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.

So, how was your Thanksgiving…really?

Thanksgiving, holidays after child loss, grief during holidays, holiday grieving, life without your child,

If you are one that needs the silver lining, or the big positive spin at the end, this post is not for you. Really. If you’re offended by a little  profanity, click the “X” and skip this one.   “So, how was your Thanksgiving…really?” Year #1 Thanksgiving. As most could only imagine, it was unimaginable. Like nothing I ever thought I could survive. The waves of drowning grief were riding in like a raging storm- punishing and relentless. We were still coping hour to hour. Simply existing was agony. I hosted Thanksgiving. We cooked, we ate, we drank, we did. I ducked … Continue reading

Grieving The Holidays

Grieving The Holidays, Surviving The Holidays After The Loss of a Child, Grief,

Somewhat by my own doing, life has spun out of control lately. Over-committed, over-worked, over-stressed and under-rested topped off with an extraordinarily heavy emotional burden. I didn’t plan well. I didn’t say ‘no’ when I should have, I had no form of self-care and it was the perfect storm for a grief break-down. Grieving the holidays begins long before the holidays and this was not a good way to enter them. October (Aiden’s birthday) through January are months we sort of wish away. They are so heavy and so hard. I feel like I pull myself back up from his … Continue reading

After Bad Things Happen To Good People

Bad things happen to good people, Hope is what tethers us to faith. hope of reunion with Christ and our child, child loss, grief

After Bad Things Happen To Good People By most standards we would be considered “good people”. We are also the good people who a horribly bad thing happened to. Walking, breathing proof that bad things do happen to good people. I’ve heard, “When I’m having a bad day, I think of you and what you must have to go through everyday and I don’t feel so bad.”  As much as I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t want to be the poster-Mom for how bad your life could be. (Look at her and count your blessings!) I will never understand this and we … Continue reading

Like When…

Like When...random thoughts only a bereaved parent would understand

They are gone, yet we see them everywhere. They don’t stand before us, but they consume our thoughts and dreams. We cannot touch or smell them but we imagine every circumstance with them in it. Excruciatingly absent. Ever-present.   LIKE WHEN… …random moments only parents of loss would know. Like when you are on the treadmill at the gym and 2 young boys, exactly your sons should-be-age get on the treadmill in front of you. They are the same build as your son, they are wearing the EXACT clothes your son wore and one of them even resembles your son. … Continue reading

What I’ve Learned Since The Loss of My Child Pt. 2

Finding joy after child loss, loss is a continuous experience,

  The sun was high and radiant, the lake gleaming and alive.  Flickering prisms of light danced across the surface of the afternoon water. This is our ‘good’ time of year-summer. The humming motor is such a comforting sound as are everyone’s voices. Friends and family. I have Noah near me today so my soul is happy. We’re all smiling and laughing- I’m content even. He is surfing on the wake behind the boat and I’m thinking of how beautiful he is and how grateful I am for him. I’m so happy in that moment as words trickle through my … Continue reading

The Other Side of Mother’s Day

The Other Side of Mothers Day

Mother’s Day was always my most treasured holiday, ever since I was pregnant with my first and our Pastor announced our big news from the pulpit for the first time on Mothers Day, 1994. I was in a red dress and heels and beaming. A child. Mine. I had never known such pure and thorough joy as I did then. Yet I never once contemplated what it may be like for others. I would dress my boys all up in their little shirts and ties for church on Mother’s Day. I was never more grateful for my life than on that day. All … Continue reading

What I’ve Learned Since the Loss of my Child Pt. I

What I've Learned Since The Loss of my Child

I was laying down the other night in his spot, which is also my spot. That side of the couch where he liked to lay down when we watched our shows, The Voice, Face Off and Fringe. We so looked forward to those nights-homework, shower, a snack and one of our shows. I loved that we had this routine and quiet time together. I can see him now like it was yesterday. It hurts so much to even watch a commercial for one of those shows. Yes, still. I’m staring blankly at the ceiling fan circling around and around, entranced somewhat by it’s motion as I think of … Continue reading

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