I sat there on a comfortable couch, in a room of 9 strangers, with a book on my lap that read “GriefShare, Grief recovery support group.” Just for a moment I had the feeling of an outer-body experience, like the real me was hovering just inches above the me that was sitting on the couch, and wondering How did I get here? and she wanted to cry.
The me that was hovering doesn’t fully understand or comprehend all that has transpired that lead her to this place.
As I sat there, something in me didn’t want to be there. It wasn’t the group or anything to do with the curriculum. It was that I don’t want to be a widow, or a “suicide survivor,” or a mom to children who’s father died. Plain and simple, I just don’t want to.
But I am, whether I want to or not.
I was reminded of Moses who didn’t want to go to Pharaoh and he told God that he didn’t think he was the right man for the job because he didn’t have a good speaking ability. God took care of what Moses saw as a problem to doing what God wanted him to do. Not in the way Moses had hoped, because I suspect Moses probably hoped God would say, “Oh, ok, you don’t speak well, I didn’t know that, I’ll go find someone else.” No, God said he’d take care of it and he did.
I talked with my counselor earlier Tuesday, before the first Grief Share meeting, about this sense of dread that’s come over me lately. I dread the birthday where I turn older than John was able to turn. I dread the next 50+ years, or how ever long God has for me to live, walking the path of someone who has been widowed, of telling people my husband died and having them ask what happened and giving them the difficult answer, of parenting my sons who will feel the effects of this in unpredictable ways at every stage of their life. I think about it and my mind just says I don’t want to do it. Who would, right?
But just like God chose Moses to talk to Pharaoh he chose me to do this, whatever this turns out to be. He’s sovereign. I believe that with my whole heart. It was no surprise to Him when or how John died. Is it what He wanted? I don’t think so. But remember He never wanted any of this, never wanted sin to separate us from him or for it to wreak all the havoc that it has.
People Like Me
I’d been wanting to talk to other “people like me,” as I put it, people who had, if nothing else, dealt with having to plan a funeral on moment’s notice or having to decide what to do with someone’s “stuff” or deal with all the emotions and questions you have when someone as close as a spouse dies. God’s timing is perfect.
I was concerned about whether or not there would be childcare during the group, so I called the church Monday to ask. The church secretary put me through to a ministry leader who’s voicemail message told me I could contact a different ministry leader. I recognized that second ministry leader as woman who had worked in the daycare when Finn was just an infant. *I should note here that the church facilitating the group is the same church where the boys went to daycare/preschool.
I called Jennifer and left a voice message something like “Hey, you may not remember me but I’m Finn’s mom whom you had as infant in the daycare …” I proceeded to tell her I was calling to find out if there was childcare for schoolage children during the group. That was on Monday around lunchtime.
By Monday evening I hadn’t heard back and told my mother that I wasn’t sure I was going to get to go to the group because I hadn’t heard back about childcare. Mom watched Caden for 5 hours or so while I was at the doctor with Finn Monday afternoon so I didn’t want to ask mom to watch them two days in a row (although she later offered and would’ve done it to help me, I know). I decided just to wait and see if I heard back. If I did and there was childcare, we’d go. If I didn’t or there wasn’t, then we wouldn’t go.
Tuesday afternoon around 2 o’clock I got a call back from one of the Grief Share leaders that yes, there was childcare, and they would love to have me.
We walked in to where the children were going to stay and there was Ms. Brenda. Ms. Brenda had also watched Finn as infant, not at daycare but in the church nursery. She also has an in-home daycare and cared for Finn there for several months before there was opening at the church daycare. He’s stayed with her other times too, when school was out, etc. My heart just melted when I saw Ms. Brenda and I just knew that this is where God wanted me/us to be. Not only had he provided someone to watch my kids, he gave me someone I knew and someone that I think He knew I would recognize as a sign from Him.
I stand amazed at what a master Orchestrator He is — each step along the way I was being ferried along, so to speak, by someone He had placed in my life at an earlier time. And not just random people whom I had met at one time or another (although He uses though too), but people I had a relationship with, people who cared about me and my children and would help and support us. Some may call it coincidence — I don’t. This is a huge church, and I know full well that that church secretary could’ve sent me to any number of people to answer my question, or that the woman she sent me to could’ve been at her desk or could’ve not left Jennifer’s contact information on her voicemail. Instead, God chose to use Jennifer, someone who I knew me and my situation. Similarly with Ms. Brenda. From the moment I saw her happy smiling face I had peace and was just amazed at God’s preparation, like a computer program running in the background for years, for such a time as this.
Permission to Cry
Warm tears rolled down my cheeks like butter melting on a hot roll.
We all told our loss stories, and each story is sad in its own way. All of us in the group have in common loss and grief, yet our losses are still very individualized. Only one story brought me to tears, and it was for totally selfish reasons. A man talked about losing his wife, and the way he spoke about her touched my heart. I cried not really because of his loss, although it was very moving, but because the way he described his feelings for his wife was the way I wanted John to love me. Maybe John did and struggled with expressing it or … any number of other explanations.
I imagine there will be a lot of tears shed in this group, but that will be a good thing. One of the ladies mentioned, and then I looked it up on wikipedia, that tears brought about by emotions have a different chemical make-up than other tears. Emotional tears contain more protein-based hormones including one that acts as a natural painkiller.
God’s working and moving in every life and family represented there, and as much as it hurts I’m thankful He’s brought me into it and anticipate how He’s going to use it for His glory. Because it’s not about us — none of this is about us — it’s all about Him.
More to come, I’m sure.