Today I’m wanting to write about something that I feel is often a dark secret of grief, kept buried deep and not often talked about. Or at least in my case, which my grief. I’m angry and am doubting . Like a dark snake coiled and tense around my hurt heart my resentment and feeling of injustice hisses and strikes at the familiar feelings of hope and joy. Moments of affirmation and gratitude are swatted down by the serpents long tail as it sibilates craftily, “This is unfair, you know? You are not enough for Julia. Do not hear the soft call of calm and grace, because those…those are illusions” I have descended into a relationship with the doubt that permeates too many aspects of my life. In my professional work I force myself to focus and be brave. I smile and say how well Julia and I are doing to colleagues and laugh about Julia’s ambitious Science Fair project plans. All truths and blessings said with a cheerful face. A brave and composed determination well honed over the past year and a half and I’m genuinely content. I’m hungry and aggressive and my mind is in the game professionally and it feels almost normal. But as I drive home I start cracking; the eggshell facade crumbling and when I’m home I’m less than I want to be. I find stress in normalcy and find obligation in folly. I look at little with joy and am snappish and ill tempered. I cry or I yell or I frantically do chores finding busy hands a momentary calm to an internal storm. I fall restless into bed and begin the day again.
Last night I questioned if God is listening to my calls for help. Loudly and tearfully I literally screamed my bilious and ragged uncertainty. In that moment I felt utterly alone and like all I place my faith in was crumbling around me. Like The Wise Builder in the Book of Matthew I have always felt that my faith was built on solid ground and I was wise with foundation firm and deep. To question that my belief in God’s love and care is so unsteadily crafted and that in the times of the winds howling and the rain pelting the windows of my soul, I do not feel his comfort is troubling to me. I have thought of it most of today because my faith is paramount to me and provides much of the comfort I find in my days and years. To know Wesley is at peace and watchful in Heaven is balm to my heart but as I said, my heart currently is occupied by doubting.
Mine is too often a life with all the physical signs of living; breath and pulse, but not a life being lived. And in my existing in half-life, the shadowlands of grief too often place Julia in shade. A girl whose childhood is in peril of losing her father to death and I fear losing the fullness of her mother as well to sorrow. Too long I have let my heart be ruled by sadness and my fear that finding joy is a disservice to the memory of Wesley. I staunchly stand and will the world to not turn, angrily resent the passage of time that relentlessly elapses and fight realities that are hard to face. But the energy I expend in anger and the force it takes to stay stock still is not focused on my daughter. It is not focused on making the existence I have a life. It is not honoring Wesley and that is unacceptable to me. I do not like where I am standing because the sand is too shifting to stand my ground.
Tonight Julia and I are at home. We ordered Papa John’s pizza and are watching “The Magic School Bus” videos on Netflix. We are just being together and enjoying life. Enjoying today. Because today there is joy and life and love. Today Wesley lives through the blonde child with the long lean legs and curious mind. Today the snake around my heart is quiet and still. I pray one day he may be gone forever. For now I take solace in the serpent’s slumber.