Last night Audrey woke up crying at 4 am. I go in all the time now because I know she needs the extra security. She’s been putting things together more and more. This morning she was jumping on the bed and I told her she’d get hurt. She stopped and pointed at the air, “Appa got hurt…” “Appa died…”
After I went in and comforted her back to sleep- sitting in the chair next to her crib for a while, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I listened to a sermon online and eventually tried to sleep a little bit again around 5:30 or 6 am. But then she was up again a little before seven screaming, “Play time!”
All of this is just getting plain, old exhausting.
It’s really so much easier to watch this scenario than be in it, that I am still a divided person. I see what’s going on- and it’s like a shadow of my spirit tip toes behind my body just outside of it all day long…and then every now and then- the moments when I get it- the spirit and body collide and I’m back together for just a bit- then I depart again because it’s too much to bear.
I’m teetering now on a balance beam. On one side is bitterness, despair. On the other is faith, hope. Each day I feel about to choose one or the other and then I stay in the middle- using all of my strength- physical, mental, emotional- to hold on just a bit longer…because I just don’t know which is right. I want to live a life of hope, but more importantly, a life of truth. I don’t want to dishonor my husband by believing in a fairy tale if his life was just lost and taken and that is not true. I guess what I want for him is some type of justice. Along with loyalty and faithfulness, a yearning for justice was one of your key traits Dan. You always wanted to see the good guys win- this came out in your choice of sports teams and your loyalty to those teams. I want justice for you. Will anything I believe make a difference in what is already decided. Then why do I struggle so much?
Feeling so tired today and wanting now that Audrey’s been picked up for the playgroup- to just lay in bed…I am reminded of an email you wrote to me back in August of 2000- we had been dating one year. It was at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed with my life…my grandmother had just passed away, i hated my publishing job because I had a nasty boss, and very painful carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrist. In your children’s book way- you wrote me this email in this fashion- i felt the words and the spaces and so much love:
hi julia, my love,
I know you had the toughest week of the year and I just want to reach out my hand to you. And more than anything, I want you to know our God is with you. He knows all your pain and sorrow.
maybe you feel this way.
you feeling like you’re falling…
your loss of your grandma.
tears keep coming down…
you keep falling.
the amount of your work and the insensitiveness of your boss nearly drives you crazy…you work so hard and do your best, but you only get stressed. you feel unappreciated. your wrist is killing you.
you keep falling deeper.
frustrations caused by uncertainty of your career…you’re so gude at so many things and have great ideas of what you want to do, but you just don’t know what God has in plan.
you keep falling.
the failures we make as a couple.
you keep falling. (well, i do too)
the imperfect relationship with your parents. you try your best to be the best daughter and a good witness, but it’s just so hard.
you keep falling…
sadness brought from remembering your good old friendships and college days…
you keep falling…
you feel like you’re going into a depression. there’s just so much going on and you feel like you can’t handle all this by yourself.
you keep falling… deeper and deeper…
you keep falling. you know you’ve been falling so long that when you land, you’re gonna crash straight into the ground. making a hole on the surface. a deep one…
you’re still falling.
then you feel something so soft on your back, instead of the hard surface of the ground. It’s God’s down-comforter! the softest material you’ve ever felt. the thickest one you’ve ever seen! In the warmest, most gentle texture blanket, you slowly sink into the core of it. there, you land into the palm of God’s hand. He lets you kneel and cry on His hand. With His other hand, he heals all of your emotional and physical wounds, restores your faith, confidence and the empty gaps within you. after that, He lifts you up. with His two hands so that you won’t fall.
way way up.
oh wow, you passed the point where you started falling!
Ok, I don’t know how this became like a story-telling session…God loves you so much and He won’t let you fall and leave you hanging. He will restore you and will make you stronger and wiser through these times. it’s a time for us to grow. how can we walk if we don’t crawl?
i love you, julia. you mean just so much to me and I will pray for you and be by your side always. you’re the best.
in his indescribable love,
This is an email from ten years ago- not one that you would’ve written recently. We were both very changed by the time you died. A lot less innocent and less full of faith. So it’s both comforting and upsetting reading this message from ten years ago. You were only 23 years old.
and now you are not by my side as promised. at least not in the seen. and i am not feeling any down comforter. i feel the pressure of concrete bookends. the past and all of our memories and years pressing down on me on one side- the future and all of the anxiety and unfamiliarity of a future without you pressing on the other.
I miss you Dan. Won’t you send me a new message? This one is old and not enough right now. Do you have any new encouragement to share?
hi julia, we have a mutual friend and she mentioned your blog to me. i am so sorry for your loss. i can't even imagine how difficult this is for you.
but how comforting and beautiful are the words your husband wrote you 10 years ago. when we feel there is nothing left, God holds us so close and reminds us we have everything in Him. i know many times that's easier said than to believe … especially in the midst of such difficult times and trials.
my prayers are with you and your daughter.