This week someone asked me, “Does it seem like it has been a long time?” I had to pause to answer because it always seems like just yesterday we received the call that Ryan fell, yet it has been almost six months. That is half a year!! How can that be? Seriously! I guess when you are walking through each day learning how to live with a changed existence you lose track of time. Each day carries so much effort that you stop tracking time and just focus on taking that next step.
I have been taking that next step for six months. Each of those steps has led me to the new me, whoever that is. This last week I had some interesting experiences that showed me that as I begin to engage back into my old life I will be entering back as a different person. My perspective on life and my understanding of the important is different. Consequently, as I make my way back into my old groups my experience is going to be different than it was. I learned this the hard way, or maybe it was the only way, as I went back to my book club.
I have a group of wonderful friends that I have shared a book club with. We had not met since before Ryan went to live in Heaven. I was excited to see everyone and looked forward to it all day. There was so much catching up to do as I hadn’t seen some of them much in the last six months. As we shared dinner together we took turns sharing what has been going on in our lives. The strangest thing began to happen to me over dinner; irritation began to creep in. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was getting increasingly irritated but as the night went on and I sat and listened to incredible stories of what was going on in these dear women’s lives I just wanted to crawl out of my skin. All I could think about was fleeing and getting home to Luke. I forced myself to sit there out of respect for these dear friends but I didn’t hear much because all I could think about was how I was going to avoid sharing myself. I knew they would want to know how I was doing but I just simply didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to go there. I just wanted to go home. This was so unlike me. It came to that dreaded time and it was my turn to share. I don’t know why I didn’t trust these sweet ladies enough to just say, “Pass!” But I felt some kind of obligation to give them a window into my life. I opened that window briefly with some tears and mumbled answer to questions and then said, “I have to go!” and made a quick exit. I rushed home and headed right down stairs to Luke. I hadn’t seen him much during the week and it just seemed vital to connect with him. I could tell he sensed my weirdness but he humored me.
Instead of just moving on and hoping it wouldn’t happen again, the next morning I decided to email my friends and try and explain my odd behavior as best I could. Of course they showed much grace and wanted to know how they could support me better. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I think it ended up being a learning experience for all of us; them learning how to support friends that are grieving and me learning more of what my needs might be. That night I needed to just “be”, nothing else. I also realized that I am not the same person I was. I am now their friend whose son died. That is a fact and it has altered who I am. It will be my quest now to learn how to live within that new framework. It hasn’t ruined me, but it has changed me.
I have a sense that this might be my last blog. I don’t know why I feel that but someone told me once that I would know when it was time. It has been an incredible 6 months of journeying together with you all. My quest was to journal how ALL things were going to work together for good if I chose to continue to love Him in my pain. He has shown me many, many things and I have personally grown immensely. But I will be honest, I still would not have chosen to have Ryan leave us to find these things; but my trust in God for the outcome has not wavered. The mystery will always be there, but my commitment of offering my pain to Jesus and trusting His purpose is steadfast.
Just this morning one of my dear friends sent me a song. There isn’t a YouTube link to insert here so you will have to look it up yourself, but it is Shelly E. Johnson –“ All Things Beautiful” . The phrase that I am claiming is this:
The soul that finds a song to sing,
Despite the pain and suffering.
Oh how beautiful,
The heart that brings an offering,
Of praise before the One who makes all things.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
I will be speaking at Woodmen Valley Chapel on Tuesday, November 13 at 7 pm. Between now and then my mind and heart must be focused on what God wants to say that night. It is the monthly women’s event but they are opening it to all (women, men, teens), so if you want to check in with us, please join us that night. I would appreciate your prayers that going into that night my heart will be shored up and I will have been rested so I can keep my emotions at bay and just simply speak what God has laid on my heart.