Gratitude without guilt.

Journal from last year – October 27 2012:

I’m here at Cherry Valley Lodge with Robbie.  I had what I think is an anxiety attack this morning.  I miss you so, so much.  It began with remembering the 2nd grade field trip with Mrs. Morse to High Banks Park.  It was in the fall.  On the trail we saw the guts of some small animal – maybe a rodent of some sort.  Everyone was so fascinated.  I enjoyed going on your field trips.

Sometimes I think I’ll die from this pain.  How can someone carry this depth of pain day after day, week after week, and now month after month?

Can you see me, baby?  Can you hear me?  How can I live this life without you?  I view everything through you.  Memories don’t bring me comfort or joy.  They ache.  They bring tears.  When will that change?  Will there come a time when I look back on this journal?  What will I feel then?  What will I feel when I look back on this Cherry Valley Lodge weekend?  Will I wonder how I’ve survived?  Will I still be in the same depth of pain?  Will God use me somehow?  Will I experience peace in knowing God is redeeming this horrible thing and I’m playing a role in it?

Today:  I haven’t had a panic attack – or whatever I should call it – in about a month now.   I want to be grateful for the decreased frequency in panic attacks.  I want to be grateful that I don’t sob every day anymore.   But it’s hard to allow myself to feel grateful for God’s slow but tender hands of healing.  What kind of Mom am I if I’m feeling grateful for my life?   Some have said, “Drey would want you to be happy.”  Maybe.  But it doesn’t really matter because he’s not here.   

I remember last summer a motorcycle driven by a young man came flyin up on my butt when I was driving on 315.  I got out of his way and he sped by.  “At least I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”  Oh My God.  I couldn’t believe that was really the thought that popped into my head?!   Then I beat myself up in a major way… “Yea – lucky you.  Your son’s already dead so you don’t have to worry about him getting in a motorcycle accident.  How sick, Denise.  What kind of Mom are you?  Did you even love him?” 

I feel like there’s a war going on inside myself… there’s part of me that feels amazingly blessed and can rattle off so many reasons why I am blessed.  I’ll see my son again, I have a wonderful husband, I love my family,  I love my friends, I love God more than I ever have, I’m not paralyzed by pain anymore, I can spend time doing what I want to do rather than worrying about bringing home money for our living expenses, I’ve met so many people who are suicide survivors and am grateful for each them.  Then there’s part of me that’s disgusted with myself for not being crumbled up in a pile like I was last year.  Learning to live with Drey’s death is very hard.  It’s taking a long time to integrate this loss into my life, my circumstances, my being.

God tells us to be joyful in all circumstances.  To be continuously thankful.

What am I afraid of?  Why can’t I let myself be a little joyful and grateful without wanting to just die of shame for feeling that way?  Because I’ll forget Drey?  Because people will assume I’m “over it” and won’t pray and care for me the way they have been.  Because people will think I’m a freak because one day I’ll be joyful and the next I’ll be crying – so it’s best to keep the mood swings to myself.  Because people will think I must not have loved Drey – at least not as much as they love their children because they can’t fathom ever smiling again after their child died.   Somehow in my little world I’ve assumed everyone is watching me and drawing conclusions about how I’m handling things.  Because apparently I’m the most interesting person in the world?? 

God please help me to live before You and only You.  My audience of One.  Help me to live just today without concern for how I’ll be feeling or what mood I’ll be in tomorrow.  Teach me to direct my thoughts towards others.  My needs are met in You.  You have shown me that in miraculous ways this past year especially.  The fact that I’m still alive is a miracle!  I want to overflow with the love You’ve given me.  Overflow into the lives of others without regard for myself because You promise to continually love me, delight in me.

Teach me.

2 thoughts on “Gratitude without guilt.

  1. Oh Denise! How many times have I heard parents talk about worrying about their kids and felt a flood of relief that I don’t have to worry about Matt drinking or on drugs while driving, or just being a typical stupid 21year old kid who takes chances or not hearing back from him after I text him. I know he is safe! I know where he is. But then I think what is wrong with me???? I would give anything to have him here so that I can worry about him. It is a coping mechanism for sure. Thanks again for sharing your heart with all of us. My friend, Charlotte, just told me again the other day how much your blog helps her. She leads a survivors group in Virginia. Even though I haven’t seen you in a long while your blog keeps me connected to you. You were the first person I met after loosing Matt who had lost a child.

    Sent From My IPad

    “If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died — you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.”–Elizabeth Edwards

    Best Regards, Ellen Schoonover Personalized Assistance Area Consultant International Professional Relations, Inc. (IPR) Cell: 614-208-3746 epschoon@msn.com

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