LIKE BONES

A few mornings ago I was drinking a cup of tea while I was scrolling through Facebook. My feed is filled with positive and uplifting posts that make me smile, most of the time. Once in a while, a post will hit me the wrong way and send me reeling. This particular post wasn’t negative or offensive in any way. Quite the opposite. A lovely photo of a woman, I know, and her grandchild. My friend’s words were simple, sweet, and hit me like a gut punch.

Before I started to write this particular blog, I asked her if it was alright to use her words to share my reaction. And, the why for my reaction. She graciously said yes. So, here it is. My ugly truth.

I don’t remember her words, verbatim, but they were something along the lines of God always knowing what she needs and providing her with what she needs when she needs it. Again, I haven’t gone back to look at the post because it hurt to read those words. I hope I am somewhat accurate. But, I guess, what I interpreted is more important than what she wrote if I am to convey my reaction.

Most often, when I write the word god, I don’t capitalize it. To me, the capitalization of the name gives it a Christian feel and I am not “down with” what I see Christianity standing for in many cases. A capital G is a sign of respect for those who believe in the Christian Faith, which I both understand and respect, but it’s not what I feel. In the paragraph above, I did use the uppercase letter because I care for and respect my friend and her deep beliefs. I felt this was important to explain.

Upon seeing the beautiful child’s face in my friend’s post, and reading the words, I thought: bullshit. Horrible reaction, right? Believe me, I know. I think it’s pretty bad, too. But, let me explain . . . I imagine though, to other grieving moms, no explanation is needed.

God doesn’t always give us what we need. Period. No “but He . . . “ or “He will . . .” just NO. The saying: If He brings you to it . . . He’ll bring you through it is ridiculous to a mother who’s fallen to her knees in despair so often she has permanent bruises.

I do want to say I know a few grieving moms who are devout and have a completely different outlook about this subject than I do. And, in truth, I am happy they have their religious beliefs to get them through. But, I don’t and this is my blog and I have to write what is in my heart, head, and soul.

No. god doesn’t always know what you need and give it to you. I needed my daughter to survive the crash that killed her. I need someone somewhere to figure out what a horrific mistake it was that she was taken and give her back to me. I need Stacey to have her daughter Mckenna, her only child, back with her. Patty needs her son, David, to come home from overseas. Mandy needs Megan to be in her thirties now . . . not forever 6 months old. Brookelynn needs to be running around playing soccer with Tonya cheering for her from the sidelines. My friend Amanda needs her son, Caleb, back so he can be a big brother to her Gabe.

We need our children. The children who should not have died. Our hearts need to be mended and the only thing that will ever heal them completely is to hold our child in our arms again.

I read my friend’s words and considered them for a few hours. As I struggled with why I was upset at such a beautiful display of love and faith . . . these words formed in my thoughts:

“I will listen to your godly words – I will roll them around in examination before I swallow them – then, as a snake would, I will expel the ones that don’t connect to my soul – like bones.”

There are parts of Christianity I do believe in, aspects I find beautiful, but there are others that I struggle with deeply. So much so, I don’t call myself a Christian. I think to do so would be disrespectful to those who truly are. So, I am not sure where I fit in.

I feel as if it is easier for those who have not suffered the loss of a child to believe more completely. Yet, I know there are others who have lost much more than I who have a deep belief as well. I mean, what do I say to the grieving mom who believes god had a plan for her child? You don’t understand? How can I say that to her . . . when she does, when she has buried one of hers, too?

There are numerous aspects of child loss that we have to work through, that we struggle with. Religious beliefs, spiritual beliefs are a huge aspect of the entire process, I think, for most of us. I have to believe that even the most devout have had their doubts, too.

I’m a work in progress. Much of what I was before my daughter was killed has been demolished. Broken beyond repair. But, I am rebuilding myself a little each day. Struggling with faith is a part of the process. And, sometimes, something we see will cause us to dive headfirst into the abyss.

I guess it’s how we learn. I am thankful for the opportunity to grow.

Now, back to examining the bones.

I'm a mother, artist, and writer. A decade ago I lost my daughter. I find writing, and painting, heal me. Sharing my story of loss and healing lightens what I carry. And, hopefully, my words help another along the way.

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