"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coming home...

As we neared Calgary yesterday, we found ourselves feeling heavier and sadder.  We both wanted to be at home and we dreaded being here at the same time. And then to walk into our home...our empty home.  Oh Rachel - I wish so much that I could see you sitting in your blue chair and watch you thump your legs up and down while you watched us unpack.   I think I alternated between crying and steeling myself to do what had to be done all evening. It hurt so much to feel the emptiness, to see the feet and hand molds in the kitchen - to walk into the office where she died - to see her basinet and the things we still couldn't bear to part with.  We had already thrown away the last of her milk, the prune juice, packed up her baby food, some of her diapers, threw her clothes into the box in the kid's closet, and each of these tasks a bitterly painful one.  I remembered that one of her dirty bibs had fallen behind the chest freezer when I did laundry the morning she died.  Dave had to dig it out before we left for Manitoba.  Sometimes it is so hard to believe.....is Rachel really gone? I can't pick her up and hold her again?  I know the time is coming when I will but it seems like an eternity away.    

A dear friend of mine wrote what her 'coming home' was like.  I couldn't read it last night because it hurt so very much.  But I read it this morning.  I hope it's ok if I share it here.  It helps me to understand her journey a little better now, having had to walk into our home last night.  And I can relate to her feelings - of relief at finally finding some sleep, and the jolt of remembering when I wake up.  I am comforted to know that this will not last forever too - that this grief will change too.    
Little Bits of Grief

This morning we (all four of us) walked Ethan to Kindergarten.  He's missed a few days and he will likely miss a lot more days between now and January.  The school is very understanding and after all, it is just kindergarten.  I think it will be good for Ethan to go for awhile though.  But it was hard to wait in the playground for the line-up and even harder to see one of the moms I know from playschool look at me, even wave, but not even try to come ask me about Rachel.  I know they want to know where she is, but they are afraid to ask me themselves. And then to walk home with Abigail who was so sad about not getting to go with her brother.  I am so thankful for these two children of ours who keep us moving with their own needs, and laughing at their antics....but our family seems so small now.  

I started reading one of Dave's books on the trip home.   It's called "Yearning - Living Between How it is and How it Ought to be" by M.Craig Barnes.  Do you know it? I really liked what I read.  I found his raw honesty so comforting.  Here's a bit that caught my attention...

"Grace can be demanding. As a pastor, I am struck by how seldom we recognize grace when it shows up.  That is usually because it rides into our lives upon a vehicle that will take us to places we'd rather not go.  We are sure it will lead us to our death.  Turns out it is the way to salvation. By definition, grace is a gift.  As Dietrech Bonhoeffer reminds us, however, it is not a cheap gift.  Once it has hold of our life, it is relentless in it's demand that everything be changed.  It was the call of God's grace that led Abraham and Sarah away from their home toward the promise of a new land.  it was grace that invited the disciples to drop their nets and follow Jesus, and it was grace that knocked Paul off the course of his effort to become a great Pharisee.  Certainly no one in Scripture earned grace.  It seems that nobody even asked for it.  It did save their lives, but that salvation never looked like what they'd had in mind....."

10 comments:

Kathy and Carl said...

My heart aches for you Kendra and the painful chapter you are entering into. Life without Rachel is so hard, I can't even imagine. Praying that you can find moments to grieve and to heal and to remember.

Carol Taves said...

I was praying for you this morning as I walked the dog - strength to face the grief today brings and comfort for your mind, body and soul.

Anonymous said...

Yep -- Craig Barnes tells it like it is. It is one of my favourite books. Didn't know you hadn't read it yet. Corey introduced us to it years ago in one of his Viewpoints classes.
I can only imagine how hard it was to walk into your house full of all the reminders of the very recent presence of Rachel. I'm amazed at how much this grief is taking out of me, and yet I know it is only a very small fraction of what you are experiencing. Love you, keeping you in my heart and in my prayers. MOM

Anonymous said...

Oh how my heart bleeds for you & your family. May peace find you in the difficult days ahead. Many prayers...

Valerie Ruth said...

today was my first day back at work and all of my colleagues asked about you. i told them i thought it would get harder yet as you returned to your empty-er home. all our love and prayers.

fawne said...

Kendra...I'm so glad you're still blogging. I think it will be healing to you even if it's painful. Even if you can't write on here at least write...you will be thankful later on.
You all have been much in my thoughts and prayers.

I know it's hard when people don't talk to you about your child passing away....I think they just don't know what to say and they think it's better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing.

We love you guys.

Anonymous said...

You guys are sooooo much in my thoughts....L-lew

Carlana said...

Your description and Fawne's posting give us glimpse into the painful days that you are experiencing. Thanks for continuing to share your heart with us. Thinking and praying for you lots.
P.S. Happy 4th Birthday to Abigail! I was thinking of her yesterday. Wow, Ethan is in Kindergarten! I can't believe it started in the middle of August. Hope he enjoys it!

Anonymous said...

No words seem good enough right now and as a poster said above, its hard to know what to say to offer comfort for such a great loss. I'm so sorry she grew her wings so young.

I don't recall how I ended up on your blog in the first place but I've been silently rooting for your family for a while now although we've never met nor have any connections (although I am from Manitoba so likely we are related somehow!). It has been inspiring and heartbreaking to hear all that your family has gone through and is going through and the way you persevered when your plate was overflowing. You are a GREAT mom!

We knew a family through our old nursery who lost their precious son 3 years ago at a very young age and his mom blogged her journey as well. I thought you might find *some* comfort in reading her story. http://hendriksjourney.blogspot.com/


Andrea

Kathy D. said...

Hi Dave and Kendra,
Love and prayers as you walk this sad path. I wonder if it does feel a bit lonely at times as well (vis a vis your comment about the mom at the playground)? I am sorry for the pain that caused you.

Maybe we wait for the bereaved to give us direction as to how we should go -- act, speak, around them. That may be wrong. Yet we may be leery of putting a wrong foot forward during such a sensitive time. Sometimes it feels like all we can do is pray and yet it doesn't feel like enough.

Kendra and Dave, there are no words. our prayers continue. hugs, Kathy