The sudden, unexpected and shocking death of our son, Russell, daughter-in-law, Shawna, granddaughter, Tylee, and grandson, Blake, was like an amputation of a huge part of my heart; even a part of who I am.
Grief disrupts so many aspects of life. One early morning, I went out to our patio and thought of my loved ones. I pictured each one of them. I recalled the sound of their laughter and voices. I remembered their facial expressions and smiles. I reminisced about trips we took together, special events we did around the holidays and birthdays. I suddenly became so distraught. Tears of great anguish fell down my face again as I realized that grief encompasses so much more than I realized. Gone were all the facets and qualities of each of them in regards to what each one was to me, me to them, and what we shared. This is the amputation of parts of who I am.
What was I supposed to do now? I started a list of what I would no longer be to each of them and all we wouldn’t be able to do together. This took time and pulled at my heart with each word I wrote.
I thought of Tylee. She was 7. Bright red, curly hair. Sassy and energetic. I was her Nana. She was my little dancer and loved to make up songs with me. She was my storyteller. We colored together. We used chalk and drew pictures on the sidewalk. Tylee really liked to help me in the kitchen, serve dessert and clean house. We played “Candyland”, “Chutes and Ladders” and play DOH. We would read together and have tea parties. We painted our nails and did our hair. We would take walks and find the perfect stones to take back with us. Then we would sit at the picnic table and paint each and every one. When we were done, she would pick out just the right ones to give to everyone. I would never do this with her again. And so much more.
Next, I thought of Blake. He just turned two. I grieved over the fact that I only had him for two years. It wasn’t enough! I was his Nana. We’d play with bubbles and balls outside. He’d bring books to me so we could read together. He would come sit in my lap and we’d share a banana. I would wrap him up in a warm, cozy blanket, put him in a little red wagon and walk around the neighborhood. We’d go to the park and I’d hear him yell, “Nana!” as he went down the slide. Never again would I go to their house, walk in the front door and hear Blake’s little voice say, “Papa?” as he lifted up his chubby little arms. I wouldn’t ever do this with him again. And so much more.
Then I thought of our daughter-in-law, Shawna. I was no longer a mother-in-law. And not just a mother-in-law, but friend, and she was my daughter! Who would share fashionable purses with me now? Who would share secrets to get shiny, straight hair? She made awesome tacos. She made birthdays and holidays very special. She would help Tylee and Blake decorate their own cards to give to us. I’d miss seeing the highest heeled shoes on her and wondered how in the world would she last the evening in them. I wouldn’t have this with her. And so much more.
And finally, I thought of my son, Russell. I wouldn’t have my son anymore! What was I going to do without my son? I believe daughters and fathers have a special bond. I believe there is a special bond between a mother and her son and I didn’t have him anymore! No one and nothing would or could ever replace that! Nothing! He is my pride and joy. My laughter. No one else will come and sit with me on the porch, drink beer, and talk baseball. No one will share the same excitement we shared for Christmas, snow and the “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” movie. No one else will walk into a room and light it up like he could with his smile. We shared our own private jokes. He’d look across a room, catch my eyes and flash me that beautiful smile. Who would check in on me when my husband would be away for a few days on business, or call and ask if I needed anything? It was all gone! And so much more!
These lists go on and on. It was an important exercise for me to do. It was extremely painful and heart retching. BUT GOD, comforted me and reminded me of a promise in His Word; “My God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:19.
This verse didn’t bring me instant relief, but it is a promise that I cling to from a faithful Father who loves me.