I haven’t written in this space for months. I started blogging six years ago, and in that time I’ve never gone more than a week or so without writing. However, this season of my grief is unlike any other and sometimes one is forced to process more than they should, which means pushing away the familiar to gain new perspective.
I had a stillborn daughter 22 years ago and suffered many miscarriages accompanied by years of infertility in between. I thought those were my hard years. When my stepfather passed away from an unexpected heart attack in 2014, I thought my biggest battle would be dealing with grief from his loss, while wiping my mother’s tears over losing the love of her life. No one could have prepared me for losing my brother and mother 3 short years later… all of them young; each death swift.
The main reason I haven’t openly shared with you over the last few months is because I don’t want the place I write to be thickly clouded with pain. There are so many days I wish I was called to a different platform. With all my heart, I long to be fun and witty, sassy and smart. I don’t want to tell you I’m still crying myself to sleep almost every single night, and I definitely don’t want to admit the doubts about everything I’ve ever believed concerning God. But here’s the thing: I’ve learned that as a Christian the biggest topic I will ever question, and hopefully conquer, will be the character of God. Is He who He says He is? Is He the same God I’ve trusted all these years? And, last but not least, who am I in the wake of suffering?
Most of us never think about what it might be like to lose everyone who lived in the house you grew up inside. It’s depressing and even demented. No one can prepare to lose the people who shared every single memory that happened inside those walls. As my childhood home sits for sale, I walk inside to no one welcoming me home. All I have there are echoes of memories reminding me what it was like to have a family.
Now do you see why I haven’t wanted to write? Many of you have been reading my articles for years, whether written here or somewhere else. I don’t want your tears to spill over for me. Trust me when I say I’ve cried enough for all of us.
However, I owe it to my faithful readers, those who check in and view my site every day wondering when I’m going to share words again. I should tell you where I stand today and what I believe. So here it goes:
I believe my Father in heaven is faithful.
I still believe.
I believe He collects my tears in a bottle and washes me clean with His own for my situation.
I still believe.
I believe He knows the ultimate plan for this mess of heartache I’m living, and will one day reveal it to me.
I still believe.
I believe in His goodness now and forever.
I. STILL. BELIEVE.
These days I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the gym. Not so much for the physical benefits, but for the mental health benefits. There are no words to explain how much some cardio and lifting weights can help lift the emotional weights trying to pin me down.
I make myself get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and smile. I’m a firm believer that practice makes perfect and one of these days everything normal, which used to come naturally, will become easier. Someday I’ll belly laugh again without having to remind myself.
I intentionally play with my children and grand baby. One day my youngest son, who is 9, told me he prayed for me at school. I asked what he prayed, and he replied, “That you wouldn’t be so sad anymore.” I make myself smile the biggest for them.
I put lipstick on, an occasional fancy dress, and visit nice restaurants in the city with friends. I even partner on an Instagram food blog titled Gourmandburgh (AKA, The Gourmandburgh Girls.) with my best friend. We tell all about great places we’ve visited and believe in bringing people back around the table to share life, laughter, and even some tears. Connection with community is important and no matter what I’m facing, I never want to forget that.
If you read my piece about antidepressants and are wondering… yes, I’m still taking them. It won’t be forever, but it has to be for now. My position hasn’t changed, and I don’t regret my decision to seek help. (By the way, I’m touched by so many of you who shared that article. It reached thousands and thousands of people.)
Sure, I still cry myself to sleep, but I have a husband who holds me at night, praying audibly over me until the tears stop streaming. He emulates the character of God and shares my burden as much as humanly possible.
So, for you faithful readers who have asked, I’m doing as okay as one can while enduring trauma from grief related to multiple, sudden losses. Jesus carries me. Somehow, someway, I’m going to be okay. Memories that seem bitter rather than sweet will one day return true joy to my heart and feed my soul.
At the beginning of this journey, I wasn’t sure anything beautiful could grow on ground where I’ve stood. I didn’t think it was possible for new life to bloom when the only thing responsible for watering anything was salty tears. I was wrong. In faith, I believe for unexpected blossoms of all the plans God has for me to come to fruition. This sorrow is not for nothing. And, today, from where I’m standing, salty tears and all, I see grit. Grit is blooming everywhere my tears have touched. Grit inside grief… it’s possible. It really is.