Tuesday, November 29, 2016

a broken hallelujah

Today was a broken hallelujah. 
One sad moment led to the next which led me down the rabbit hole that is my grief. 
Oh, this grief. 
It wears me out. 

The house is beautiful right now, yet all of the things that I think I should be feeling or have felt in the past during this sweet holiday seem to be lost on me. 
Or inside of me. 

It's been 16 months today since I've held my girl. 
I didn't even know that until I looked down at the computer clock just now to see when I should yell for the kids to get their baths.  I don't look at the calendar with dread anymore.  I suppose that is because I really do take each day as it comes.  Every day is an unexpected ride through the dangerous jungle that is my heart.  I can wake to the sun shining and full of total joy and just hours later feel completely helpless and in utter despair.  The date doesn't matter.  The time doesn't matter.  The people around me don't matter.  None of that factors in to what may or may not arise inside of me at any given point during any given day.

I'm a total hostage to my own self, to my own grief. 

I'm remembering things now.  I think I wrote about it in my last post. 
It's horrifying.  And shocking...
that my baby died.

She had a horrible disease and she died.  And my God, it is a tragedy.

Her life was the opposite, though, which is incredibly conflicting for me emotionally. 
Oh, how I would do it all again to witness and take part in her wondrous life! 
But I wouldn't wish that upon her, or on anyone.  No, no.  I still (as I have always) feel complete peace in Mabel's healing.  I begged God to heal her here and knew deep inside He wouldn't. 
And so- I reached down, down, so deep down and I purposed inside of myself to give thanks. 
The broken kind.  The wailing kind.  The kind of hard thanksgiving that transcends this earth and pounds out to Heaven with fists of total surrender.

"Thank you for her life, Lord.  For every single hard and nasty and vile part of this disease.  For making her mine and allowing me to care for her in every single way, every single day that she was here...
But please, God, come...."

I begged Him to come on that dirt road where the sun was shining on us just right, and as sweat poured from every opening of my body and mixed with the tears...
so hot.  So, so hot...
I told him I was ready. 
"GOD.  Just come."

The very next night, as the sky had shifted from scorching hot rays to a violent black, I remember looking at the stars piercing through it all and asking Him to do the same. 
"Reach through this sky and take her.  Do it.  I am begging you..."

And then I held my baby, the one who they say couldn't understand or comprehend. 
[No, she couldn't.  Not the things of this world, where she did not belong.]
And I begged her, too...
"Go baby.  Please just go with Jesus.  Go to Him and let Him give you rest.  Please Go, Mabel.  I love you more than anything in this entire world but baby you have to go with God. 
Pleaseeeee baby.  Oh God, Please."

There was so much begging and then there was so much mercy.  There was so much silent praying and eyes meeting eyes and hard gratefulness and crying out for this disgusting suffering to just be over.  There was this holy war inside of myself; the very chambers of this wild and torturous heart and inside of this home; the very walls that held her and all the people who loved her.  A kind of holy that the world cannot understand and the church cannot understand and even the most Godly cannot understand. 
A disease raged and a war raged and it was never about what words on a page told me would be right or what the people around me thought may be.  It was only EVER about the living God in me.  And the living God in her.  And the two of us together knowing that our time together on this earth was ending. 

I had to watch her brain destroy her body.  And because of a disease that ravaged her physically, I had to beg my God to free her from this world; in turn, to take her away from me.

What mother has to do that?
What human being should have to?

And what human being should ever, ever have an opinion about that kind of crusade? 
Actually, what kind of human being should ever have an opinion about anyone's own spiritual journey?

In the last couple of weeks I have had some people question the things I am teaching my children or the way we are doing things in our very own home.  I am astonished that anyone feels entitled, at all, to offer up such an offensive form of dialogue. 

Though I have written here and shared our lives with the world, that doesn't give anyone the right to assume that they know my convictions, my opinions, or the principles by which we raising our children.  I understand that by opening up, I have allowed people in but I am disgusted that the rest of the world hasn't seemed to figure out by now that,
what we share on Instagram or a blog is only the smallest portion of our true life.  Or our true self.  Or our truth at all. 

I've always tried to be authentic here and feel as though I have been. 
Looking back, I see how I have changed and evolved so drastically.  Most people don't have that kind of reflective archive of their lives, but it has been my choice to continue writing here as my life has changed because I feel like it will matter to my children one day.  Certainly, it will give them an idea of who I was as a very young mom at 2o years old and who I was during all the years of my marriage to their father, and who I became while their sister was sick, and how I changed after she died, and how joyful you can remain, and how debilitating life can be, and how every single part of it I considered to be grace.  How I gave thanks.  How I loved them.

I am the same person, through and through, but that does not mean that my ideas throughout these years and in the context of these pages have remained the same.  In fact, almost everything is different.  So those of you who knew me when I was living on a military base in North Carolina 11 years ago may be very surprised at who I am now.  Those of you who sat in a pew with me week after week, year after year; who felt like you knew the deepest parts of who I am-
I'm telling you, you do not.

The deepest parts of who I am are buried out on a country road with a little girl wearing a yellow bow in her brunette hair.  The deepest parts of who I am are wrapped tightly inside of myself, like the crocheted blanket I wrapped tightly around her body after I cared for her in the hours following her death.  The deepest parts of myself were offered up to my God in a million, unspeakable broken hallelujahs and Hail Mary's on a summer night, pleading with the One True God to rescue my child from this wretched world. 

I am remembering details now that I don't necessarily want to remember-not just about Mabel's life and death but about a million other painful things along the way.  Painful people, painful words, painful circumstances.  The details have been hidden but can only stay buried for so long, I suppose.  I can assure you, you do not want the chance to have an opinion about the way that I'm living or about the things I am teaching my children.  Because if you did, that would mean that you would have to actually see with your own two eyes the kinds of things that I have seen and you would have to hear with your own two ears the kinds of things that I have heard.  It would require you to make the kind of decisions that I have had to make.  To have an opinion about MY life would mean that you would have to live with the remembering that I have to live with and face it day after day after day.  It would mean that you would have to wake up in this nightmare; the one where your daughter lived and died in your arms.  And it would mean, that even now, you would have to look at these two little kids every single day and continue to parent them through the most devastating and unfathomable grief that a human can experience, all while trying to survive it yourself.   

Rache said it the very best to me a few days ago,
"For a very long time it was evident that Mabel was not made for this world.
Now it is very evident that you're not."

Today I curled up in bed and wept over my life.  Sometimes the lamenting is so deep and painful I feel as though I might be physically sick.  The kind of hurling grief that escapes me now is unmistakable.  It is a sound that was so strange at first; leaving my own lungs but unrecognizable to my own ears.  Who was this stranger wailing from within?
  Now, it is familiar.  It is animal-like.  Untamed and totally wild, but I know without a doubt that it is me.   

Two nights ago, life shouted hope right in the middle of an ordinary night, right in the middle of my living room.  It was a horrifying and beautiful moment that I will never forget.  I wailed then too but with a sigh of relief for this one brave and broken life we have. 
Within it all, if we'll just accept it all, my-what a gift. 

1 comment:

Caroline Collie said...

Such incredible honesty. You are an inspiration and though you were not made for this world, you still have so much to offer. Thank you for your brave honesty.