Losing a spouse does something to your world. I had thought a few times what it might be like if Thomas didn't survive one of his episodes; but nothing prepared me for his departure. Something blew up that day in March and a lot of damage was left. But slowly and surely as I allowed Him, God put our earth back on its axis and we put a life together as a family. I didn't always make it easy for Him; but He did it anyway.
This Didn't Mean God Had Left Us
Not as easy as it sounds when you spend years hoping for a miracle; but one thing was for sure. I wasn't going to get through this without God. I wasn't wired to do that. He was a major part of my life before this happened. I was dependent upon Him everyday. So navigating life on my own at my lowest point wasn't an option. Interesting thing is it was being at my lowest point that had me considering it. Yes, I said it. I thought of walking away.
Things were just that dark. I had to work hard to get past the "I can't believe you left me here with these babies" with Thomas and the "I believed and what did it get me?" mentality with God. If I'm honest I still have trouble with that first one.
I read a book by a woman who lost her husband when he was killed in the line of duty. She said she looked up and asked, "God, are you even there?" The struggle is real. So was Thomas' struggle; but as long as he had breath, there was at least a small chance. When he'd taken his last that was gone. So what was left?
This is Elijah. He's about a day old here. And what very few people know is that this is a person I longed to have in my life for what seemed like forever. For various reasons I had always wanted to give birth to two children. This isn't something you can really discuss with people in a world where so many experience the difficulties of infertility and infant loss. You come across as ungrateful expressing sadness over not having the number of children you want. When I did choose I thought carefully to mention it, I was told to just be grateful for the one child I had.
But it was more than that. No one was infertile. This was another thing the illness stripped from us...from me. It was insult to injury. I wasn't going to have another baby because our marriage...well, it wasn't like many other ones. So when I look at my souvenir from that one rare night on a rare vacation, it's like God returned something to me. Even now five plus years later Elijah represents knowledge that God had not forgotten my desires. It felt like He remembered me. It felt like He remembered us. See after Thomas' health got to a certain point, I didn't say I was done having children. Someone I love had advised against that. But I had stopped asking God for another child. But there was still someone asking.
Everyday she asked. Every single day that God mercifully gave us, she asked for a little brother. She sometimes tells him he wouldn't be here without her. So when I thought about picking up the pieces of my life and walking a different path, I held on sometimes by a thread to the fact that God remembered me...He remembered us.
Some days in our family it felt like Thomas was all that mattered and after he died, there were days it felt like God left with Thomas; but that's a possible side effect of grief as a Christian. I knew that. Eventually I settled on the knowledge that it was going to take God's presence to put the pieces back together.
It doesn't mean I've done everything right. Far from it. I've had dumb days and done some dumb things. I've gone one way with my little family and had to turn and go another and had that to admit to my daughter in the process of making the correction. I've had days where I didn't handle the pressures the way I should have. See, there was some distance between knowing God could and would heal my heart and actually handing Him the pieces so He could do the work. After March 9, 2010, that took a level of trust I struggled with more often than I like to admit.
God Knew I Was Ticked Off
I talked about being mad in the last entry and I see and hear and read about not having such emotions towards such a kind, perfect, loving being. But God is also omnipotent. As much as I tried especially in those early months to focus on Thomas being free from the suffering he endured, that feeling of abandonment persisted. As much as I tried focusing on my children not having their father to even talk to was like a 50lb weight.
So yeah, I dealt with anger. The only reason it didn't conquer me was because I admitted it and went to Him with it. But it took me over a year. I cried for Thomas more often than people know. But for too long, I was so caught up in how I wanted to handle this, in wanting my daughter to see God could make things alright, in wanting people to see God could make it alright, I didn't really give Him every piece of my broken heart. I broke down under that pressure around month 18. I had said, God I trust You. He had nothing left to prove right? But after tragedy, the honest thing for me was...Help me, I want to trust You. It worked in the Bible right? (Mark 9:24). I say this a lot; but God is a big boy. When I said, "God I'm mad," it seemed His response was "Now we are getting somewhere."