"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

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Miss Rachel...

So many things remind us of her.  The kids talk about her too.  Lately they have been saying "That reminds me of Rachel" and it's kind of funny when they say it.  We were at Costco and they said it when they saw some flowers, again when they saw spaghetti sauce (I think?), and other odd times. Today Ethan showed me a picture of a butterfly nechlace and suggested that I buy it because doesn't it remind me of Rachel? Sometimes they can't say why these things remind them of her (like the spagetti sauce)....but maybe they just want to talk about her too just like we do. 

Which reminds me, if you meet us somewhere - please please do ask us how we are doing.  (and give us time to answer) We might just answer 'fine' or we might want to say more, depending on the situation or how we feel at the time.  Grief is kind of a confusing experience.  We feel differently all the time. But I would say that OFTEN, our desire is to talk about Rachel.  She might not be here, but we still have so many memories that we want to talk about.  And laugh about because she did bring so much joy into our lives. Sometimes we don't feel quite ready to talk about other stuff yet.  I know that it can be hard for people to know what to ask so I think I am learning to just bring her up without waiting to be asked.  Someone told me the other day that I should just talk about her when I wanted - oh, it felt so good to hear someone say this.  It is so refreshing to be given permission to talk freely and I hope to be able to do this for others.  This is something I have learned from friends who were grieving - I was so glad when they just talked about their loved one whenever they wanted.  Initiating conversations about Rachel doesn't come naturally to me - I would rather wait for you to ask.  But I am learning. 

I was trying to think of questions you could ask me when you're not sure what to say.  Maybe if you see me staring off into space - you could ask me "Do you want to talk about Rachel? and I'll let you know.  I am a pretty open book that way.  I know it can be scary to spend time with people who are hurting.  But the truth is - it means so much more to know that you are interested and that you care (and might say the 'wrong thing') than if you avoid me.  At the same time I am learning that some people have a harder time with this and I am choosing to extend grace because God extends much GRACE to me.  Also, I am not sharing this with anyone in particular in mind so please rest easy.  I only share this with hopes that it will help you know what we need and appreciate right now.  I do hope this helps. 

Something that really suprised me after Rachel was gone - was that I actually wanted to hold other babies.  Even at the memorial services! I thought it would be painful.  And now, truthfully - it is sometimes.  It is so different than holding Rachel - and sometimes it makes me long for her more and it is sad, but sometimes it feels healing too.  So don't be too surprised if I beg to hold your baby. On our first Sunday back to church, I looked across the pews and saw a lady in our church holding her foster baby and I told Dave, "I really need to go hold her.  Can I go?" It felt so right to love this precious little girl, whose mom is unable or doesn't show any interest in caring for her now.  We had both lost someone but her loss seemed so much larger and I felt a connection with her. It might have seemed odd to some people that I did that.  But who can say how grief affects us until we are smack dab in the middle of it?  One day I want to hold a baby, the next I can't bear to see toddlers at the playground. That's how it is I guess.  

By the way, friends of ours gave us a book called "Tear Soup." What a fantastic book!!! I added it to my Book List so if you know someone who is grieving a loss, look this book up.        

I understand how our grief can be awakened by small things- sometimes very surprising things. Yesterday I did a Combat class at the gym.  And if you don't know what it is, there is alot of punching, kicking that sort of thing.  Perfect activity for a pastor's wife don't you think?  I love it - it feels like the perfect kind of exercise for me right now.  But there is this one movement that looks kind of like chopping the air with your palm up and all of a sudden....I had this memory of cradling Rachel's head - and it was almost like I could feel it - the bones in her head, her soft hair...and I had to walk out of the class for a bit.  So often I can't remember what she felt, looked like and then there are these brief moments of remembering...

Thank-you God for all these things, for the absence that reminds me of my longing for home, for the taste of heaven that you have given us so that we will not settle for less, and the invitation to go deeper with you.  I am learning that your blessings do not always appear the way I expect.  Rachel's life was one of those things and I praise you for the way you have used every aspect of this journey to increase our faith.  Because I know firsthand how you brought beauty from the ashes of our broken dreams, I know you can and will do it again.  Help me to have eyes open wide to see it in people around me, in our own story and in theirs.  You promise to make all things new and you are already doing it.  I Praise You!!! I Praise You!! I Praise You!! Thank-you!!

8 comments:

Jennifer said...

I have a friend, who lost both of her girls, within 12 months. They were 3 and 2 when they died from an unknown genetic disorder.

I talk with her every chance I get about her girls. She wants people to acknowledge they lived. To NOT forget them. It hurts, but she says that it also feels amazing to remember that she is a mom. Not that she was, or that people have forgotten she was. But that she IS a mom, whether her girls are here on Earth, or waiting for her in Heaven. They are hers. And she wants to share.

So talk about Rachel. Tell everyone the funny stories, the sad days, and hold her memories close.

Brenda Funk said...

I love it that you take a combat class at the gym. That is perfect. Love you, Mom

Kathy said...

Combat class sounds like a good way to release some stress.
Thank you for telling us your conversational -- and other -- needs here. Also thank you for the book Tear Soup, I have send a link to amazon's website to our friends who lost their son almost 8 weeks ago.
Kathy

Dorea said...

I don't even personally know you, but I am an old friend of Carolyn's, and I found your blog linked on her blog. Thank you for your beautiful, honest, and God-directed writing. I have been and will continue to pray for you and your family.

Kathy and Carl said...

I have a friend who also lost her daughter and she said the same thing that you did. She wants to talk about her daughter, so wants to be reminded that even with the passage of time, people haven't forgotten about her girl. And we won't ever forget about Rachel. Thank you for being so candid with how people can walk alongside you.

paige said...

love this...

Carol Taves said...

Combat class, eh? Just what every wife and mother needs, I'd say. I'm glad you are all (even the kids) talking about Rachel - I think it is healthy for you to make Rachel a natural part of your life and conversation, even though her physical presence is gone from your lives. She will always be part of the fabric of your lives and who and what you have become.
Love you,
Carol

Carlana said...

Yet another amazing post! Thanks for sharing. Love the story about "chopping" at the gym reminding you of Rachel! What a beautiful prayer at the end. Wow, it is such an encouragement seeing how you are allowing God to work in and through you. (and I love, love hearing you talk about Rachel and I can't wait to remember her with you...in person next week!)