Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Role

Life has us in so many different roles at times. You wake up one day and you are a little girl getting dressed for school. You wake up another day, many days later-and you are getting your daughter ready for school! And then, if you are really blessed-you will wake up many days later, with grandchildren running off to school. This is supposed to be the normal cycle of life. Then, a wrench is thrown in the mix and your cycle is broken.

I have been very blessed, don't get me wrong. I have seen my school days, and I saw my daughter get on the school bus. I have eight beautiful grandchildren who are in various stages of elementary school  and pre-school life. But, one blessing in my life that is missing is my daughter-Shanny. As life goes on around me, I can't help but wonder why she isn't here to see her son run the bases at his ballgame, or see Evie dance like crazy or watch Gus play sword with a tree limb twice his size. This is not natural to me and it is hard for me to take much less adjust to daily.

Yes, it's been over a year. That's no magic passage of time for adjusting to a death of a loved one. I have learned there is no special date when it all falls into place and you just feel better about it. Actually, I am grieving more this year than I did last year. I am feeling more pain now than last year because I am capable of feeling the pain now. I an not wrapped in a cocoon of shock or walking in a fog like existence to keep me from losing my mind. Believe me, some days I wish I could go back there. It seemed easier when I was less aware of what was going on around me. I didn't have to cope with changes on top of changes. Life evolves and it is up to us individually to create a place we feel safe-to carve out an existence we can cope with in the end.

I have lived a good number of years before God decided to call Shanny home. But, she hadn't. That is the part I am questioning. Why couldn't He have called me? I am not as spiritual, true. I am not as holy or "good." I will give you that-I am not, but I am, one thing-I am in a better place to leave my grown children than she was to leave her three babies. That is the part that makes me angry and confused. Do any of you who have lost a child feel that way? Did you ask God why? I feel like I had many chances to get it right and if I didn't, then it was my own damn fault and if I hadn't gotten it right by now, chances are I wasn't going to get it right. But Shannon didn't really have that much time. She was just coming into her own, when God took her. I just don't understand it and some days-the darkness rules my mind and I cannot realize my role in this life any more. I can't desire to figure it out. I am exhausted from the heartache and the pain and the grief.
Can you understand? When it hurts to think about living without her so much that the pain reaches deep inside me and seems to settle in my bones and body like a weight that can't be lifted. Some days it makes breathing a chore. My stomach aches and I become so ill I want to vomit at the thought of facing one more day without her in it. When the reality of her death creates pain that makes me want to scream out loud  until I can't hear my own voice any more. It feels good to say these things out loud now. These are feelings I haven't worked through and need to face.

I try very hard to be a support system for my other girls. I want them to come to me and I want to be there for them. I also want to be there for my son-in-law. What I have to face is, he might not want me to be there for him. His ties to me ended when Shannon passed away. Our common link is the grandchildren and I have no right or reason to expect more. No matter what I thought our bond might have been-our grief has taken us on different paths and our journey is our own. I cannot feel his pain nor can he feel mine. I need to come to terms with that and I will in time. I pray he finds peace and comfort in his life. I know he is doing the best he can for himself and the children.

I do not want to hear someone tell me-move on, move forward, look up, she is happy now, she is at peace..I know, I know, I know..but I am hurting! I cannot explain how angry it makes me feel when someone tells me she is at peace now. I have news for you-she was at peace before-she loved life. She loved her family. Yes, it could be tough some days, but she loved working at it and making it work! So, frankly, I do not want to hear all the verbiage about heaven and peace and blah, blah, blah...I get tired of hearing myself say it. I am a believer-I know God and I know He gets it, but I am angry and I am owning my anger. I don't like this one bit. I do not like visiting her grave-I do not like seeing her sisters cry and weep with guilt because they thought they had time to work through their sisterly issues and now they have to live with their guilt because they didn't have time to repair old wounds. I do not like to see Shanny's kids growing up without their mom to do the things all moms do. It angers me, it saddens me, it frustrates me, it sickens me and it makes me want to pound my fist on the wall of heaven and yell and scream some more, but why? It won't change anything. It won't bring her back and it won't take away the pain.

So, what is my role now? What am I supposed to do? Pretend I do not hurt? That I don't feel the pain of a mother who has lost her child. It doesn't matter that she was grown. She was my baby. I carried her in my womb and gave birth to her 34 years ago and she was given to me by God to raise and care for and nurture and grow and love. Did I screw up? Sure I did. I made some bad choices in life. I had some fall outs with her but I did the best I could, and I loved her with my whole heart and all I was capable of loving her with at the time. I made amends and I know she knew I loved her and I know she loved me. I watched her grow into a beautiful woman with a joyful heart and giving spirit. I could not have been a more proud mom. She taught me more than I can say about being a good mother and a supportive wife to her husband. She saw her husband through eyes of true love and she persevered through a lot of tough times. She was a strong individual who would not give up or give in without a fight. She approached life and love the same way. God, I miss her..

And so, I keep asking the same question-what is my role? I know the answer-it is not always an easy one.
I see it every day.My role is to reach past my pain and my anger. To reconnect with the God I know and love. To share His greatness with others. To count my blessings and realize His goodness. To work through my grief and take one day at a time. To pray for strength and courage to continue on this journey of grief and to grow in my faith and my love for God the Father. And my greatest role is, my greatest role is to believe-always. To believe always in the power of prayer and faith. Even-as a Mother grieves..