The pendulum of hope and grief

Warning: This is one of those sad posts. Sometimes I try to write upbeat and be somewhat entertaining, just like sometimes I try to live upbeat and think positive. But being upbeat and positive takes a lot of effort these days. Usually I can talk myself into being reasonably happy until maybe 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. I am a morning person who wakes up very early so this amounts to a good eight hours of being almost normally happy. After that my spirit begins to droop and once it droops it doesn’t take much to make it crash.

Writing is the best outlet available to me to relieve the pressure of grief. That’s what it feels like: a pressure that builds up. Some meditation at night and a decent night’s sleep might help me to wake up a little less sad, but then the hours — the news of the world, the ordinary chores, traffic, and interactions with other people that add up to my life wear me down and my fragile defenses against the sadness begin to collapse.

After he lost his wife, C.S. Lewis wrote down his thoughts and feelings. His notes became a book called A Grief Observed, now a classic, because everything he touched became a classic. A grief observed — in small letters and not destined to become a classic — that pretty much describes my notes on this blog. Jesse’s Dad wrote a post here and I’ve welcomed others to write something, but so far no one has come forth, so mostly it’s just me, observing my grief. I know it’s sad, but if C.S. Lewis could write honestly about his sadness so can I.

I know many people loved Jesse and miss him, but perhaps I may be justified in making the claim that I have loved him the longest and maybe I miss him the most. I am the only one who has known him intimately since 1992, months before he was born, who watched and tended with intense interest every millimeter of growth through the years, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Did I mention I love him? His absence breaks my heart – not merely because I am deprived of his company but because he died — he whose health, happiness, and well-being I devoted my life to.

It breaks my heart that he died alone in his room and no one knew until the next day when he didn’t show up for work. That should not have happened to someone as loved as my son. I hear about people who gather around their loved one’s bed and get to say good-bye, who get to be there at the blessed moment the soul leaves the person’s body. But my son drew his last breath with nobody there and his soul was gone by the time anyone knew he was dead. I have still not fully absorbed the shock of it.

Yesterday I had a bad day — storms of grief descending in the late afternoon. Later I did some heavy-duty meditation and felt a little lighter in the morning. I promised God this morning to try to trust Him all day — trust that Jesse is in his hand and all the promises about eternal life are true, trust that the Father loves Jesse more even than I do and that He has a purpose for his life in heaven as on earth, trust that Jesse is fully alive right now and that I will see him again in the not-too-distant future, trust that somehow I will end up a better, stronger, more loving person for having suffered this grief. And even though by afternoon my carefully constructed tent of positive thought and prayer drooped and collapsed, I really do trust God for all these things.

And so it goes, back and forth, like a pendulum swinging against the walls of my mind. He died but he lives but he died….  I cannot stay in the pit of despair so I turn my eyes to heaven and then I can’t ignore the stark fact that I just buried the body of my son and he will never come through that front door again. I feel hope and a faint sense of joy when I think of him in God’s Kingdom and then I look at pictures of the boy who used to hug me and remember the sound of the voice I will never hear again in this life. Eventually life will win over death. That I believe. Eventually.


Author: CJ

Blogger, illustrator, writer

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