Monday, June 21, 2010

I am Learning

Yesterday was Father's Day. I entered the day oblivious to the fact that a sizable emotional trigger lay ahead.

We went to church. I assumed it would be 'safe' with the focus being towards the men. Wrong.

The curve ball came at me right at the beginning of the sermon (titled "Compassion of a Father") when Pastor Randy began by describing the fierce, intense love a mother has her her child as illustrated in Isaiah 49:
"The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me."

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
(verses 14-15)

He continued to describe how a new mother's love is absolutely locked around her baby, that she would do anything, give anything, to ensure he was protected and had what he needed to survive and thrive.

There I was, sitting in the center of the second row in the largest church in our state listening to a perfect description of my heart towards my son. I could not hold back my tears and I wanted terribly to step quietly out of my seat, exit the sanctuary, and find a quiet corner where I could sob.

But with people seated on my left and my right; I was trapped in the second row; leaving inconspicuously was as impossible as leaving quietly.

So there I sat; and fought hard to keep back my tears. And then imagined what would happen if I could get out? I would have my crying-fest and then my day would be set on a course for sadness and emotional exhaustion (I know this routine). Is that the kind of day I wanted? On Father's Day?

This was my husband's day. He is an amazing father to his two adult-children and a more-than-I-could-ever-ask-for-amazing-stepfather to my Daniel. We did not have big plans for the day, but I did not want to ruin it.

I think this was the first time that I could look beyond my emotions and decide that, while I could not fully control them, I would not be ruled by them. Church ended and I forced myself to talk about something else.  We shopped for some cycling gear and then I prepared an authentic Chinese dinner, which Michael gobbled up! The evening went so well.

I think I am learning. My life does not have to be ruled by my grief. There is a time to cry and there is a time to cease from crying. There is a time to shop, cook, eat, and a time to celebrate! Lord, thank you for leading me one step closer to serenity. And thank you for a man that can be a good father for my son.



  1. I am glad that you stepped out of self-pity into a better place. That is really good.

  2. What a wonderful, uplifting post. Thanks for sharing.

    I feel that way about my daughter (my alcoholic), too. Hugs.

  3. Been there, done that. Sitting in church crying because something that was mentioned triggered an immense sadness in me thinking about my daughter. I have learned in the meantime that our addicted kids will live their lives the way they choose whether we sit there crying, sad, desperate, or not. So for the most time I just acknowldge the emotion when it hits me and go on with my life, loving the ones I am with and return my daughter to her storage space in my brain.

  4. So brave to take that big step. Good for you!! It was a huge awakening for me when I realized that all of life wasn't about me and my grief. I wasn't the only one with a child who was lost. When I began looking outward I began to get better.

  5. Good for you!! It's hard when you are trapped in a circumstance and can't escape to blow your pressure valve and let off some steam.... I really prefer when my grief knocks me for a loop when I'm home alone and I can just let fly with the tears and stomp my foot and I've even opened the door and flung something in rage at the back fence! And then, as you say, I deliberately and resolutely change my focus.... for one minute at a time, which grows to more minutes and more time and our "one day at a times" really do add up. We can get better! And we can have a better life overall, by looking outside of our pain, etc.

    It sounds weird, but I turned one of many corners in my ongoing recovery one day when I sat there and realized I had 18 good years with my beautiful daughter. Some parents would kill for that much time, as they sit in hospitals with their little ones.

    Still, I'm greedy and I want more! ;)

    Hugs and prayers!