For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness.2 Samuel 22:29
Have you ever woken up in the morning and your eyes hurt. You immediately think, “Ugh, I feel like I got no sleep“, even though you went to bed at a reasonable time the night before? You refrain from turning on the lights as you know the burn that will follow. So instead you feel your way through the dark. (A dear friend once told me that ALL lights in a house should include a dimmer and I whole hardheartedly agree with this statement.) Sometimes you make it through the dark easily and manage to ease your way into the light allowing your eyes to adjust. Some mornings you just say, “screw it!”, you let the light hit you in the face but you immediately regret it and flip them off just as quickly as you squeezed your eyes shut. Other days you are strong enough to handle it and you push through the burn. Then you have other days where the mornings seem extra dark and it takes every ounce of effort you can muster to pull yourself out of bed. Again, as you feel your way through the dark you trip over the shoes that were haphazardly kicked off the night before because the effort to put them away didn’t seem worth it. You step on the worst toy imaginable and wonder how is it that the sharpest part of the toy is ALWAYS facing up. Now, hobbled and hopping on one foot, cursing violently in your head (or out loud), you’ve finally made it through the dark and begin to meet the light from the hallway but catch your baby toe on the doorjamb, hit your head on the door frame as you reach down to cradle your toe, and finally roll your ankle as your body doesn’t have the strength to hold itself up any more (All based on a true story). Now, on the floor you laugh to keep from crying and wonder how the chain of events all managed to happen in under 30 seconds, but you stand up and turn on the light.
While some mornings are more difficult than others, we all manage to eventually turn on the light and make it through our day. In my grief, many have asked me, “How do you get out of bed?”, “I couldn’t do it”, and “You are so strong.” My answer to this is, “Yes you could do it and you would!” Although I appreciate the encouraging words of strength, I am not any different than all of you. I am not some especially strong warrior ready to take on every battle that comes my way. I am certain that in the same circumstances, you would all survive too. We all underestimate just how much we are capable of accomplishing and what giants we can defeat. I have good days, I have OK days, bad days, and terrible days. I have days where I trip over every obstacle I face and other days I feel strong enough to push through the burn. Yet every morning, no matter how steep the mountains of emotional darkness I face, I manage to meet the light and walk through my day. No matter how much “sleep” I get or emotional support I seek, I still cry every day and my heart physically aches with the loss that my children and I have faced. We all talk about Aaron every day and we all miss him every day. We miss the good, the bad, his voice, his smile, his embrace, we miss ALL of him. His absence has torn a hole in our hearts and more days than not the darkness around me weighs heavily on my shoulders. I am learning to carry this burden along with supporting my children and it has been the most difficult trial I have ever endured, but the light is always there. The light is always waiting to be turned on and will never mislead. Jesus said, “I am the light of the World, He who follows me will not walk in darkness.” The pain from this loss often seems unbearable but through Christ all things are possible, and the dark is made light.
Wednesday March 19th marked 6 months of dark days for my family. 24 weeks of maneuvering through grief, 183 days of tear-filled nights, 4,392 hours of heartache, and a forever repeating mantra of reminding myself to place one foot in front of the other, breathe, and to survive. Though I have experienced this pain, I have also found comfort in the fact that on this journey I have found the light in EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have experienced 6 months of support from amazing friends and family, 24 weeks of constant prayer, 183 days of hugs and kisses from my children, 4,392 hours of never giving up and a forever repeating mantra of turning towards my faith and creating a home of light and hope. Some days the light is brighter than others and sometimes when the light tries to hit me I would prefer to sit still in the dark. But even in the darkest of rooms the smallest amount of light can still be seen. I have learned every moment the counting clock of my life includes the grief of our loss AND simultaneously the love and blessings of God. Which is a wonderful and beautiful thing! That grief and happiness can co-exist if I allow it to. Despite all the bad things I’ve experienced, Aaron’s death has forced me to learn how to deal with tragedy. Through the light of Christ, I feel confident that no matter what tragedies I will face in the future, no matter how extreme they will be, I will be able to survive them. Aaron is a special man and a true warrior. His life impacted me greatly and my personal growth is a part of his legacy. That brings me great joy. That even in his absence he continues to strengthen me. On those dark, dark days where the light seems so far away, I remind myself that each new day is another day survived and one day closer to meeting him again. Until then my house and I will serve the Lord, awaiting the moment Aaron and I will reunite and reminisce on our earthly life. What a glorious and BRIGHT day that will be. I imagine that he will take me into a warm embrace and whisper,” I knew you would survive, and look who you have become” So, here’s to 6 months survived and only a lifetime to go.