So many of you have spoken to me personally, thanking me for writing and being honest and open. For helping you to process something that you have been going through, too, and i’m so glad. I’m glad that it’s helping you- it is for sure doing something for me. I have many things i’m mulling over to write about and i hope that you get to read it. It’s very important things that i think one cannot go through life not knowing. ( i once knew nothing about them ) And once you know and talk about these topics it’s impossible to not know it. I believe i mentioned earlier in a writing about my strength. Please believe me when i say how i am not strong. I don’t feel strong I don’t look strong, i don’t even want to be strong. What i want is to fall completely apart and let all the pieces fall where they may, but that is so unhealthy. What i really am is soft. And i can say that with all confidence and clarity because you don’t have to do anything to be soft really. You don’t strive for it or study it.. you just allow God to move through you and around you and speak to you and the allowing part is what makes you soft. I believe that God is in control of my life. If i really believe that then how can i be angry with him? How can i question what he has done or allowed to happen. And i really do believe that my life is in God’s hands. I wouldn’t want to make the decisions He has to make or take the flack that He takes and so i am grateful and honored to say that my life does not belong to me. It belongs to God. Now, speaking of God. I know there are many of you reading who do not believe in God or know Him. Please keep reading. I hope you can read what i have to say from a Christian perspective and hear what i have to say about how it applies to life in general and not just from my perspective. We all come from different places in our lives and i believe i can touch each of you. I am so imperfect. While i am not angry at God for taking my husbands life (or for even leading me to marry him and have babies who no longer have a father) i do get angry. You should hear me stomping around our home talking to God about how he thinks i can handle a child being sick or not sleeping, and why am i always so tired? Could you not just give me more energy? This is all real. My children could tell you large stories if they had the capacity to do so. It’s not good and / or okay and here is why. Anger.

I know, without a doubt, that Steve, in his now perfect form, would want you to know how much anger has cost him in life. And when i feel myself getting angry (doesn’t matter who it is towards) i am immediately not okay with it, because anger is a horrible thing. Righteous anger. Okay, I can save my excuses for another time and place. When was i last angered for righteousness sake. Let me be real. It is always a selfish motivation. Serving me. I am angry at God when my children are sick or not sleeping because it is interrupting ME and my schedule. So, when anger is present in any situation it does so many things but the number one thing that it does is puts up walls. Within ourselves and others. It causes bitterness. Fear. Hatred. And that is why i have prayed and prayed and submitted myself to God’s will for my life because if i became hard… then i became just the same person as everyone else with just the same amount of hurt and hard feelings. And the cycle never stops. So i stay soft and pliable and vulnerable. I think i dislike being vulnerable the most. And that brings me to today. And grief.

The first night after Steve died as i lay in my bed realizing how different now my life would be, i felt so much emptiness. When someone dies and grief hits you like a tidal wave – sorting out your feelings and thoughts and emotions is almost impossible. Still i find it hard to think coherently and to converse. Even as i write this i feel choppy and  insensitive. So overwhelmed most of the time. And waiting for the truth to sink in. He’s gone he’s gone he’s gone. I also think it is impossible to live life without regret at the time of death. Life is over after death and before death we live in a life with limitations and, well life. There are hugs we don’t hand out and things we do not say because of people around us and boundaries and life. But when death hits then most of it doesn’t matter and we wonder why? Why didn’t we give that hug or high five? Why did we hold that grudge? Life. And of course, I would encourage you to live life to the fullest and forget about it all but that’s not life. I just spoke on the phone today with a friend of Steve’s who just now found out about his passing. Immediately this tidal wave of memories comes rushing back for his friend.  Thankfully for me the bad memories are being swallowed up with the good ones. The man that i knew he wanted to be was who i can remember the most. And i hope that’s how it is when i die! Isn’t that what you would want? For everyone you ever loved to have forgiven you and set you free? To be whomever it is you were always destined to be by God’s great love? To remember you that way? Yes! A million times yes. Please remember me to be kind and patient and funny and sweet and lovely. And none of these things come with grieving. Not one. Not for me.

One of the first things that came to my mind was the thought that i don’t want my children. Now, i know you are looking at these dear little faces and thinking how in the world could she think that? Well, the man with whom i was raising them. The man for whom i bathed them and protected them and loved on them. The man who was completely connected to me because of them no matter what. I loved that man. I still made decisions based on his preference. I still raised OUR children in the way i knew he wold have wanted me to. He told me i was a good mother and he gave me energy and hope and …. these children are not easy to raise. Regardless of it all, they are still only tiny children, and if you look at me and think that i have my hands full, you would be one hundred percent correct. So, with the knowledge of his death came a sense of letting everything go, even my precious babies. Also, if you knew how grief feels you would know that the very two little tiny people whom i love more anything are the ones that suck all of my energy and give me no space to process. I have to be super careful and creative in being a mother. A really good one. And not an angry one. I had to before and i think every mother and person does. But especially now.  I only have the courage to share this with you because a friend of mine who experienced grief also, she shared it with me. See how it works to be honest? Of course, with a handful of tactfulness.  In our negative experiences we can help each other process. A load of bricks fell off of my shoulders as soon as she shared this with me. I had told no one and was never planning to!

Grief and Grace. You would think that what i wrote about previous to this would have me crying. No. When i put down the words grief and grace, tears immediately spring up into my eyes and run down my face. I will try my best best best to explain. Also i am going to make this first person because i know it has effected many people in a similar way but everyone grieves differently. I became a monster. To myself. Others did not perceive me as such. But i was. It’s much better now… but i’m telling you this because if I don’t have all the grace in the world for people everywhere, now would be a great time for me to start. I was so ashamed. I was ashamed of everything i was thinking and feeling. And this is so shameful because all these thoughts and feelings are directed at the people right around you who are loving you the best that they can. Grief is too much. TOO MUCH. It just is. I was so overwhelmed the first two weeks i had anxiety in my heart and soul and i never deal with anxiety. NEVER. My chest was so tight i wanted to scream all the time. I don’t know exactly why. All i can say is that it was just TOO MUCH. I was so uptight and overwhelmed that the smallest little thing made me snap. And when nothing was going wrong i still felt like I could snap at any moment. Thankfully – Grace. Grace from other people… grace for myself. I have been thinking so much about grace. We know that God extends that to us and it covers our sins but what if we lived with grace for others so rich and pure that we would forgive them before they hurt us. Realizing that hurt comes from hurt and if you say something to me that hurts i can just cross it off and assume you meant well, because of grace.

 

I know you’ve read the books and heard all the words and phrases you should not say to a grieving person. And that’s correct. There are many things you should not say, but i’m gonna one up all the books and phrases and say, “Just show up.”  If you are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, chances are you probably will do and say the wrong thing. Because when i was first in my grief there was nothing that could be said or done right for me. That sounds just so awful. My perception of grief was that I would be this sweet person who suddenly loves everyone more than life but what i felt like was a monster. So i say, just show up and do your best, and you know what? I was eventually able to let all of those things go that stretched me too thin (okay, i’m still working on a few) because i am practicing that same grace that has been given to me. Be sensitive to that grieving person. Be kind. Be gentle. But, please don’t be afraid to show up. Someday when you are grieving you will see exactly what i mean.

 

I am so thankful to have experienced this. I now have another level of God’s grace on my life that i can know how to extend towards others. I can for sure say i am not prepared to handle grief. Not now, not ever. I kind of quake still at the thought of more loss in my life because it does shake me to my core. I can be more bold in some ways but in others i’m so wimpy. Whatever nerve of steel i ever thought i had is completely gone. I do know that God still has me. He has been with me from the beginning and He is working a good work in me. I will continue to trust Him and i’m sure he will take the brunt of my anger from day to day. But most of all, He has given me so much more grace. And my prayer is that, when you read what i write, you would really look at it like God speaking to you through me…. a little like Paul.

If we really knew what his thorn in the flesh was would we listen to anything he says? God speaks to others through our imperfections doesn’t He? And i hope He can speak to you through mine.

Thank you for loving us. Thank you for reading. Thank you for giving me a big hug when you see me the next time.

We are not meant to live this life alone. And i’m thankful that you are here with me.

Grace upon Grace.

I love you. – Diane

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