Thursday, September 20, 2018

14 years...

Grief is a funny thing sometimes. This year was the first year I wasn't in classes on the anniversary of Michael's death. I thought that was going to make it really hard--I wouldn't have anything to distract me, and usually that means my mind goes into overdrive. The thing is, that didn't really happen.

I have to admit, it felt a little strange when I thought about it. I felt a little guilty, to be honest, because it was almost as if that day came and went without the memory of Michael's death bothering me. And then my thinking changed--maybe it was a good thing. Maybe I was learning how to deal with the loss (after 14 years...I know that may sound crazy, but it really is just a start for me, even after all this time).

So that was a Wednesday.

Sunday rolled around, and I wasn't thinking about anything that had to do with August 15th. It was a normal Sunday morning at church. We started with coffee, breakfast, and doughnuts while everyone sat around and talked about how life is going. I have to tell you, I really love my church family. We are a small group (around 20 people), and that lets us all dig deep into each other's lives. Our mornings start with everyone sitting around the table, just talking about anything and everything that is happening.

Then we moved into our normal routine: somebody reads a Psalm and opens in prayer, we sing, somebody reads a verse that meant something to them during the week, we sing again...

During the first medley we sang, a specific song caught me off guard. It wasn't a sad song--but all of a sudden I was choked up and couldn't sing. What, you may ask, was the song that suddenly ripped my heart up into my throat and made the tears well up in my eyes?

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. I know--a real tear-jerker, right?

The thing is, when we were teenagers sitting in the pew and singing that song, Michael and I would lean against each other (maybe that should say "push against each other with our shoulders but pretend we were just leaning") every time the word "leaning" came up.

So there I was, choked up over a song and the memory it stirred up.

And remember, this is 14 years after the fact.

I'm part of a Gold Star Siblings group on facebook, and the other day someone posted something that broke my heart a bit. She was talking about the loss of her sister, who will be gone for a year this December. Read that again--1 year this December. She was worried because she's still having a hard time dealing with this loss, and the rest of the world seems to think she should be "over it" by now.

Less than 1 year later.

A relationship with a sibling is something no one else really understands...and as a result, the loss of a sibling fits into that same category. It isn't something you "get over," especially in less than a year. My goodness, 14 years later a simple song still brings me to tears (and that's not even talking about the songs I still can't listen to in public). If you've lost someone, please hear me: you don't have to be "over it" in any arbitrary amount of time.

Sometimes, "leaning" can still choke you up 14 years later.

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