Fields Of Life. Ch. 8.
In My Sorrow:
As I pressed on in a state of anguish, grief and bereavement, I began to ask, “Is it really possible for anyone to declare how you should react?
In spite of expectations – how should you compose yourself?
What should be said or done whilst experiencing the moments, days, months and years after the death of a loved one?”
Learning how to play the hand that’s been dealt isn’t easy!
Bringing to mind anniversaries, birthdays and other special events can be very painful.
Walking into a room or venue and seeing or even smelling something, can immediately remind you of an account or event which only you and your loved one held special.
A personal item or article found in the bottom of a draw, a fragrance which only she or he wore. A particular garment, piece of clothing.
Even the location which you at times would go to and meet again and again.
Treasured moments, fondest thoughts, wildest dreams, spontaneous events, great ideas, fantasies and plans.
All compiled to form a diary, an encyclopaedia of emotions, joys, sadness, precious moments, happy memories, even broken dreams – and so on.
Not forgetting the events that accomplished their intended purpose, the triumphs, the successes.
Mixed together with all the ups and downs, the joys and tears, doubts and fears, which gathered together to create a relationship.
“Remember the happy times!” would be the resounding cry from genuine concerned people, family and friends.
With all the concern from those round and about, did you ever feel like shouting or like me prefer to be left quietly to collect your thoughts?
The constant roller-coaster feeling, at times wanting to be alone, other times needing to talk.
But how much do you share?
Many would listen, but would many hear?
Anyhow, it became apparent after a while, the very name of Judith would drive people to a quietness and a very uncomfortable composure.
An uneasy silence spoke!
For-sure, this was a quietness of suppression where words were held back!
One could sense another desperately searching.
A lingering emptiness, in more ways than one!
But, soon afterward, the sudden fidget, monotonous hum or muffled cough would break the absence of sound.
This would make me aware that it was time to move on.
Until now, perhaps for me, it was hard to let go!
It was hard being honest.
I couldn’t bear the fact that Judith would never wear those clothes, read those books or walk through the front door again.
In many ways I needed to hang on to those memories, yet, deep down, I knew it was absolutely essential to pull myself together and plough on.
Each day was triggered by emotion rather than reason, thus, my confidence ebbed and flowed.
It varied greatly from day to day.
My life was pulled back and forth, rather like a rubber-band!
Some days seemed desolate and dark.
The nights were numb with grief.
My daily routine seemed to run on empty.
Often times, it was incredibly difficult to maintain perspective.
Yet in those times of talking about her, the moments, the funniest occasions and events, all of this helped me to keep focused.
Its strange how different people cope, different people react.
Still, one day when sorting through a draw at the bottom of my bed, I stumbled across a musical box which one would place at the end of a babies cot.
It had a cord to pull and when pulled would play a lullaby.
The Brahms lullaby.
Simple little thing, but as I pulled the cord to hear the lullaby, bulbous tears began to roll down my face.
This musical box was part of a collection of baby items which Judith had collected and put safely away.
She was pregnant five times.
She miscarried five times!
Five babies were born into Heaven!
Finding the musical box reminded me not only of Judith – but the painful experiences of loosing so many, so much.
The first baby we called “Nathaniel,” the second “Christopher-Rhys.”
The simple musical box would bring back memories of miscarriages and Judith’s desired to be a mother.
For some reason, not sure, we did not name the third, fourth and fifth.
Perhaps it became too painful.
The experience of losing a loved one at any stage is agonising enough, but loss at an early stage of development is generally not acknowledged or talked about.
Yet whether our babies took in and expelled air or not, they were still our children!
It wasn’t easy.
If nothing else, I knew that walking with God along the Christian pathway was not an exemption from personal tragedy and feelings of deep sadness!
Nevertheless, this didn’t make it any easier to accept!
But as I tried to be sure-footed, I gradually gained assurance by letting God lead, despite the fact that the journey was steep and rough!
The day after the fatal car crash – Judith and I were due to meet with an officer from a fostering & adoption agency – with view to fostering, maybe adopting a child.
We had already completed a fostering pre approval course with the local authority – but after being made aware of potential obstacles that could emerge on account of my blindness – we decided to try a different avenue.
But evidently, due to my sudden state of uncertainty, the road ahead was in doubt.
Consequently, the appointment with the adoption agency was cancelled!
I found myself alone.
So how did I cope?
I could have stubbornly decided to stay exactly where I was and not move forwards, or even worse go backwards in my faith life, because the future was uncertain.
Yes, there were many times in my life when I could have just sat there and let life pass me by.
Many times I could have simply given up.
Loosing my eye sight and kidney failure did not help!
Judith’s operation back in the first year of our marriage could have resulted in both of us giving up.
After-all, it was the pituitary gland operation which was the cause of so many miscarriages.
Just a portion of these events could cause anyone to blame God.
Here I am now only age 30 and added to this I’ve just lost my wife.
My dearly loved had been relocated!
Yet through all of this and more, I found the purpose to press on.
The courage to move forward.
Some may ask, “Well how did you do it?”
Having a loving Christian family around me played its part.
Other Christian friends played their part too.
A word of comfort.
A consoling thought.
A message of encouragement.
A re-assuring hand on my shoulder.
A hug, squeezed with affection.
A gentle truth.
A telephone chat providing emotional support.
An attentive – listening ear.
A friendly, neighbourly knock at the door.
Even a hearty meal shared with friends.
So much love – wrapped in care.
Every act of kindness dispelled the shadows in the cloudy days.
To some great extent, rather like a shining light guiding me in my darkest hour.
Through it all though, I am convinced that my strong faith in God, His Word, and the prayers of many have brought me to where I am today.
At the end of the day, the provision of His love for me was not dependant on my circumstances.
Sure-enough, God could deal with my anger, doubt, fear, questions, grief, and even my complaints.
Yes, there were questions and fears, after a long season of acting brave.
But, although I was hurting, I never stopped trusting Him!
Oh-yes, the questions may have been many, but really I know and trust in someone who has all the answers.
I know the One who created life.
I know the One who blesses my life, and I know the One who holds my life together.
Many years later, moments still arise which cause me to remember.
But – no matter what , the knowledge of His love and His purpose for me has been a driving force.
Unintentionally – as I came through this time of sadness, I returned to my first love of music.
Seven months after Judith’s death, I found myself sitting at my keyboard.
There, as I fumbled through some chords, suddenly a brand new succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence appeared:
“New Every Morning.”
Many months had whizzed by since I had composed a song.
Yet, in the midst of my sorrow, something new was birthed.
Who knew then, that this song would be my signature tune?
And I’m so thankful.
Indeed, He reminds us: I know what I’m doing.
I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
He gave me grace to get through what I was going through.
And, to think that He was walking there, right beside me, through every experience!
Yes, that’s right!
The intangible God became tangible!
In the midst of my sorrow, along came the God of hope saying, “I still have a plan for you.
It’s not over till I say so.
I’m going to turn things around for you.
Your best days are ahead.”
So, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in You.
New Living Translation.