Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grieving the Living

We all do it you know, grieve for a relationship, a loved one that for one reason or another is gone, misplaced, or has left you somehow. Perhaps they fell out of love with us? Perhaps another person, object or substance got in the way? Maybe it was pride, a disagreement, they or you changed, and now the once tangible part of your life leaves a phantom absence.At times it is someone whom has never actually left that you can stand right in-front of them reaching out, and never reach them.
Sometimes I think we can even grieve for the thing that never was. A inactive parent, a sibling relationship that fell short, a child we didn't get to raise the way we wished....
Sometimes, I think it is things and situations that block our intentions, and so we grieve, and maybe
sometimes those intentions no matter how honorable taint the reality, and that too sours and spoils what might have been.

I have lost much in my young life. Parents to divorce, young friends to death, children in both miscarriage death, and mental illness. As we age I think we keep doing that losing and gaining simultaneously.

When I stop to think of some of my greatest losses of those I have loved. The ones that remain living, are the ones that continue to lend the most hurt.
I don't know if I would have believed someone if they had told me that 21 years ago when I my neighbor knocked on my door to tell me at 13 one of my dearest friends had taken her life.
Or at 18, when a sobbing phone call related that my boyfriend had died in a motorcycle accident.
Definitely not to the heaving, heart broken woman who delivered her 22 week early son on the bathroom floor. Or to the mother who answered the phone call that her 11 moth old baby boy passed away from dehydration without her comforting arms around him in his homeland.

And still to this day I ache and hurt, my throat begins to swell and my eyes fog in memories of those times. Those are days and weeks and months I do not wish to live again. Times I wish I could go back now, hold myself tight and promise, “you will get through this baby cakes, sit and feel this deeply, lie face down on the bathroom floor if needs be, and then lets find you some good chocolate and a wash cloth for your face.”

Today I am grieving again. Grieving my inability to on my own fix my broken girl. I have been here before, and perhaps that is why it feels so familiar and raw. Today we admitted one of our children into a Residential Therapeutic Hospital for help with her self harming and eating disorder struggles. Late last night we did loads of laundry and paperwork and made this step.
I am grieving selfishly that this is not what I wanted. Grieving that when I naively decided to bring hurting children into my home I had already painted a picture of expectations. Of how I wanted our family to look and function.

They were basic.
Pancake mornings, Homeschooling debacles, Saturday farmers markets, silly teasing and 'normal sibling rivalry.
No where did my mind make room for door alarms, safety plans and restraining holds.
No where did I think I would need to own bottle of ipecac for overdoses, and butterfly band-aids for intense skin cutting. No where did I expect to need to constantly protect other sibling and animals from a dis-regulated sibling or worse them selves.

I remember the day my oldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I sat on a curb outside the psychologists office and cried. I mourned all the things I thought I wanted for him , and the fear that many of them may never come to be. I remember when a dear girlfriend gave birth to a beautiful daughter with Downs Syndrome, and how she fiercely loved her little girl, but too needed the room to mourn.

As much as I ache sometimes to call out my late son “GIBSON” 's name in from playing with his brothers and sisters, I have closure of his loss, I have a tree and a photo book and places to go and feel and miss him.

With Papillion, I don't have that. I have worry and regret, sadness and concern. Will she ever be O.K.
Is her healing ever possible? Will she ever see and know or remember the love I had and still have for her? Borderline Personality Disorder is such a tricky beast of a disease.

I think of my friends that have lost parents,partners and children to substance abuse. How even after the initial break, the wonder and hope stays alive and pulls at you like an anchor attached to your ankle.

There is no clean break with the living.

With the hope of my child returning home, hoping she is willing to allow someone else to do the work with them she could not do with me. Hoping she is willing and able to want us, me, her home more, more than the monster in her head. I grieve all that I want and hope for my child.
Hope in a way begets grief. Hope can be an open wound.

I grieve the living.
I think we all do.

I think in ways it make us stronger.
I think in ways it makes us kinder.

I think in ways I need a future me to stop by with a ; “you will get through this baby cakes, sit and feel this deeply, lie face down on the bathroom floor if needs be, and then lets find you some good chocolate and a wash cloth for your face.”


  1. God has told us that He will never give us a challenge bigger than we can handle - Sometimes I wish He didn't have so much confidence in me!

    1. One of the biggest misconceptions among Christians. The verse actually says that "He will not TEMPT you beyond what you can handle". Every single day He gives me more than I can handle, so that I give it to Him to handle. Just wanted to clarify that. I know you meant well, so please don't take this as a personal note. :)

    2. Not only does He not say that, He gives us challenges that we cannot handle on our own to remind us to lean on Him.

  2. So sorry you are having to make such difficult decisions again.

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful and well-written peace. May you have a bit of peace from having done so....

  4. So well said, and so so heartbreaking. My heart is with you as well as prayers.

  5. This whole post speaks volumes about what it means to be a Christian, and to walk a life of grace in SPITE OF the circumstances that threaten to drown us. Beautifully written. I am so sorry you are walking this road again. Prayers for healing for your little ladies. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

  6. Your Post !!! So eloquently spoken!!! The picture of your BEAUTIFUL family is absolutely amazing! I met you on face book via a friend last evening. I'm so taken with your story and your passion for your family.
    You have created a "soft place to fall" You are doing exactly what God called you to do . . . Breathe IN . . . HIS GRACE !!!
    I would just like to run over a give you a great big all encompassing bear hug.

  7. I am so very sorry your heart is hurting... You are in my thoughts and prayers. If I could, I'd email you privately and share a bit of my story in hopes that it would give you that elusive hope you speak of. If you feel it would help, I'd be glad to do so. If not, I certainly understand because, after all is said and done, I am not Papillion AND, I am a stranger. I think that your girl and I may have some things in common despite the wide difference in ages. I have healed a great deal. I pray she can too!

  8. I am grieving my mom with alzheimers.

    Take care of yourself.

  9. I grieve my poor lost Ilya....but at least I don't have the heavy burden of always feeling that maybe there is SOMETHING I ought to be doing.......that's such a burden. If you can't do it, no one can.