I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Gift of Grief and Love.

"How long has it been?"

I get asked that question numerous times by many people, and it's usually from people who genuinely care.  It is such a hard question.  Because honestly, the answer is always, "Too long...".  Has it been over five years?  Yes.  Does it feel like an eternity without her?  Yes.  Does it feel like it happened moments ago?  Yes.

I recently turned another year older.  My husband and son threw an amazing party for me, it was all a surprise.  He conspired with some friends who also took me away for a night.  It was full of surprises, and fun, and love.  I loved it.  I'm so grateful for a husband who loves me like he does.  I had a blast.  They went overboard, they did entirely too much for me.  I didn't deserve any of it.  It was precious.

I was born at 1:11 a.m.  I couldn't sleep much the night before, so I was up near the actual time I was born.  Thirty-three years ago, my Momma was giving birth to me.  How could I NOT be thinking of her? My birth is because of her...well, and my Daddy.  : )  

I remember during the Deep Sadness, in the midst of the waiting, the endless fog.....how it felt like a nightmare.  It was too harsh, too brutal, too sad to be real.  How could it be?  I remember having thoughts like that repeatedly.  How could this all be happening?  Surely, surely it wouldn't end this way.  This is hell on earth.  This is the absolute worst thing to have to endure.  This can't be it.  Not with my Momma, this can't be the end.

It was.

Grief is so rough.  Rough, in the sense that it just can't be described.  We can't box it in, present a paper on it, and clearly define it.  We can't come alongside someone and slip them a note on how to conquer grief.

It isn't to be conquered, it is to be lived with.

It is messy.  Part of the reason I write so much about it is because quite honestly, I CAN'T talk much about it.  Unless someone is willing to sit beside me with eighty-seven thousand boxes of tissues, listening to me pause to cry repeatedly, I can't talk much about it.  I will cry.  Every time.  Because grief does that.  When I think about my Momma, I wish it weren't because of her absence.  I wish it were because we were all about to see her.  Or, even to argue with her.  I'd take that, too.

So, how long has it been?  It doesn't matter.  It's been a second, it's been twenty years, it's all just been time without my Momma.  It's been moments without her.  It's been celebrating my marriage, our son, new homes, new jobs.......it's been going on without her.  And it's not easy.  I realize I was young, I realize I am still young.  And it is a chilling thought when I think of how short a time I had with her.  It wasn't supposed to be this way.  How long has it been?
Well, it has just *been*.  It's been life without her, which is the ugliness of grief.  It's the absence of ones we love so dearly.

Yet it is this way.  And that's the vulnerability of grief.  It just IS.  It is the gut-wrenching feeling when I want to call her, and remember I can't.  It is the tear that comes involuntarily as I remember a moment with her.  All I have now is the memories.  It's the heartache that presses in my chest as I acknowledge that we won't be able to make more memories with her.  They'll all be made in her absence.

It is extremely difficult to talk about grief because it is extremely difficult to LIVE with grief.  Yet, that is what many of us have to do.  We go on.  No, it isn't easier today than it was December of 2007. No, the pain isn't lighter.  No, I'm not some strong person who has answers about grief.  I have just gone on.  Day by day, moment by moment.  Some days have been as dark as the blackest night, and some days have been a bit brighter.

I am thankful for a husband who loves me, and who carries this grief with me daily.  I am thankful that when I look at our sweet offspring, I see glimpses of his Nana, my Momma.  I am thankful that grief is not meant to be carried alone...it can't be.

Yet I relish in the moments of tears.  Some nights I just need to sit and cry.  Some days I need to remember her, certain moments, her face, her laugh, her hug.

I'll take remembering the heartache over remembering nothing.

Because I'll tell you one thing, my Momma was the best Momma there ever was.  I have big shoes to fill, and I don't take that lightly.  She was a good wife, mom, and when I was older, she was my best friend.  I am striving to be just like her.

Why do I love SO fiercely?  Because I can't help it.  I was this way when Momma was here.  I love this man, this husband, this other part of me in a way that can't be squelched.  I adore this sweet boy of ours, and spoil him with so much love.  I love my family, all of them, because they are a gift.  I love the people in my life because I am one of "those" people who believes we are all intertwined for reasons we can't explain.

I refuse to be fickle in love, I refuse to take for granted the days we are given together.  As I continue to go on, missing her, wishing she were here, wishing I could talk to my Momma.....I'll keep on going.

I'll keep making memories with my Loves, because love is a gift.