Every morning, right when I wake up, before I open my eyes or I move, my mind always goes to the same thing. I think about where Henryk would be if he were alive. Where he always was when I woke up when he was alive. Michael would usually sleep with Henryk on his chest, and then when he would get up, slide Henryk carefully right into the middle of our bed. So when I would wake up, or when Henryk would wake me up, he was always right next to me.
So I wake up and think of where I’m laying, and where Henryk would be in relation to me. Am I facing the outside of bed, so Henryk is right behind me? Or am I facing into the bed and I’m curled perfectly around his little body? And then, also before I open my eyes, I know that he is still not there. He is still gone.
My book club just finished a book about a man with physical disabilities telling his story. He says that the pain is always there and it is intermittent. It hurts unless it really hurts. That’s a very good description of how we feel these days. The pain that is always there also has waves of intensity. Some days we wake up knowing that we are sinking down, or rather being pulled down, by the current of the wave of sadness and pain. We can’t figure out what brings the waves or when they will come, they just happen. And when we have sunk into the sadness, and are there, there are specific instances that are just too hard, and it comes bubbling up and overtaking us at the drop of a hat. Two specific feelings for the same thing – sinking down and bubbling up.
I find myself going back to evaluate the big truths I believe in light of Henryk’s life and suffering. I see how much bigger and more powerful God needs to be than I realized before. I see what a very big deal it is to believe in Him. So it helps to go back over things and as I do this trust that it still all holds true and that the bottom will not give out. And it does hold true and it doesn’t give out. But it is so important to address these questions rather than either ignoring them (setting up for a future implosion) or turning away from them. We are thankful to grasp what we can understand and reconcile with God’s character what He chooses to leave as a mystery.
It also helps to trust that we will not always hurt this way. We have spoken with some people who are further down this road than we are, and they say that it is like an amputation of a limb. You never get that limb back. You can never function as you did when you had it. You will always miss it. But the place from which it was severed can heal over. With work and faith you can adjust. It is helpful to trust that even though we have no idea how and the amount of time it will take (we have heard it is usually years).
And even if it does not get better, even if there is more suffering as untimely and difficult as this, even if this life continues to go in distinctly the direction we do not want, there is hope for the sadness. We are very, very sad. That is the only way to say it. We are very, very sad at our loss and the overall state of the world. But Jesus is sad about it too. He was so sad that he came and did something to fix it for eternity.