“To have courage for whatever comes in life—everything lies in that.” (Saint Teresa of Avila)
I find myself running away. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. Good or bad. Reward or punishment. I run.
I run from fear. From hurt. From memories. From feeling too much. From love. From pain. From the past. From the present. And now, from grief. It’s the little girl in me. Fight or flight. She might fight for a little while. But then she’ll run.
I think I’m tired of feeling sad. Of feeling so much. Of hurting so much. Of losing so much. The memories. The longings. The desire to have what I can never hold. It consumes me. I can’t let it go. When I awake...it’s there. When I allow rest...it’s there. Drifting to sleep...it’s there. So I find myself trying to stay busy these days. Busy means I won’t feel. WRONG. If I move I won’t think. NEVER. Distract myself and I won’t realize. NONSENSE.
I can’t escape the pain.
And yet, I run. I run. I run.
And I’m exhausted.
Running or feeling, I can’t win. It’s useless. I’m trapped. My emotions are on the edge of my skin. My tears, they will crash down into a deluge at the whisper of her name, the sight of her picture, or the thought of what could have been. I am weak. My strength is waning. How much longer can I go? How much further can I be pushed? The grief, in its over bearing waves, takes me under when I least expect it.
This weekend, I didn’t expect it.
Monday was hard. Six months later from burying our daughter. The pain was SO INTENSE. I moved into survival mode for the remainder of the week. My mind couldn’t handle it all. I became numb. I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to feel. I wanted to pretend none of it happened. Her picture would pop up on my phone, and instead of taking her in, I would quickly look away. I tried to convince myself that I was doing “better.” That I was moving into a healing phase. A recovery phase. I looked for distraction after distraction, but I was restless. Unsettled.
Then the work week ended. Friday night came. And the Lord called me to Him. Why did He have to do that?
I went to the chapel after the kids went to bed. As soon as I entered, my heavy heart fell apart. The tears like a rain fall. The audible sobs. The inner groaning of my grief. It was tangible. It was thick. My sorrow filled that tiny space. Why? Why? Why? Why?
My hurt. I tried to give it to Him. I tried to let Him into that space, because I know I’ve been trying to do it alone. I know I’ve been running from Him, instead of running to Him. But He TOOK. And that hurts more than anything that was ever taken from me...even innocence. I was at a loss for words. I could only feel and melt into my sorrow until I fell asleep in front of Him.
I returned home, and the heaviness remained over the weekend. So I kept trying to run from it. Laundry. Cleaning. Walking. Anything to just NOT STOP in order to prevent myself from returning to the hurt that was so present. But the flashbacks came. The more I ran, the more I saw her. The more she came flooding in to my panicked mind. And I told her, I don’t mean to run from you. But I don’t know what else to do.
In my cleaning frenzy yesterday, I opened her memory box to place inside a prayer cloth and chaplet from her delivery day. I saw the cap which was placed on her small head, the one that hid her dark beautiful waves, and my breath left me. A punch in the gut. I haven’t been able to go through that box again since month one...the blanket, the cap, a lock of her hair. I think it’s because it makes it SO REAL. She died. I lost her. Her heart stopped beating. I didn’t bring her home. Her body is decaying less than two miles from me. I live everyday without her. And I think about her every waking moment. And all I have are memories. I don’t have HER. And that reality suffocates me.
And so right now, I want to run. I’m not feeling strong. I’m not feeling courageous. I’m feeling broken. Depleted. Wrung out. Withered. Failing.
My heart is broken, and people have forgotten. Some days I “manage well.” But right now, in this day and those that have preceded it, I force myself to keep going. And running TO the pain, or THROUGH the pain and the grief, feels like racing through quick sand.
So I run. And I look back. Because I wonder if I can out run reality...but it’s catching me. This little girl sees it. And she’s terrified.