July 19, 2016

survival

“Mama, I need you!”

I walked back to my bedroom where my little boy was laying in my bed, trying unsuccessfully to fall asleep. Those bright blue eyes looked up at me and I sat down next to him.

Earlier we had talked about the sheets we just put on my bed. It was all I could do to make it sound like a happy thing to put these sheets on the bed.

Todd had slept in them.

Just a couple nights, on the blow-up mattress when he was staying with his parents while the kids and I headed out to Washington for chemo treatments. 

He had shoved them back in the cloth bag and they were forgotten.

Until now.

I had covered Sam up and told him to smell deeply. I told him that these were Papa’s sheets and sleeping in them was like sleeping next to Papa.

“Mama,” he said again.
“What sweet boy?”
“I feel like Papa is dead. Can you lay with me?”

Sob.

It’s the little things in our broken lives that remind us how acutely we feel his death.

The skinned knees. Standing at the sink without him hugging me from behind. Riding bikes. Lazy Sunday mornings. The deep void next to me as I sleep…

We live in a different world all of a sudden. A different life. What was meant to be a a temporary stop - Tennessee - has turned into home. What was meant to be our dream - living in the Guyana jungles - is nothing more than a distant memory.

It was never about surviving.

Every time we sat down to talk about our lives in the jungle, or any time anyone else would talk to us about our lives there - we always knew what we would need to survive.

But we didn’t want to go to the jungle to survive. What blessing is there in surviving? We wanted to thrive there.

Now, I’d be happy with surviving.

This is it. This is my life. It’s not the jungle. It’s not with my husband. It’s not what I had signed up for.

There’s a common theme among married people these days - people don’t really mean their wedding vows. I’m not sure I did either, truthfully.

Till death do us part.

Like that’s when the love stops.

Death did part us. But the love didn’t stop.

Sigh.

I don’t want to survive in life. I want to thrive. I want my kids to thrive. I want us to not count cold cereal as a supper meal three consecutive nights in a row. I want us to be able to lay in bed together at night and talk and laugh instead of being so exhausted that I barely tuck them in.

I want us to stop feeling death.

I want us to not feel broken.

I want us to find a new dream.

The shock has worn off. I don’t walk around in disbelief anymore. A semblance of acceptance has crept over our home and we’re starting to eat more vegetables and less frozen waffles.

I often find myself remembering our other life and feeling apathetic over this life. I wonder if someday that spark that we used to have will find us again.

“I feel like Papa is dead. Can you lay with me?”
I looked into those hurting eyes. “I feel like Papa is dead too.”
“I’m really sad that Papa died.”
“I know, sweet thing. So am I. Close your eyes. Ok, Can you see Papa?”
He shook his head no.
“Try to see Papa’s face. It’s smiling at you.”
“I see him!” His eyes were clamped shut but they smiled. “He’s picking me up and giving me a hug!”
“That’s right! Do you hear what he’s whispering in your ear?”
He shook his head no again.
I leaned over and whispered in his ear. “He’s saying, I love you, Samuel. I love you so much!”

And he fell asleep with a smile.

Oh, to dream.

10 comments:

Christy Ziesmer said...

My heart is breaking for your and your precious family right now. I don't know you, but want you to know you and your family have been heavy in my heart and in my prayers.

Christy Ziesmer said...

My heart is breaking for your and your precious family right now. I don't know you, but want you to know you and your family have been heavy in my heart and in my prayers.

Abells Wife said...

Oh Cas, grab Jesus and hold on tight. He promises to be the father to the fatherless and the husband to the widow. And he'll hold you! I know- he held me for two years while my husband was in a war zone. Do things, go places, read stories and take pictures. It's part of the process and you will be able to look back someday and say -" we did more than survive, we were tried in the fire and came out as pure gold" - Sarah

Storie said...

Thank you for your honesty. Grief honesty is rare. But it is so helpful to others who grieve...to read your honest grief. Because your grief is so wrapped up in your faith. Thank you for sharing.

Believer said...

Hi Cas. I left a first message today on your initial blog post after the passing of your husband.
You have such a gift a writing and transmitting where you are at, with such honesty. May God honor that honesty. And touch hearts to REAL COMPASSION. Not just a pat on the back and cliche's words while you have to carry your own heavy back pack.
The world has enter in its most dark and solemn hour. And one way or another I believe we will endure the anguish that Jacob experienced. We are being or will be tested to the max. In His mercy He is teaching us ALL lessons on dependence at an accelerated pace.
May we learn to trust Him to the utmost.
Pain helps us understand others souls sorrows in a new dimension. May the same God that promised in Isaiah 43:1-3
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,(Cas)
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
==I will be with you==;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Fulfill this promise at this hour of sorrow and need in your life.
He is Faithful.
How could I help you ??? What are your needs dear sister ???
Will be uplifting you and your sons in prayers.
SHALOM.

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Asifur Rahman said...

nice

Julie Smith said...

This is such a good narration on marriage and survival. I felt just like you the very first time I engaged a survival situation, but it all gets better by acquiring more knowledge and skills on survival. Read more on survival needs here: http://survival-mastery.com/med/human-body/survival-needs.html

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