The day this sweet man left this earth I felt an over abundance of different feelings. Some of these I did not expect to feel so suddenly.
I did not expect to feel safe, reassured or even hope in the midst of this but I did and it was very confusing and questionable to me. But even feeling like I was questioning why I was feeling a sense of security, I knew this was God holding my hand and telling me, “My daughter, I am here, I will be here, you WILL get through this, feel that.” I always assumed that when something so tragic happens that most people go through all the BAD motions. Ya know, the ones that leave you wanting to stay in bed for all hours of the day, not eating or eating a lot. Not getting up and choosing to still live life. Pushing everyone away that only wanted to be there for them. Unfortunately life DOES still move forward and while you feel like your stuck in this quicksand like place and you literally can’t move your feet even an inch forward.. you KNOW life still moves on.I sometimes felt like I was in this giant bubble walking around with this heavy thing that most didn’t know about and I did not know how to speak to strangers at times. But there are lots of people who choose to stay stuck because it is easier than fighting to feel better. I wanted to do this but I did not.
I could not relate to that feeling because even in my pain I still felt the urge to push on and FEEl everything as it rushed over me like a giant wave in the ocean.
I remember that very moment where I dropped my phone after answering my call to my best friend and screaming.. I remember falling to my knees, grabbing onto the wall where the front door would shut and I was just screaming. I remember someone grabbed me and moved me out on our front porch while I was screaming and crying out and holding me while I rocked back and forth, while I was hitting the ground screaming and yelling the words “NO” over and over and over again… I remember this so vividly because I did this multiple times after the initial moment. I did this for weeks and while it happened less and less, it felt more painful as time went on. I remember trying to go to our gym for the first time I think 2 or 3 weeks after.. I don’t remember a time frame because those days just blurred together. I ended up walking in and basically walking out. I could not do it. I then left, sat and cried in my car once again and yelling “NO”. I truly felt like “what am I supposed to do without you?” “How am I supposed to continue on when we were right in the middle of building our LIFE together?” “Why did you do this?” “Why didn’t I come home soon enough?”
“Grief is like the ocean.. it is deep and dark and bigger than all of us. And pain is like a thief in the night. Quiet. Persistent. Unfair. Diminished by time and faith and love.”
As odd as this is going to sound.. remembering all that I felt at that very moment and even then on. I felt HOPE. I felt GRACE. I felt SAFE. Weird right? How did I feel those things after something so tragic? Because God had me. That is not something I knew.. this was something I felt in that very moment when I dropped to my knees and screamed, where I could not believe that this was now what I was going to navigate through. That my future waters were continuously going to be rough, rocky, filled with every emotion you could possibly think of. And It was. But I FELT Gods presence within me and around me. I can’t even really explain it but I can give you an idea.
I used the metaphor “breadcrumbs” for many reasons.
When I started my counseling sessions and I started to write I remember using that metaphor a lot. I kept saying how I SAW God and Chris leaving me breadcrumbs. In my dreams, in people, in life, in weird coincidences or relations from others. There was so many and there is STILL so many. I brought this up to my counselor and she was in awe of my determination to use this as a way to speak to people, she was in awe that I had used that term to recognize some GOOD instead of continuing to focus on what I can not change. She also ended up being a writer and navigating difficult waters in HER life at around my same age and she and I were able to relate on some levels. I had come so far in such a short time and I think part of that was I did not want this to define me in all the wrong ways. I did not want this to destroy my life and diminish the person that I was and wanted to be. I wanted to shine a light on his life after he left this earth. I wanted to do right by him and honor him, I wanted to continue to share my pain and the strength and growth that came with navigating this season in my life. It hasn’t been easy but it has been worth the fight. It was a fight, I won’t lie to you about that.. It was a battle and a daily one. There were so many moments where I did want to lay in bed and my pain felt so strong on some days, the desperation, the loss felt so heavy, his absence was excruciating at times. I would wake up and mornings were the worst for me for a while. I honestly questioned how I was going to make it out of this season, how was I going to get through this? Well, somehow I am STILL getting through it. There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about him, how much I loved him and how I was willing to go to the ends the earth just to live a life with this man. My person. But, God had other plans and If anything I am happy to know he is truly home with the Lord.
Grief is not easy. The trauma was not easy, I still deal with that and while it may be seldom, it is still there. You don’t just pick up one day and all of a sudden you are fine, everything’s back to normal. I chose to wake up everyday remembering that I still have a life to live, I still have to be the best momma I can be to my boy, I still have to work, I still have to show up for my life. It does not mean I am 100% back to “normal” or “happy”. I have put in the effort, I am not choosing to scrape by and “make it to another day” I am always embracing this life that I still get to live. One thing my counselor switched on me was using the word HAPPY. I felt JOY. She noticed after hearing me speak and share that I was feeling JOY. Joy is permanent. Happiness comes and goes, it is NOT permanent and that is OK. Life can be so beautiful, it can still be appreciated, it can still be joyful and your life IS an abundant blessing.
This one horrific tragedy was not a definition of my days to come, I knew that and it was up to me which road I chose to take moving forward. That road was going to have blocks, pot holes and lots of construction but it was going to end up being a beautiful masterpiece ahead. This was not going to define me. It is apart of who I am and in this it has created a story behind the person I have become and it is worth sharing. It is worth bringing to life.
Grace was so hard to give myself when I didn’t feel worthy of it. I promised myself that I would invest in ME, in my growth, in my healing, in my need to want to prosper in this season and I did not do it alone. I was continuing to receive grace from so many of my friends, family, my church community. I was constantly reminded that it was OK for me to have a breakdown because it was what needed to happen and to allow myself the GRACE to let it be, let it flow, let it wash over me and really FEEL what was happening. I never allowed myself to shut off those unwanted feelings and emotions. I did not mask it, burry it or try to forget about it. If I FELT like I was about have one of those moments, I just let it happen. I still let them happen because I know it is all part of the process. I have to allow myself the patience and grace to walk through this hard place because this is how I have healed and grown and learned. I am still learning and recognizing things I never expected I would have to. This doesn’t just stop one day, just because you see a smile or a laugh.. what you see isn’t always the clearest picture. It is a ray of light and only few know that there Is a lot more behind the door of my grief. It is ever-changing, the grief is ebbing and flowing. Sometimes it is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. I am always learning to swim in it.
REASSURANCE was a beautiful thing to feel and it made me feel safe.
I felt this so strongly, I felt this every single day. God was ALWAYS and is STILL reassuring me that no matter what, HE HAS GOT ME. I am SAFE with him. I surrounded myself with the church, the community of women within our church. I knew this was where I was supposed to be. I knew that this would save me in ways God was showing me it would. I felt led. I felt urged. I felt saved. I felt safe. How was I able to feel all that while I had just walked in on the person I was building life with for the last two years just gone in one single moment. I was honestly in awe of MYSELF. I was in shock and somewhat proud of myself for not letting this completely destroy me and my life. If anything I wanted to push on for Chris as well. I wanted to live this life, live a life he so desperately wanted to live with me and honor him in ways he deserved. I KNOW he would’ve wanted me to continue to live, to find love again, to smile and laugh with friends and family, to continue to push forward for the dreams and aspirations I have in my heart. He encouraged me to do the things that were set upon my heart. He knew I was constantly eager to learn new things, read a new book either together or apart, he knew I had these ideas for the things I wanted and I just wanted to share all of it with him. I may not be able to audibly hear him when I do share things with him still but I know he’s listening and I know I am reassured that what I am doing, how I am pushing on, the choices I’ve made to continue to live this life while not allowing the grief and trauma to drag me down.. I am reassured by God and by Chris. I know Chris has his hand in my life. I know he would just want to see me smile again, to love life. And I am.
I will forever honor him by living this life with a grateful heart, appreciating everything life has to offer and continuing to share what is in my heart because this has what has created these relationships I hold so close to my heart. THIS is what God has set upon me.
I am forever grateful for the love I am receiving from everyone who is either reading, sharing or commenting. I would love for you guys to reach out, email me, share with me. It does not have to be publicly. I want to know what’s in your hearts, how are you getting through a hard season in life? How are you naviagting difficult waters.
You are loved. Your words matter.
You are BEAUTIFULLY MADE NEW