“Surviving The Holidays”, this part of the G/S class, was happening on Sunday, November 24th, in the afternoon, I attended AM services at the church the class was to be held at-saving some travel time.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 was the passage being taught about, that morning. The 3 directives were: 1. Be joyful, 2. Be prayerful, 3. Be thankful.
For me, these past weeks, the theme that keeps popping up, many times each day, being thankful. I am sure I can look around and find things to be thankful for, but my heart has been filled with such an awful ache. A few questions torment me: How can I be thankful God took Shawn ? Why am I not finding a positive ? I am plagued with guilt regarding giving the decision to the doctors for Shawn’s remaining days. What if he just needed more time to heal ? Yes, I know that if God had wanted Shawn’s life to continue, it would have. I still deal with being asked to allow the live saving machines to be shut off. How does one know the right decision, regarding another’s life ? To be honest, it seems that ANY hope for ANY peace in my soul-regarding Shawn’s last days, is not in sight. Don’t get me wrong, I know God is in charge. I am just trying to manage these emotions I have been given. Remember, Psalm 139, is my favorite bible passage. I still cling to it, wholly !!!
I do not take to for granted that I was at Shawn’s side when he died. I do not take it for granted that I was able to tell him-many times over-that I loved him. My Mom and Bob would ask, in each phone call, if I had reminded Shawn about seeking forgiveness of sins.
Each time the Spiritual Care people came in, they asked Shawn if they could read from the bible. He would nod yes-even that last Wednesday. They would read Psalm 23, with Shawn’s nods of approval. The Lord’s Prayer, was repeated many times. I did not know how much would be overload, so I used the scriptures I had taught Melissa and Shawn when they were 2 and 4 years old. Maybe folks will think that wasn’t very profound. I just wanted Shawn to have comfort and even peace in familiar things.
Back on task:
Class was good. It helped so much, hearing others tell about how they made it through the firsts. To hear how time has allowed for some healing. From barely able to function to now bringing out decorations that had been collected over the years. One person mentioned how she even enjoyed reminiscing over items that had been bought when her husband was alive. Some told about new traditions they had started.
For many of us to imagine enjoying any day that held special memories of the person(s) no longer alive, still seems impossible.
Each of us has such a different story. At the beginning of class we were all strangers, now friends. With the end approaching, it was a bit scarey to not have a designated time of meeting-a place of understanding- with others who know the ache of loss. Having folks to be accountable to and folks who will hold us accountable when it appears that grief has become too dominant. No, it wasn’t a boo-hoo class. Yes, there was some share time. There was a maze of information in the workbook and videos. All helpful in easing some of the scariness of grief. The weeks completed, now time to break out and put to practice all the learnings from class. I am looking forward to a get together to see the growth in each of my new friends.
Class was dismissed, what to do next ? I knew Bob wouldn’t be home, from church-he locks up. So, I decided I would do a return, at Fred’s. Mind you, Bob and I have tried to make sure to honor the Lord’s day, Sunday, a day set aside to worship the Lord and not participate in commerce, but for some reason, I was compelled to make this return.
The line was not long, but the person ahead of me took a long time. As he left, a person-opposite me-popped up to the counter. It took the person behind the counter off guard. The man was wanting a discount on the turkey he wanted to buy. I am one of those folks that does not get irkitated at happenings like this, and waiting in lines does not bother me. BUT, this day that was not the case.
As I was standing there, a strange feeling welled up in me. A deep sorrow, causing tears to well. The man at the counter was getting loud and upset. All of a sudden I heard, “Mom”. I turned around to look behind me-it was Shawn’s voice, exactly how he would have sounded. I was ready to have a conversation with him. I swear he was right behind me. After being jolted back to reality, the tears trying to race down my face. It was finally my turn at the counter. It was my hope that the transaction would be quick. I started quivering. Just in the nic of time, money in hand. Where to now ??? My mind was flooded with wondering where I could go ? I didn’t have much time before the reaction would happen. What hiding place was there ? Christmas decorations everywhere, and quite a few people, oh no !!! Cameras !?! What caused me to look up ? What would the security people think ? Were there any secret shoppers-wandering the store ? No private area !!! So, right in the middle of the Christmas section, I let my body release. You see, I heard Shawn’s voice as if you and I were talking, but the reality of it not being so, crushed me. To hear his voice: such joy, such turmoil. Why did this happen ? Am I being tormented ? I so miss talks with Shawn.
This situation reignited my desire to retrieve his messages from my old flip phones. It has been quite the depressing ordeal. The reasons for doing this are unselfish. I would love to somehow make an electronic book (just an idea) with Shawn’s voice and photos, for Melissa and the grands. At this point, I have been told it is impossible.
Okay, so, in this technology age: why can I not retrieve those messages? They occurred on a device with memory parts, going out to who knows where or whom else has captured them ? Why can’t I ? I was told that I could go to the police, and maybe with a compelling reason, someone might be able to help. I told her I just needed to hear my son’s voice, who is now dead. She said she was sorry, and did not think that it was a compelling enough reason. She was very adamant that the server would not be able to help. She wished me, “Happy New Year”.
I will keep trying. I can not have my daughter or grandchildren think that I give up easy.
I know this doesn’t seem very positive, and it is my goal to change my writing so that my grands will be able to read about their Dad, when they are older-I am just not there, yet. Maybe this first year is just meant for raw writing.
Oh wait !!! Here is a positive. It has been since about 1995 when I last decorated for Christmas-at home. I have been buying items to decorate Christmas 2014-although-my ideas are not the usual—who would expect that from me ???
Christmas is over, next New Years, then, January 3-would have been Shawn’s 30th birthday. Surviving the Holidays ??? One second at a time !!!
For now, K