mourning

  • Feb 17, 2011

At first, as my sister described it, there was so much blood everywhere that we couldn’t find the wound.

But now, as we’ve stripped away the layers, wiped clean cloths across our hearts and found the center of the vast, jagged hurt; I am trying, aching, pleading with God to help me heal. But every day or two, just when I feel like I’m getting better, something tears the fragile sutures wide open.

How much can a heart take? I try. I look at my beautiful husband and children and I count my blessings every day, but sometimes I’m afraid my heart will simply give out from the pain.

Mourning, I’ve been told, is talking about something ad nauseam– discussing it over and over and over until some sort of clarity begins to form.

Most people– Christian or not– take seriously the injunction to “mourn with those who mourn, comfort those in need of comfort,” but as an insightful commenter on Segullah recently noted, as humans we usually want to skip over the mourning and go right to the comforting. We encourage people to train for a marathon before their shattered bones have a chance to heal. It’s so easy to look at other people’s agony and dismiss it.

I believe it takes a distinct sort of spiritual discernment to truly mourn with those who mourn and I’ve been blessed to have good people wrap their arms around me– Erik, my incomparable sister, my children, incredible friends, my brothers. I asked for the prayers of my ward council last December and one sweet older man broke into sobs– “You can’t bear this alone. No one can shoulder this alone.”

Our story is so unusual, with so many Shakespearean twists, that I know it sounds unbelievable in the telling (and that is part of why I don’t share it here). And so I especially appreciate those who simply love me and pray for me.

And I wonder, about hurts and tragedies that people have shared with me in the past. Have I dismissed them? Have I judged them? Have I walked away from a conversation thinking—“they just need to buck up and deal with it”? I’m sure I have.

As patient as my friends and family have been with me, I know they are weary of my mourning. I discipline myself to keep the subject out of daily conversation, to avoid slipping into self-pity. Of course they are tired of it– I am tired of it!– and I wish I could suffer a bit of selective amnesia or steal a spell from Dumbledore to obliviate the whole wretched mess from my mind.

But easy outs are never healing. We must walk (or stumble or crawl) through the pain of life.

One image stays with me– my mother fighting death on that last long rainy night– shaking her head, gripping my hand, writhing with pain. She would have endured months or years of wrenching agony just to be with us a bit longer. And there’s a sweetness in that— she didn’t want to leave us.

She is with me still– nurturing, protecting, crying for me and urging my heart to keep beating, to go on.

February 15, 2011
February 18, 2011

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22 Comments

  1. Reply

    house of 7

    February 17, 2011

    …and your blogging community. there are reasons we are directed to certain sites, even having no connection to the person or thing. however, once we are here, once we make your acquaintance, we get sucked in to your life, we admire and we are pretty much here forever.

    i don’t know what your troubles are, but my heart is here for the lending. if ever you should need it.

    god bless you! and your household. many prayers and thoughts sent your way.

  2. Reply

    Linn

    February 17, 2011

    I love you.

    I’m praying for you.

  3. Reply

    Kate

    February 17, 2011

    Thank you… I needed to hear this. One of the biggest tragedies in life is that we don’t trust others with our grief and pain… and then we have to bear it alone. I pray for you and know that you are not alone in your grief and pain…

  4. Reply

    The Planet Pink

    February 17, 2011

    You don’t have to bear it alone. Prayers and incomparable comfort to you my friend.

  5. Reply

    cristie

    February 18, 2011

    i too will call to Him who is eager to save. help will ever come sweet dear. xox

  6. Reply

    Kerri

    February 18, 2011

    The path of mourning is not an easy trail. I am thankful that you’ve allowed us to share some of the pain with you…it makes it easier to allow myself to mourn when I know I’m not alone in the length of my grief.

    You have been in my prayers so many times. If you need a new listening ear, mine is ready. After the summer, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about my grief…that the “appropriate time” had passed. And yet I still needed to talk, to think, to heal. Anytime someone allowed me that generous gift of listening I was (and still am) grateful.

    I think the temple is still a great idea. I could even do Tuesday (I think the sacrifice of practice time for temple time is a good one. I could use the peace.)

  7. Reply

    Blue

    February 18, 2011

    That description, of so much blood everywhere that you can’t find the wound, is PERFECT. And the “talking about something ad nauseam–discussing it over and over and over until some sort of clarity begins to form.”…no one explained to me that that was why I did all that talking! Why I was almost compelled to tell my story over and over. Until it was done. Until there were no more tears in the telling. Till a kind of peace entered into the space that had, for four score years, been occupied with strangulating hurt. There is some comfort in understanding what is happening, and why.

    Perhaps it’s only after we’ve cried enough salty tears to completely purify the wound that it can finally start to heal…and there is no shortcut to be had except for letting that pain out. It just takes time and work.

    I’m grateful for those who were so patient with me all those healing years. And I’m grateful for your beautiful example of strength and light, even while the flurry of pain and hurt do their dizzying dance around you, inside you.

    You just take as much time as you need, and be gentle with yourself! Those three words were almost a mantra for me at times. You probably feel a lot of guilt and regret about things you can’t/didn’t do. But healing trumps those “should haves”. And you’re still doing so much in the process (which is part of the healing, as it turns out). Raising your family, writing, capturing beauty through the lens of your camera, sharing so much of yourself with others, so they know they aren’t the only ones.

    You’re a creature of beauty, Michelle! I ♥ you!

  8. Reply

    Blue

    February 18, 2011

    (oops, make that two score! Yikes!)

  9. Reply

    Tracy

    February 18, 2011

    You know I am here and praying for you and with you. I love you.
    xoxo

  10. Reply

    Cath

    February 18, 2011

    “She is with me still– nurturing, protecting, crying for me and urging my heart to keep beating, to go on.”

    Fasten your heart on this. Continue to mourn. Lean on those who love you. I agree with house of 7 – “we are pretty much here forever.”

    Here for you dear friend.

  11. Reply

    Cath

    February 18, 2011

    One more thought. It just took me a minute to find it.

    “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” – Shakespeare (Malcolm in Macbeth)

    Lest your heart break beyond mending.

    Keep writing.

    love you.

  12. Reply

    Lizzy

    February 18, 2011

    You’ve piqued my interest.

  13. Reply

    Jeanelle

    February 18, 2011

    Oh how I love you and continue to pray for you. I so wish there was more I could do for you. Xoxo

  14. Reply

    Lisa

    February 18, 2011

    Sweet Michelle…my heart is swollen with pain and bursting with love as you speak of your mourning. Take it from me (by now I’m the queen of this), there is no other way through. You simply just have to plow your way exactly like you are. There are no rules…no time frame…no right or wrong way to tackle this thing.

    I have found this to be the jumping off point for a few friends and family, some relationships just didn’t survive as my mourning continued…and that’s OK. Those authentic souls that adore you will always be there.

    I truly appreciate you pouring out your raw emotions. Your posts are real and beautiful…I crave that.

    I pray for you, mourn with you, and am here for you always.

  15. Reply

    Brooke

    February 18, 2011

    i’m with blue: so that’s why i’m always talking!

    i love you. i think about you lots and pray for you too.

  16. Reply

    Kevin Linkous

    February 18, 2011

    Michelle, know this, we are ALWAYS, ALWAYS here for you. No matter the time that passes please feel free and comfortable enough to share your thoughts, feelings, fears, grief and pain with us. We are your family and we love you! No one can understand exactly what is in your heart but we can do our best to suture your broken heart with our love.

  17. Reply

    Rachel

    February 18, 2011

    I am so sorry. I just visited your blog for the first time. tears are stinging my eyes. I cannot imagine the hurt you are feeling, I have never had to grieve the way you are right now, and I am afraid for the day when I do. Keep feeling, praying, and writing. So glad I stumbled upon your blog today.

  18. Reply

    ashli

    February 18, 2011

    love you michelle!

  19. Reply

    Michelle

    February 18, 2011

    Michelle,

    I have never read anything that so accurately describes the pain and journey of mourning.

    As you so often do, while writing from your heart, you spoke right to my soul.

    Whatever your pain, may the path be lightened by all the love that surrounds you.

  20. Reply

    Tifani

    February 18, 2011

    I feel heavy with your pain now. Let me carry some of it for you. ((hug))

  21. Reply

    Life Trekking Mama

    February 20, 2011

    xoxo…

  22. Reply

    Rachelle

    February 21, 2011

    Oh Michelle… sending love your way. Thank you for sharing your innermost feelings. They strike a cord w/your readers. You are precious.

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