This was a journey that I was on, one of HIS teachings that I was focusing on when I lost Seth. However, after Seth died, loving people, especially difficult people was the furthest thing from my mind, as well in my human thinking, my raw, shattered, broken heart couldn't have cared less about how other people felt, as all I knew was the agony I was in, the pain I had endured, the trauma I suffered in finding my son's lifeless body. To be honest, anything less horrific than that didn't even get a glance from me, as suddenly someone saying it was their worst day ever made me cry, sob, as they had no idea of just how much worse it could be. Especially when it had something to do with materials things of this world.
My loving compassionate, kind, comforting heart was broken, and in my eyes beyond repair. I remember being in a daze when I would dare to venture out of my home, never for more than an hour, and I felt like everywhere I went I was exposed. Like people could see that my heart had been ripped out of my chest, and that is why there is this massive gaping hole in me. I fell apart nearly every place I went to. One moment in particular was a month after Seth's death I needed a new winter coat. I went to the mall with my daughters, and found a coat I liked. They didn't want to wait in line with me anymore, and wanted to go to the next store over, so I told them I would meet them there, as I was next in line anyways. When the cashier rang up my coat, and told me the total, I burst into tears, raw, sorrowful tears. Unable to stop them, as that early in my journey I had yet to understand how to swallow my tears. The sweet cashier asked me if I was okay??? Little did she know that was a loaded question for me, and right there in front of a crowd of people I fell apart, cried out that my son died, I didn't even want to be there, and I need this stupid winter coat, and I still can't believe it, and well you get the picture. She looked at me, and said, "oh my GOD how are you even still alive? I would have died if I lost my child.... I wouldn't have ever gotten out of bed, and why are you even here? Maybe you should go home and send someone else out to do things for you." It was in that moment that my raw, excruciating pain started to lose my heart for people.
For months after Seth's death I struggled to maintain any type of conversation. Each one always led back to him dying, what it was like seeing him, finding him lifeless, the sounds, the events of that day unfolding over and over like the worst most horrific gift to unwrap every single day. Seth's death consumed me, the unfairness, the shock, the horror, my heart being ripped from my chest, what my children went through, what my husband went through. The investigation, the detectives, the questions, the gossip about our family that we must be hiding something as why weren't we sharing how he died. The waiting, oh the waiting, 25 weeks worth of waiting... all to hear it was complications of pneumonia, and bronchitis, when he had only been sick a total of 6 hours that day. All to be revealed that he had this rare form of lung disease that was only found during the autopsy. The grief over my baby, my boy having an autopsy.
The sheer horror that on what would have been his 2nd birthday I found myself sitting in a funeral home with my husband,my brother, his wife, my pastor, his wife, my women's ministry leader who was also the leader of pastoral care, and my father in law. When the funeral director brought out the piece of paper to release Seth's body from the medical examiner, seeing his date of death for the first time, my son's name with a dash. Going to the cemetery, the rain pouring over us, the utter disbelief that this was really happening, the anger that was rising up out of me, as how could this possibly be.
Over and over my mind replayed what happened, the words of "he was here until he wasn't, it happened in a blink.... a breaths time, in a moment our lives were forever changed." The sorrow, sadness, anger, pain, agony consumed me. Thoughts of JOY were diminished, and hidden where I didn't even know where to begin to look. People would say to me, "well at some point you just have to choose JOY, you have to choose to be happy, you can't let this keep you from what GOD wants for you." Which would only fuel my hatred for people as didn't they see how much I was hurting, how much I longed to be joyful, how I longed to live an oblivious life again. I wanted my Sethie back, I wanted me back, I wanted my family back, to the way we were, I wanted to start over Oct. 13th 2014, and instead of falling asleep, or putting him to bed, we would have kept him with us. If only.... that was the sob the sorrow of my heart.... if only.....
For months I would sit in his room, smelling his clothes, holding his favorite toys, singing his song, cry, face down on his floor. Hating life, hating GOD, hating me, hating people, until a glimmer of HOPE began to flicker in my vision. HIS JOY, my daughter joy was coming, although we didn't know it was joy, but a new life, and honestly it was a double blessing as it was a new home, for a new life, and a precious new little life to join our family.
When we moved into our new home, I thought "this is it, now I can be joyful, I will be okay, I can start over, a new life, and HE will heal me, and I will be okay." As my pregnancy progressed with Joy the pamphlets started to emerge talking about postpartum depression, and counseling. My doctor's were insistent on me seeing someone, therapy, and medication to help me cope, to deal with life in general. The more they spoke, confronted me the angrier I became as I didn't want this, I didn't do anything to deserve this, and hadn't my losing my son, finding him, wasn't that enough for me to endure? I was angry, I hate everyone and everything, and I struggled to even leave my home.
I stopped attending church shortly after Joy was born, as I couldn't bear to see people, answer their questions, or even just see smiling people. I was on medication at this point, and was still working up to what would be my balance point. For me that was my numbing point. I went from being horrendously depressed, angry, and hateful, to numb.... I loved my family, and our life together, but it was hard, so damn hard. I was done, I was done with suffering, grieving, sadness, all of it I was done.
Yet I had no energy, I couldn't do even the simplest of tasks. Laundry was an overwhelming anxiety filled chore, and my home, well lets just say that for the two years we've lived here not many have entered, and we don't really invite unless you are in our inner circle. I was embarrassed, angry, and bitter that I couldn't take care of my home, my family, myself, and I knew that if I didn't figure out a way to get off the medication I would be stuck. Stuck feeling numb and not caring about what our house looked like, or my life looked like. I knew I needed HIM, and because HE loves me, HE rescued me, and has brought me back into the land of the living with HIS unfailing love.
I have been shore living for almost three months now, and in that time I have created a family wall of pictures that include Seth's. I have hung up his other pictures, and his fedora he wore when he was ten months old in one of our two family pictures. I have helped my husband find our home again, and have begun to put my personal touch in each room, so it's no longer our house, but rather our home. I am sleeping a solid six-eight hours a night, and I'm feeling more alive than I have in the past three years.
None of this was easy, weening off my medication took time, but I knew it was necessary for my healing and recovery. I knew that the only way I would be able to function, to LIVE was to let go, and let HIM, transform, renew, restore, and refine me. I knew that I NEEDED HIM, and I that I could TRUST HIM to do all these things through me, because HE loves me. Slowly my heart for people has returned, my JOY is now bursting out of me much more than sorrow, and my mind is at ease. I can truly sing "It is well with my soul."
Having gone through the past three years, HE is wanting me to know that because of what I've survived, and how I survived, HE is filling me with HIS JOY to share about it, to tell it to the masses, to SHOUT to SCREAM from the rooftops that HE IS MY REDEEMER, my SAVIOR, and HE has RESCUED me. HE has called me to BE HIS LIGHT SHINER FULL OF CONTAGIOUS JOY!!!
HE is wanting me to remember that instead of getting wrapped up in the problems that I face in this world, or that other's share with me, HE is wanting me to be wrapped up in HIS peace, HIS overwhelming peace, that is full of understanding, that reveals an amazing plan, as where HIS peace lies, so does HIS love. HIS love has brought me back from the pit of despair, has filled me with HOPE, and now calls me to live out my life with HIS CONTAGIOUS JOY! I know that it is only through HIM that I am standing on the survivor's shore, SHINING HIS LIGHT, and I know this is HIS gift of VISION, of WISDOM so that I will be able to SEE other's as HE SEES them, especially those whom I find in my human vision.... thinking difficult. HIS great LOVE for me, is what will equip me to love difficult people, as HE loves them, as HE loves me, and the LORD only knows how difficult I can be!
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS,
Friends, I pray today that if you too are struggling with dealing with life, with people, your job, you marriage, what ever is causing you great anxiety, stress, anger, or depression, I pray that you will know that HIS arms are open wide for you to come and receive HIS love, HIS peace, HIS grace, HIS mercy. I pray that you will seek HIM, and allow HIM to comfort you in a way that only HE can comfort you. I pray that when you receive HIS comfort, that you will know that is HIM teaching you, showing you how to live out your life with CONTAGIOUS JOY!
with so much love, compassion, and understanding,
Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,