Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why be thankful

In Psalms 34:1 we read: “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall be continually in my mouth”. I often ask myself:  “how can I be thankful after losing my son?”

My mother was a simple woman who was uneducated. Yet she was a godly woman who saw God in His creation. I remember her washing fruits and vegetables and praising God in amazement over the beauty of the colors of the various fruits and vegetables. She would laugh when she saw a bird hopping or singing through the kitchen window. I remember her kneeling by the bedside at night praying and thanking God for everything even though she could hardly provide for our food and clothing. We too can be thankful for the things that we take for granted, for the fruit on the tree, the birds that sing, the flowers that bloom and the leaves that fall.

I am a biology teacher by profession. I often instill in my students a thankful attitude. For example when I talk about the kidneys, I explain to them as to why they cannot live without both kidneys as they remove the nitrogenous waste products from our bodies without which our bodies would become toxic.  I then ask them if they were ever thankful for their kidneys. I do not think that we realize all the blessings that we have until we lose them. We take talking, seeing, hearing, walking and being able to use our hands for granted, as an example. Many people are blind, deaf, crippled or paralyzed. Every heartbeat matters and we should cherish every moment of life as it is a gift.

If you have nothing to be thankful for this year, rejoice for the life within you that is a gift from God. You can be thankful for the miracle of spring that brings nature to a new life, the beauty of the sky and sea, the sunrise and the sunset as well as the moon and the stars that illuminate the darkness of the sky.

Do the memories alone make life worth living? Can I be thankful for the loneliness that I experience? Yes, it is because of the deep loneliness that I can reflect over David’s life for which I am thankful.  I often ask myself how can I be thankful after losing my son. How can I be thankful when my wounded heart and all life’s sweetness seem to ebb and die? How can I be thankful when slow sad years go by? How can I be thankful when peace was replaced with anguish and turmoil?

Thank God for life, love, and pain. Thankfulness to me is one of the most exalted principles that can provoke the heart of man. It is something noble and devout. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Diary Notes

This was written in my early days of grief in 2004

I am really despondent today and have some anger. I can’t imagine living like this till the day I die. It has been such a struggle and challenge. I am tired of pretending and philosophizing. It does not work. It is telling me that I can make it if I think this way or think of the eternal when everything that surrounds me is temporal and I live in a tangible world and I have to think of the unseen. I am really all confused and full of doubt. Faith is based on the unseen. It is so easy for someone who has not suffered such a loss to judge my faith and it has been judged many a time. Only the Lord knows my heart and knows how much I am hurting. I feel like a knife is cutting my heart out at times. Today is no good. The world around me is full of life and yet I feel dead on the inside. I want David to see the flowers that I am seeing and I want him to participate in this life. I am so void. I am so empty and so lonely and so messed up at this moment. This is not the way one must live. I am so stupid to deprive myself of the joy of this life knowing full well that there is nothing that I can do to change the unchangeable and yet I continue to feel sad. I really cannot change how I feel in an instant. It is not magic. It is a process of accepting and not accepting what happened until it sinks into my brain that life could be good again. Maybe someday I will feel like myself again. Yet I know that my grief will never be lost.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thoughts About The Loss

I gave this article to my colleagues before returning to teach after a semester off. It might be something that some of you, who have recently lost a child, could use.

I wish that David had not died and I want him back so badly. He was very important to me. I hope that you will not be afraid to speak his name. If I cry when you talk about David, it isn’t because you have hurt me. David’s death is the cause of my tears. I will be grateful if you will allow me to talk about him and to share my grief. Grieving is the hardest job that I will ever do. It is exhausting. Grieving is not contagious. Please do not shy away from me. I need you now more than ever. I know that you think and pray for me often. Please let me know through a phone call, a note or a hug. I wish that you would not think that my grief will be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me. I hope that you will understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of David until the day I die. I will never not remember him, ever. I am trying hard to recover, but you need to understand that I will never fully recover, and will always miss David and will always grieve that he is dead. I am not asking for pity. I just want you to let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal. I struggle daily and might be doing OK, but I do not feel OK. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness is what I am experiencing which are normal reactions to grief. David believed in hope. He often said to me “mom, hope is a good thing, it is the best of things, and good things never die.” I hope that you will understand when I might be quiet, withdrawn, and cranky or irritable. I was told to “take one day at a time”. I would be doing well if I can handle one hour at a time or one moment at a time. Grief has changed me. I am not the same person I was before I lost David, and I will never be that person again. I wish that you would understand my loss, my grief, my tears, my void, my loneliness, my pain. BUT I pray that you will never understand.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Diary Entry from November 1, 2004

David died in August 2003. 

November 1, 2004, another month without my honey. The sadness grows as time moves. I feel a bit better today so far. I am going to trust that God knows the beginning from the end and that he allowed this to happen. I do not know why and will never know why. My thoughts however do not match my feelings. I try to be strong and then I fail. How can I be strong when the love of my life is gone? How can I go on with the trivial daily chores that have no meaning? I can't stand it. I never realized how empty life could be. I put so much energy all my life to succeed and be successful for my family and I failed everything. I feel so humbled by all this. I am nobody. I am nothing. It is 10 pm and I am extremely sad. I long for David and want to hold him. I continually have tears in my eyes. I have fears that I will not remember some aspects of his life. This is why I am trying to write as much as I can. His face I have memorized as well as his gentleness and love. I miss him so terribly and there is deep hole in my heart and soul.