is hard at work on his principal certification, and that may mean moving again. That total unknown scares me a lot.
Then, there is the anger I feel toward the guy who installed our heating and air conditioning. He came in August and did the installation, but didn’t install the furnace properly. He said he’d be back in two weekends. Three months later, the day after Natalie was born, he came to fix the furnace so our baby would have heat (but only after Taylor left him a message shaming him for leaving our house so that our newborn would come home without heat).When he fixed the furnace, he changed the air conditioner so that it now won’t work (and he also damaged our ceiling in two rooms). So, he said he’d be back the very next weekend to fix what he had messed up and finish the work. Because my husband and I were in the hospital with the brand new baby, my dad was with him finishing the work. He clearly wasn’t done, but my dad trusted the guy, took his word that he'd be back, and paid him the remainder of what we’d agreed to pay him. We did not trust him and were not planning to pay him until everything was completely finished. And now I know us not trusting him was the right thing. Here we are, Natalie is almost 3 months old, it’s getting hot (80’s today), and we don’t have a functional air conditioner. (In case you weren't keeping track, it's been over 6 months now since he initially came to do the installation.)
It’s times like these that I question everything. Do I have the right to be hurt? The right to be angry? I mean, I can’t help it but sometimes I feel so unworthy of my feelings. Like, how can my mom’s death still hurt my heart? It has been over 16 years. And I pretended for so long that our miscarriages didn’t even happen. Do I deserve to mourn them now? Or the losses of our failed adoptions? Or what about our little foster baby? We know he now has a wonderful and stable home with friends of ours. Is it wrong to look back and be sad about the day he left our home? Am I allowed to be upset that our home is in a state of limbo when it comes to climate control?
Am I allowed to mourn the loss of this ag teacher who seems to have been taken from the earth too soon? I don’t know. My prayer is that God will comfort me, knowing that he is now in heaven.
I pray that God will help me to feel
better about … no actually, that leads me to realize my real prayer. Taylor asks me why I won’t let him help me. Why I never cry. Why I won’t allow myself to hurt or feel. So, my prayer is that God will help me to feel.
I am almost there. I still feel totally unworthy of that precious baby girl I just laid in her crib to sleep. It is my wish that my own level of self-worth will increase… because I never want her to question her own value. She is everything. She deserves the very best -- and that includes the very best possible version of her mother. Lord, please hear this prayer. I give my tears to You, and I give my fears to You. Help me to remember that You created me, and that means that I am worthy of all that You have given me. You created my angel baby, and she is definitely worthy of everything I can offer and more.
Today’s burial service was in the heat of the day, right at 2 pm. I now have a sunburn (ridiculously, it is a red blotch with a fair colored outline of the huge cowhide cross necklace I was wearing now ingrained in the middle of my chest). It’s like I have been physically branded by my hurt.
Here’s the thing -- my swollen cheeks and puffy eyes will go down and my sunburn will fade, but the imprint left on my heart by this day will remain. I have opened my eyes. I see the Truth; I’m just having to take the progress one step at a time.
|How do you dress an almost 3-month-old |
for a funeral taking place in 80-degree heat?
Comfortably, I guess.
...And yes, that's her bath seat.
What? She likes it more than her bouncer. ;)