I woke this morning to yet another quiet Saturday.
When did our house become so quiet?
It feels unnatural.
I had barely even adjusted to our eldest daughter being away at University when Leah became ill.
It was all go then, we still had a busy, noisy house.
Saturday’s were usually a day that Leah spent with her boyfriend Nic.
I was normally on call as “Mom’s Taxi”.
I remember the first Saturday after Leah was buried, how strange it felt NOT going to Greysteel to collect Nic off the bus, or seeing him at some stage during the day.
Thankfully, we have seen him on lots of other days. He’s the most amazing young man, who supported our daughter all through her illness.
Our family life was busy and noisy, right up to when Leah and I left home for Bristol Children’s Hospital in July 2013.
Then when we came back from Bristol, Leah’s immune system was so weak, that we couldn’t have lots of visitors, so the house was very quiet, although I didn’t mind it so much then.
We were just so relieved to be home again, together as a family.
Barely two months at home, then the wake and the funeral.
Visitors, lots of visitors.
Numbness, busyness, exhaustion.
I’m still trying to process everything that’s happened in the past two years.
It feels like suddenly, our younger children are two years older and more independent.
They spend lots of time in their bedrooms and seem to prefer interacting with electronic gadgets than going for walks with mum or dad.
Family picnics, board games, walks in the woods, it seems that we lost so much more than just our daughter when Leah became ill and died.
Our son is only interested in computers and our youngest daughter doesn’t want to do things on her own with her parents.
I yearn for my daughter but I also yearn for the type of family life we once had.
In the midst of it all though, I continue to believe in a God whose way is perfect.
I often think too about the Old Testament Bible story where Jacob wrestled with the angel:
Genesis 32:24-31 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
“So Jacob was left alone. Then a man wrestled with him until dawn. 25 When the man saw that he could not win against Jacob, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that it was dislocated as they wrestled. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go; it’s almost dawn.”
But Jacob answered, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
27 So the man asked him, “What’s your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel [He Struggles With God], because you have struggled with God and with men—and you have won.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
The man answered, “Why do you ask for my name?” Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 So Jacob named that place Peniel [Face of God], because he said, “I have seen God face to face, but my life was saved.” 31 The sun rose as he passed Penuel. He was limping because of his hip.”
I feel that many times I wrestle with God – wrestle with Him over what I think is best for my life, over what I think that I need to get by, over how I think things should be.
Psalm 18:30 New King James Version (NKJV)
“As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
I love this quote about grief:
Jacob limped for the rest of his life and I will too – in the emotional sense.
Nevertheless, I need to learn to dance, despite my limp.