I like to fix things. Blessed (sometimes cursed!) with a “way-type-A” personality (Mark’s observation, he was correct, as usual), I need situations to be resolved, harmony to be found in discord, and order to be made of entropy.
Looking at my life and house today, you’d never know that about me. Laundry’s piled up, begging to be washed. The dishwasher’s contents are clean and sparkly, been that way for three days—if I’d just take the time to unload it, the sink full of dirty ones could take their place.
There are three, count ’em, three, unmade beds. And what am I doing? Sitting at my laptop, drinking my much-needed second cup of coffee, while the back door screen is open, allowing the coolness of the morning to creep into this messy house.
My type-A personality has met its match–in my 8 year old. As much as I want, I cannot “fix” Ben’s grief. Struggling, with what looks like the weight of the world on his young shoulders, he’s just stumbling through life at the moment. It breaks my heart. No mother should have to watch as her two young sons try to make sense out of losing a close-to-perfect daddy. He softened my rough edges. He was the voice of calm and reason whenever my emotions got the better of me. He was “Mr. Fun” to my “Mrs. Reality.” He made everything in our lives run smoothly, and he made it look so effortless.
But he’s gone, and the three of us are fumbling our way, trying to bring some sense of order and routine to the complete chaos we were left with.
Ben’s feeling emotions now that he stifled, buried deep within him for months. He tells me he has a “sucky life.” When I press him for details, he tells me he’s stressed out at school, overwhelmed by homework and deadlines. This from a child who has gotten 98, 99, and 100s on his report cards all year! Whenever I ask him if others are struggling, too, he’s not sure. I urge him to bring home the work so he can finish it without interruptions.
He starts out in his own bed each night, but ends up in mine before daybreak most mornings. His sparkly brown eyes seem a tad cloudy; in his normal happy-go-lucky gait, you see a slow, underlying sadness that just won’t let go. His posture has begun to slump from the weight of the grief. I am worried about him. I don’t know what to do for him.
And this morning, as we are running late for school, he sits on the couch, in underwear and socks, hair uncombed. I urge him, three or four times, to finish dressing, that time’s a-wasting. Nothing. In my next pass through the den, I raise my voice. He bursts into tears, and runs to his room. Great. I am only human, and patience is a virtue I’m continually working on. I go to apologize for yelling. He finally finishes dressing and begrudgingly puts his backpack on. I tell him there’s only 12 more days of school.
This summer will hopefully be a season of healing. With no schedules, no deadlines, no demands on any of us (except my outdoor column once weekly), I pray that we can begin to put our lives back together. Right now, it feels like we’re functioning on a wing and a prayer, with a great deal of duct tape keeping us together.
We’re broken. We’re not sure of our future. And as I see my Benny, seemingly drowning in a sea of grief and sadness–I want so badly to pull him from the deep water. But I know I cannot. Only God can do that, as He did for me, and for Andrew. The water I tread isn’t quite as deep as it was, that’s for certain, but there are days that big giant waves still knock me off of my feet. And let me tell you, the worst days I’ve had personally are nothing compared to watching my sons suffer their own personal pain. I’ve lost a spouse, a lover, a best friend. But they’ve lost their dad, their male role model.
I pray for them, without ceasing. I cry out to God and ask Him to take away their pain. I ask Him to give their pain to me. I’d give anything to see my Benny smile again, to hear that silly giggle, to see the light sparkling in those enormous brown eyes that seemingly look into my soul.
It’s my job to see that he thinks he has a “sucky life” only for awhile. I pray for the wisdom to get him through this. I pray for God to reach in and pull him out of the deep water quickly.
No mother wants to be witness to such pain……
As I typed that last sentence, in my mind, I see Mary, mother of Jesus, watching her son be crucified. I cannot imagine her pain. I feel so guilty. Here I sit, worrying about my sons, when she had to endure His dying, right in front of her. For sins He didn’t commit.
Thank you, God, for putting that image into my mind. For showing me that the pain I feel is nothing compared to the pain both you and Mary felt as you watched your Son hang on a cross for hours and die. Surely I can help my sons get through this grief, with Your help.
I look back at a new favorite devotion, from May 1st: