In answer to those of you who ask my husband and I these questions:
“Are you getting there?”
“We don’t know where there is, but no we don’t feel like we are getting there.”
“Is it getting any easier?”
“No, sadly, every day seems to bring a deeper awareness of our loss and grief.”
“How are you?”
“Struggling through our grief.”
“What’s the craic?”
“Actually in our grief, we sometimes feel as if we are cracking up.”
Nevertheless, we really appreciate all of you who do make an effort to connect with us, no matter what you say or don’t say!
We realise that it’s very hard for people to know what to say to us.
This morning at church someone silently shook my hand and looked me in the eye with a facial expression that said “If I knew the words to speak to you I would say them.” Thank you, I felt cared for.
This past week started with a family get together in Belfast for the baptism of my niece’s baby. Leah was very close to her cousin and they looked very alike.
Leah was so excited about her cousin’s pregnancy, but sadly she died before the baby was born. To get to the baptism we had to once again drive the route that we followed when we used to take Leah for her appointments at Belfast City Hospital. My husband and I found the whole day very emotional.
Thursday was the GCSE results, an exceptionally emotional day for my husband and I and for her friends as well. Studying for her GCSEs was a big part of Leah’s life. All her school work is on her desk in her bedroom.
Then – the task I had deferred all Summer – shopping for the new school uniforms. Somehow this task seemed so incredibly painful. I left it until the very last shopping day of the summer that my two remaining school aged children were both available to come with me. In previous years this was a task that Leah and I sorted out together in July.
I used to look down my nose at those “disorganised” mothers who headed out in late August to buy their children’s school uniforms!
I barely managed to retain my composure while in the school uniform shop. I don’t think I have EVER visited it before without Leah. I just about made it back to the car before sobbing my heart out. I felt terribly sorry for my two children who had to endure this display of emotion. Even after seven months they still look very uncomfortable when I’m crying.
This past week was Holiday Bible Club at our church. Leah loved attending HBC when she was younger and more recently she loved helping with it.
Having quietly sobbed my way through the first part of the church service this morning, the sermon then really encouraged me. Rev Craig preached from Psalm 63:
Psalm 63:1 (NIV)
“You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.” NIV
Sometimes it’s only when we are in a desperate situation that we learn to seek God with our whole heart.
Psalm 63:8 (NIV)
“I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.”
Rev Craig put up a picture of a mother holding a child and said “Which is more important? The mother’s grip on the child or the child’s grip on the mother?” Of course it’s the mother’s grip on the child. We might be barely hanging on to God by our fingertips, but He’s holding tight to us.
I know I’ve shared this song before but I listen to it often as the words really encourage me:
By Paul Baloche
Nothing will change
If all the plans I make are wrong, Your love stays the same
Your light will guide me through it all, I’m hangin’ on
I’m leaning in, to You
Nothing can reach,
The end of all Your faithfulness
Your grace is with me,
Through every shadow, every test
I’m hangin’ on
I’m leaning in, to You