When Nothing Touches Your Soul, You’re Not Alone.

When nothing touches your soul, You are not alone,

“I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer… Where I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — Love — the word — it brings nothing. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

These are the words of Mother Teresa.

Her words have mirrored my thoughts. How can that be? She is Mother Theresa, the embodiment of faith, sacrifice and endurance of goodness. How did she feel the emptiness of a non communicative God? Yet, she has. Enough so that she wrote about it.  She too felt her thoughts and prayers come back to her, piercing her heart with their void.

Imagine this faithful, selfless woman writing with such desperation and emptiness? Feeling like nothing, not even God’s love could touch her soul. It makes me feel like I’m in good company some days. Does it not validate your pain on those days when the ache and loneliness of this endless loss makes you feel a stranger in this world and even to your own self?

“Who have I become that I cannot find solace even in my Lord? I don’t know this person who has only fleeting moments of peace and comfort. Where is she? Where am I?” I’ve thought this so often.

I am among those like Mother Theresa, at least in that wondering. Even with this, I feel as though I can still be counted among the faithful, the endure-ers, the hold-outs for hope.

We are not alone in our search for answers, for a voice from heaven. We are not alone in our search for understanding. We are not alone in our search for something-anything-to touch our soul for more than a moments relief.

Those living with great or traumatic loss wonder about their “normalcy” through it.  Are we suffering needlessly? Are we doing this? How do we even measure that when the enormity and distance of the pain is so unnatural, so fully un-Godly? Is this what child loss is? I can tell you assuredly, yes. It shakes us loose from careers, families, marriages, friendships and trust in the very existence of GOD,  and to the deepest part of our being.

It is the upheaval of everything we knew to be true and safe and right in our life. Our foundation, crumbled.

Worse, it feels like the most merciless of betrayals from The One who is supposed to love us so much He “has counted every hair on our head.” Tragic betrayal of The One we’ve cried out to with the deepest longings of our heart. We only wish the betrayal would’ve been for our own life instead. Not our child’s.

Child loss is this.

Have we though, completely lost our faith, our salvation, because of our constant questioning of our God? I feel so un-hinged sometimes  to have had such blind and unwavering faith- until I didn’t any more. Until I questioned His very existence. But I am not alone in that. Read Mother Theresa’s words again. “There is no one to answer.” She felt abandoned and alone. Sound familiar? It is what people of faith who are victims of great sorrow and injustice feel. We are not alone in this. Most importantly, we are not alone from Him either. That I do hold onto.

You have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through. — Lamentations 3:44

What would be worse than the doubting, however, would be to envelope so deep into this cloud that we miss what blessings and comfort can come our way. The words of that scripture conjure such a perfect picture. Wrapped with a cloud. Soft, insulated, protected, no chance of scraping along the sharp edges of this world as we do. Insulation from more pain. But that is not a place to reside, as we will miss out. A place to visit maybe, on some days when there is no other choice or strength? But not forever.

He knows our pain, our distrust and our insatiable longing for our child. Jesus himself cried out to His Father from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Certainly in our frail humanness, we are allowed that cry?

Don’t submerge so deeply that “no prayer can pass through.” I assess daily and choose carefully how, where and with whom to step forward. It’s a survival tactic that is second nature now.

Yet, still I step,

still I move,

still I hope.

May the prayers not stop, but “pass through” to us and for us. I see, I feel how threatening and inhospitable this life can be for people like us and yet there can still be expectancy, richness, beauty and hope here as well. I do believe this- against the grain of this loss.

Another Year

Another Year, New Year Resolutions for Bereaved parents, A new year brings a new need for reliance on Christ. An enduring reliance from an enduring savior.

  REMEMBERANCE I woke this morning to a scene of quiet serenity outside. It snowed here last night so the ground is covered in white and the soft hush that accompanies snowstorms is present. It’s beautiful. I’ve always loved snowstorms. Aiden loved snowstorms. I begin to think about how excited he would be right now and how he should be here, and the beauty I’m enjoying is quickly blanketed in sorrow. Why my child? Why us? Why can’t he be looking out at the snow with me right now? God, I miss him. The coexistence of love and pain, joy and anger, laughter … Continue reading

Surviving Christmas Without Your Child

Surviving Christmas Without Your Child

I must survive Christmas without my child. Again. I’m really trying not to dread the holidays. Trying to embrace them though is like trying to embrace a snarling beast. You might find a safe spot to hug, but most likely it’s going to hurt like hell. Last year without our son was everything you would imagine the first Christmas without your child to be and then some. I have learned that everyday after losing a child you must make a decision to want to continue to live or wanting to die. And by “die”, I don’t necessarily mean leaving this earth. There are many ways … Continue reading

Disoriented

disoriented by grief, in the mind of a bereaved parent

  Disoriented. That’s how it feels sometimes, maybe a lot of the time. On some days I must seem a little distant as a result. Not spacey, but just slightly removed. I try not to be when other people are around, but many times it is when other people are around that our minds are brought back to places and times that once were, or thrown forward to places and times that won’t be. I am aware of the momentary disconnect this can create and often think people must wonder what goes on in my head. Possibly we all appear so ‘normal’ and ‘good’ that most think … Continue reading

Child Loss Literacy-The Judgement Rant

Child Loss Awareness,

I’m not typically a ranter, but I had a rant this week and it was necessary. This was a Facebook post written out of anger, frustration and helplessness for what others think and say about how grievers may choose to grieve and learn to live again. We need some child loss literacy training in our culture. This isn’t just about me, but more about what I’ve heard from this community of Mom’s.                                                                     … Continue reading

When Back-To-School Isn’t.

Back-to-school for bereaved parents, when back to school isn't

There used to be a “Staples” back-to-school commercial that made me laugh. It had Moms and Dads with their pouty kids in tow, gleefully dancing and riding shopping carts down the aisles of Staples to the Christmas classic “Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” I admit it was one of my favorite commercials. It was funny. After 9 weeks or so of having children home for the summer, any parent probably has moments, as fall approaches, where they want to sing that tune too. Even so, summer is such a special time for families and ours was no different. For years we began … Continue reading

The Ripple Effect- Secondary Loss

secondary loss, secondary loss of grief, the ripple effect of grief, grief changes your life, loss of a child,surviving loss of a child

You’ve been moving through life. You know there is no “normal” except maybe the new one you are trying to figure out, but you’re carrying the weight of your loss more effectively. You can (almost) control the days you can’t control because you are back to work and everyone expects normalcy. You’ve come to accept that sorrow flows through your veins like the part of you it has become, but you are thinking forward and you even laugh sometimes. It feels good to laugh. You’ve found some reasons to keep going and it occurs to you that you are surviving this thing … Continue reading

What Would You Do, Mom? Grieving a child without your Mother on Mother’s Day.

Surviving child loss without Mom, Mothers day without Mom. What would Mom do?

Last Mothers Day is mostly a non-memory for me. My only recollection is sitting on the back steps of the cabin we were staying at, holding my husband and sobbing on his left shoulder while he talked to his Mom on the phone. I remember stifling my cries and thinking “I know he’s trying to talk to his Mom, but I just can’t stop.” And I couldn’t.  I remember feeling like if I let go of him, I’d sink into the bowels of the earth and never make it out. The sorrow and pain was unhinging me. It was un-Godly every … Continue reading

The Prize Fighter

endurance for grief, child loss, surviving after loss of a child

THE PRIZE FIGHTER I have the unfortunate privilege of being a part of an on-line community of hundreds of amazing and brave bereaved mothers who seek the comfort and understanding of other women who are trying to survive the loss of their child. They seek this comfort largely because there is acknowledgement and understanding. People who “get it” 24/7. There are many common threads in the conversations including the frustration and pain of people trying to push a silver lining into your child’s loss (“But think of all the memories you have!”), being misunderstood because many think there is an end-point in the grief of child-loss, wishing the ones they love could understand what … Continue reading

When A Community Grieves

When a community grieves along with a family it is elevated far above simply a place where people live and shop and go to school. I have seen this with my own eyes and it is a beautiful, wonderful thing to behold and an even more wonderful thing to absorb as a bereaved parent.

WHEN A COMMUNITY GRIEVES It was morning. I was sitting down enjoying the rich aroma, and about to take my first sip of coffee. The initial thoughts of the day are always of my son. I could see him like he was there, quietly padding through the kitchen to the sunroom where I now sit, like he did every weekend morning. Thoughts of him are never off my mind. Not for a second. He superimposes every moment of my life. The clenching in my stomach was a little tighter than usual that morning and had been. The “one year” of our tragedy was 2 … Continue reading