We have been somewhat confused about our feelings the past few days. We are very sad, and this is very hard. We went to the Mall of America the other day to take Lily on rides and just the sight of every double stroller pierced our hearts so deeply. We cry throughout the day every day. We do not know what we will be feeling from moment to moment. There are many questions. There have been times of numbness, our brain’s occasional method of self-preservation, and there will be again. We do not know what the future of our grief looks as we are only a week and a half on this side of death. We must again be ok with unknowns. But last night we talked for a while about how it is hard for us to understand how we are not constantly in a puddle on the floor, sobbing and distraught. That is what we were expecting.
We don’t understand how we are still able to laugh about something funny, understanding that the funny thing does not change the fact that we are deeply grieved. We wonder, how are we doing this now? And in the past week, we didn’t only have a very trying week by nature, but we, in a trying week, consistently didn’t take the easier way to do things. We ended up doing things the hard way this past week. And further, the preparations caused us to look back at his life and so much of what we saw made us think, how did we do that, then?
We were warned not to close the casket ourselves, that it is a very traumatic moment. But we did. How did we close his casket? The same way that we let him go into a surgery with un-guaranteed results and complications. How did each of us stand up and read scripture at his funeral? The same way that we engaged in complex discussions about his health for hours with doctors. Why did we wait at the cemetery until the casket was actually in the ground instead of leaving after the graveside service? The same reason that we stayed at the hospital for hours, only leaving to sleep when we knew and trusted the nurse that would be holding him throughout the night. How did we go to the funeral home and dress him for the funeral? The same way that we had cried every time we changed him and bathed him for the past two months because his poor body was wasting away. How did we discuss the way they had to embalm him due to his condition? The same way we looked at countless scan pictures of the state of his brain time and time again.
We didn’t have an “easy way” in his life and we didn’t have an “easy way” in his death. We chose the ways that would most honor and respect him because we love him so much and we were given the opportunity to do so, which so many people are not given. We were given the opportunities and the time and ability to think about them, which doesn’t always happen.
We have realized that part of the how, practically, is that we are now well conditioned to grief. But we are also wonderfully well conditioned to love. And we could love him so much because we have been loved so lavishly through Christ’s doing the hardest thing in his life, death, and resurrection. We have a high capacity for grief with what we have gone through, so doing what we did this past week, although it added to our grief, did not crush us. It was exactly 9 months from the day we found out that he had brain damage to the day he died. And throughout all of those 9 months we have been helped and held by God. He has helped us to work through the terrible emotions, and He helps us still. The sadness is great because the loss is great and that is the way it should be.