The Royal Wedding between Meghan and Harry occurred while we were on our cruise. We’d just left Gibraltar, a UK territory, and felt like it was duty to watch.
After the wedding was over the couple was driving down the street, waving.
Here was this American actress becoming a British Duchess.
I thought, “She must be wondering, How is this my life?”
It made me pause. I thought that question so many times over the last seven months. Not in a positive, excited way, like Meghan.
In a sad, how is it possible my daughter is gone, sort of way.
Seven months isn’t long. But it’s also VERY long.
It’s long enough to forget that there was another way to feel about that question. “How is this my life?”
I miss the feeling of being content and happy with life.
Will that ever come back?
6 thoughts on “How is this My Life?”
Thank you Stephanie for giving us an opportunity to share our understanding and learning of grief, as well as to be taught about his important emotion in the months and years ahead.
The profound depths of grief that I fell to, have made it so I will never question another’s grief, even if I cannot relate it to my own experiences. Nor will I ever again question if someone is feeling grief even though the loss might not be through death. Grief can only be understood by the person whose eyes are seeing and ears are hearing their own lives in front of them every new day.
I am sorrowful and ashamed that in the 30+ years of ministering I never completely focused on the grief (profound distress) that someone felt unless it was associated to the passing of someone close to them. Grief can be found in all sorts of losses. I was too childlike in my understanding of grief to acknowledge that grief can be an important track on the way to healing and accepting the relief that Christ has planned for us.
To better understand what I am referring to, I have included some examples (similar situations played out multiple times) of grief that I missed in my ministering:
1. A father unexpectedly leaves the State with his young daughter. A few months later in the middle of the night he drops her off, now pregnant, at the house eluding us and staying ahead of the police. We ministered to her; counseled her with her options, provided prenatal care, and did all we could to fix a broken family. It is said that Christ can heal all wounds. I believe that, but I have come to understand that the individual has to be in a place to accept and understand that relationship. What I missed was her grieving for the loss of trust in a father, the title of which would mean admiration and trust in so many other families. If she cannot trust her father which she can see, how can she trust the Father whom she cannot see.
2. A girl who shows up at Church pregnant, and uninformed parents of children in her class begin clamoring for her expulsion from Young Women, or telling their children to ignore her and not befriend her any longer. I did my best to shield such girls from such harmful words and actions. We worked with the parents and the young woman to come to the best decision for the unborn child, the family, and the young woman. But what I completely missed, and what was not directly addressed was the grief the young girl felt from a childhood lost, and from the loss of life time friendships.
3. A family that spends beyond their means or faces an economic tragedy, completely out of their control. I would spend time with them building budgets, making certain there was food in the cupboards, and overcoming major expenses. What I completely missed is the grief that someone feels when they have lost their sense of security in a home which is now more a point of contention than a place of peace or refuge, and when they lose faith in themselves and their married partner to make sound decisions that will protect their family.
My experience with the grief that I am encountering started with three questions:
1. Can I survive this distress? Is my head just going to blow up (like the Martians in Mars Attacks) because of the tonal frequency of the words I am hearing; “Rory Is being intubated”, “Rory is not responding”, “they revived Rory for a moment”. Is my broken heart just going to stop with this distress, those answers were fortunately never up to me they were left in God’s hands.
I did not deserve to survive Rory. I was absent when my father, his body riddled with Cancer, collapsed on the Arizona sidewalk and my mother and sister were not strong enough to lift him from the burning concrete, God has given me the strength of Samson when needed, but I was not there to return to him the kindness he showed me as a baby and toddler. I was away when my daughter Samantha was fighting for her life when prematurely delivering Elliott when he was born. I was away when my sweet baby Rory was drawing her last breath. They all deserved better from me and I did not deliver.
2. Do I want to survive this? Dolores from the Cranberries sings “I’m free to decide, I’m free to decide” and I came to the conclusion (for the sake of the living) like she said “And I’m not so suicidal after all, at all, at all, at all”.
3. Can I actually bear the accumulating grief? My Aunt Pat, my Father, Selina’s mother, my Mother, my cherished Uncle Bud, Rory… with every loss it is like there is a huge hole ripped out of my heart, with every loss there is a growing loss of a sense of safety, with every loss there is a loss of experience and love I will never know with them again on this earth. While it is very selfish and not sustainable, I began to think that maybe if I act out an unforgivable sin then my family will rightly remove me from their lives and I will not feel the pain any longer. Which of course cannot work as the pain will be immediate and final.
This experience has left me to understand that grief can either destroy or be a significant part of saving a grieving person. In my case it is requiring patience to better understand the nature of the Father, and wait for Him to teach me why, in His Benevolence, He has created a plan that does not follow the normal conventions of compassion and love that we would regularly teach one another in a polite society.
I have received a special sign from Rory to let me know she is twirling between heaven and earth, in part for my benefit, and that I should be patient for that answer.
I, too, have thought of different reasons and ways of grieving. All are valid and painful.
I don’t think I truly understood the depths of mourning until Rory passed away. I knew loss, but not this.
I have no doubt she visits us. But it’s not just for us. She loves and misses us too.
It does come back. Not necessarily in full the way it did before she died, because you’ll always have that hole. It does take a long time, but slowly, it does come. At first I didn’t want it to, because I didn’t want to feel content without my baby with me. But, I got to a point where I realized it was ok. That it wasn’t that I was content without her but that I was able to get to the point where I was content with where she was for the time being. That she’s still very much a part of me, a part of our family’s lives, just in a different way. She would want me to be happy and content and continue to live life for me and everyone else around me. Yes, it does come, it’s just different.
It’s really hard to imagine at this point. Thank you so much for your words. 💜
If that exact same feeling doesn’t come back, then I hope there is something that can come and tip the scales in that direction. I know in my heart that God never cheats anyone, but I have to be honest that it sure feels like it sometimes. This is one of those times when I want to be angry, but I need to have hope. I’m learning to hope. For myself, but more especially for you.
I do get angry sometimes. But I have to hope. It’s all I have.