I feel like my heart is left in the past and just can’t catch up to the present.
This is what I said at a counseling appointment.
My counselor then drew this:
To walk you through it, she pointed out that in order to go through life, To get to healing. To get to the other side of a situation.
We swim from where we are to where we want to be.
But along the way.
There’s a shark.
It keeps attacking us, biting at us, eating us up (devouring us!).
We try so hard to swim across but it is absolutely impossible to get to the other side of something with this threat.
We need to simply take the bridge.
The bridge is Jesus (HOKEY, I know. I thought the same thing.)
But she was a really good drawer and her pretty little picture helped it “click” for me.
She explained that humans will do anything to keep from grieving. There’s no real known reason why, but grief is the LAST thing we want to do. We will bury our pain in any and everything: Busyness, routine, structure, too much fun, substance abuse, self-loathing, shopping, coffee, chocolate, success, awards. Name it. You know what it is.
We would rather do “this” than face the pain.
Grief. There are two specific times when I know grief MUST happen.
ONE. It needs to happen when you’ve been wronged. You need to grieve that you were not treated the way God designed you to be treated. You grieve the loss of innocence, the loss of vulnerability. You grieve the fact that you never wanted to feel this way, never wanted to know what “this” pain felt like.
TWO. It needs to happen when seasons change. I once heard a teaching on grief. The pastor noted that with change there is loss. This loss needs to be grieved. You cannot enter fully into the next season of life without fully dealing with former season. You need to get all of you (and I mean ALL of you) together, wholly and fully (as best your able). If you need to go back to “that moment” or “those words” or “when this happened” — Do it. Go back there to that space and time. Be there. Let all of you come together before you move forward. Grieve the time lost as you ran from the pain. Grieve the ways life is different. You get married, it’s change. You lose freedom in ways, you have to give of yourself in ways you didn’t anticipate, you yourself need to change. Grieve this. Life isn’t the same. Say it aloud. It’s okay. It’s the truth. You have a baby. The baby is up a lot and you’re losing sleep. You don’t have the freedom and spontaneity you once had. It’s okay. Name it. Grieve it. You’re not in the relationship anymore (maybe that’s even good thing it came to an end) but you’ve lost the plans you had, you’ve lost what you had. Even if for the better, it’s still change and you’ve lost something. So go ahead and grieve it.
How do we grieve?
There’s no one set way to grieve.
One quick way is to stop. JUST STOP. And be still. You meditate on this:
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that “I am.”
Be still and know that.
Be still and know.
And then go there.
Go to the innermost parts of your heart.
Start speaking out loud. Your story. The way you feel (or felt) about it. Give specific examples.
I once had a friend who was trying to grieve a relationship that wasn’t the relationship she had wanted it to be.
She literally sat on her bed and breathed in. and breathed out. FOR HOURS.
She breathed in and then she would exhale the name of the person out.
This was her form of grieving; of letting go.
You may need a good hike.
You may need to cry, Really hard.
You may to picture yourself at the foot of the cross. Or maybe picture yourself in a meadow, wind blowing, Jesus sitting by your side. You share. He listens. You both sit in silence because that’s ok. You both like the silence right now.
And. Remember this:
Grief is like waves.
It can roll in and hit you out of nowhere.
Some days can be steady and calm.
Other days will be filled with enormous waves, a strong current.
Moments where you may think you’re going to drown.
Some days the waves may be even invited – soothing, healing memories.
I’ve grieved break-ups.
I’ve grieved OCD & me.
I’ve grieved the lofty idealistic view of marriage vs. reality.
I’ve grieved things…
But I have specifically grieved a lot since becoming a mom.
Bella, honey, if you ever read this; don’t you for one second feel bad. Not one second, you hear! You are everything God wanted you to be. You are my child and I love you dearly. I love you for all that you are and all you were designed to be.
I wasn’t expecting Bella.
I wasn’t anticipating GI issues.
I thought we’d cuddle a lot. (We did not!)
I thought I’d be ever patient. (I am not!)
Bella is strong-willed (in the most beautiful of ways), determined, independent and persistent.
I love this about her.
And though I anticipated different these are not the things that I grieve.
I grieve that I spend so much time driving to doctor appointments instead of fun play dates.
I grieve when I don’t get to spoil her at Halloween & Valentine’s Day like I thought I would.
I grieve when we put her down for a nap to make Christmas cookies so as to keep her away from those “trace” amounts of dangerous foods.
I grieve when I see other kids chewing and enjoying snack time.
Bella and I have managed. And quite well. We figure out our ways. We make holidays special with non-edible “treats” and we find other special ways to bonds with coloring and stickers (in lieu of cooking baking). We manage just fine – and at times, I secretly like our special ways of celebrating Bella differently than I had anticipated.
But it’s an ongoing grief. The moments that make me want to burst into tears can come at the most of random moments – when I see everyone eating their Thanksgiving meal. When Bella calls her blueberries in her bowl “cheerios” because she’s noticed she’s different and wants to be like her friends.
I’ve learned that some things in life are just that – ongoing. And they require me to grieve continuously so as to take the next best step forward, wholly and fully.
So, I’ve learned to take deep breaths.
I can sometimes grieve these things in a simple moment of giving myself permission to do so – I name it. I call it out loud. And then move on.
And I tell myself that I can cry and grieve as often an as much as needed before my Father.
(And I’ll admit, I probably need a good week before his feet – I’m due for this!)
Like I said, an ongoing basis, I give that whole “this is different than I thought” a BIG ‘OLE HUG.
“Different than I thought” and “My expectations” meet.
They took a look at each other.
And then they embrace.
And we all move forward together.
I need to grieve.
In order to be the best me each moment of every day.
I need to grieve.
In order to release the pain and sit in the present with hope, a stilled and content heart.
Kaylee (and husband, Dan) have one daughter, Miss Bella, who lives in a world of FPIES,EoE, Delay in Gastric Emptying. Kaylee works full-time at Start Garden and fine-tunes plans to take over the world while driving to doctors’ appointments.