“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in” Haruki Murakami
I am grieving the loss of my son. My life will never be the same. I’m not sure my “storm” will ever be over. I knew this storm would be hard but what I didn’t realize is that I would at times feel so lost in this storm. Yes, I lost a piece of me with Nate’s passing. He was our son, a living piece of us here on earth so yes I did lose a piece of myself as well. But I feel like I’ve lost more than that. I feel like I’ve lost what made me complete. Had I made the mistake of letting my life revolve around my children? I don’t believe that could be possible. That was my God given role. But I found my security and worthiness in my children and parenting and my family. I was one of the stay at home momma’s that did it all. I was so happy when we had our 3rd baby Kaylee Grace. Our family was complete. I’d always wanted three children (and sometimes more) and I knew I wanted to be a MOM. It was my goal from the time I was a little girl. I was born to take care of children and never in my life have I ever doubted that. I liked and actually thrived in that chaotic feeling running on and off a baseball field or wrestling mat or to the bus stop and back with my head spinning and 3 kids in tow. There may have been days I felt like I was losing it and maybe even complained about the busy life we lived but I’m pretty sure I still had it all in control. We hustled to and from family visits, birthday parties, sports, doctor appointments, preschool, playgroups, grocery stores, libraries, and school. With Justin’s rotating work schedule I was always prepared to tackle each day on my own if needed. It was stressful at times but at the end of the day when I tucked three babies into bed and kissed them each good night, it was then that my day always felt worth it. None of the craziness mattered because I had 3 blessings that filled my heart with more love than I’d every imagined.
There are many times now I just feel lost when I’m in those situations I used to stand proud, calm, and in control. It’s those moments I’ve spoken about before where I can almost stand outside my body and see the world moving around me while I stand still. I stood, last weekend, as I watched the cousins on my side of the family run crazily around my sister’s living room. I watched my niece Annalise open her 1st birthday present from us and all I could think was of how Nate would be sitting as close as he could get helping her open the gift. Anxiety flared and I no longer felt in control. I wished I could hear Nate and Hannah playing, I wished I’d seen Nate chasing Kaylee around monitoring what she was doing, I wished he’d gotten to know Annalise and his baby cousin Josiah better. And I wished Drew wasn’t crying about missing his brother. I wish that little booger had been there in that happy chaos and made me smile in it. There are moments where Nate is so present that I can hear and almost feel him and there are moments where there is an obvious absence in the room that just sinks my soul. That afternoon I felt that absence so clearly. Nate loved that “happy chaos”, in fact, he thrived in it. He likely would’ve been the center of that chaos. I felt lost and out of control. I missed Nate. I suddenly wasn’t sure how to be the Aunt my nieces and nephews have always known. My storm isn’t over and I’m not the same. How do I evolve into the Aunt they remember that played and smiled and chased them and loved them. I still love them, all of them, but there’s a piece of my heart missing that almost feels incapable of growing bigger.
As we left for dinner, I was on the brink of a meltdown. I sat in my car, quietly with Drew and Kaylee, and prayed. I remembered my word of the year and of what I have to continually remind myself to do. Surrender. I prayed that I could surrender all the pain and fear. I prayed that I could surrender the feeling that I’ve lost myself and let God lead me on how to find the new me. I prayed that God would hold me as I tried to enjoy the rest of the evening at dinner and out for ice cream. And I pray still that God will help me find myself in all of this.
Yesterday while Drew was getting ready for school I was listening to he and Kaylee, in his room, while I was getting ready in my room. They were chuckling and Kaylee was getting into Drew’s things as he was trying to get dressed. I could hear Drew correcting her in his polite little voice the way he does and telling her what to touch and not to touch. In that moment, I could so clearly hear Nate then correcting Drew about not correcting Kaylee. This was typical Nate fashion, always in the know, and in the middle of whatever may be going on. I could hear him so clearly bossing Drew saying in that drawn out tone as he made his point “Dreeeeew, don’t boss Kaylee around that’s not your job.” It made my eyes tear up but also made me smile because sometimes his voice is just so clear to me. In that moment, he was so present in this house.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28
This storm will forever affect me, my family, my friends, and all of you who continue to support and pray for us. It may come and go in waves and I don’t think I will ever be able to predict the hard days. Some days feel like a blur. I haven’t read a single grief book. I don’t know that I believe what they may tell me. I’m not sure a book can predict this storm I’m in because every walk in grief must be different. I’ve depended on God, faith, family, and friends. I haven’t accepted advice from those who tell me how to grieve. I’ve found comfort in those that let me grieve as I feel led to do and that don’t pressure me to feel differently than I do. Some days are a harsh reality of the storm we face each day. I still have to force myself each day, each bad moment, to make a choice to go on and be great and to trust and surrender to God. The days haven’t gotten easier. I’m still in a fog just trying to take in every moment with Drew and Kaylee so I don’t miss a single moment. I know that I am not the same person I was a year ago. I’ve already changed through this storm. My relationships have changed and are evolving and taking work on my part. My relationship with God has changed too. I think through this storm I have grown so much closer to God in a way that’s indescribable and in a way that I long to learn more. For I know, that He holds my Nate in His arms, and He loves him so much!!!
One thing is sure, this storm may affect us forever here on Earth, but I see sunshine ahead in Eternity.
All My Love,