What’s left to confront

I haven’t been posting much lately. I don’t know if that’s a concern to anyone, but it is to me. Blogging has helped me process some painful, even tormenting, thoughts. It has pushed me to confront the many ideas competing in my head before any unintentionally take root.

Blogging has helped me begin to heal. And I’m not done healing – far from it. So I can’t stop yet. But it’s been much harder lately.

Over the past six months, I’ve confronted absurd ideas such as: Brody’s death is my fault. I’ve decided I won’t ever try to forget him; our family will embrace his memory as best we can and celebrate the life he did have. Those felt like giant hurdles to overcome at the time.

But now, I’m not just confronting new ideas that have come to me as a result of Brody’s death. Now, I am confronting old ones – beliefs I’ve grown up with – beliefs I share with a massive community. This is a much scarier place.

I wrote a blog post weeks ago about how “the storm” left me with a great deal of uncertainty, even around some of my core beliefs. I didn’t post it. Maybe I’ll go back and post it. I’ll mark it as the date I wrote it so it will appear before this one.

I didn’t post it because, if I am ashamed of anything, it is that Brody’s diagnosis and death might have changed me. Even worse, it might have separated me from my church community in a way.

I’m not certain yet if that is true, but if it is, I don’t want to be ashamed of it. I am not someone who just picks the easy road or who believes whatever idea comes my way. I’ve never been that person and I’m certainly not that person now. I shouldn’t be ashamed to challenge ideas or confront beliefs. In fact, if I am too afraid to question my own beliefs, then how can I contend that I have any faith in them? If I really have faith in what I believe, I should be confident that it will stand up to my questions.

And if I find I have been wrong about something for years, isn’t that a wonderful discovery? It just isn’t wonderful at first – it is terrifying at first.

That is where I’m at on this journey, and I don’t want fear to keep me stuck here. I don’t know what I’ll find up ahead, but I don’t like where I am, so I just have to keep going.

Six Months

Today was a hard day. I woke up, I prepared for a normal day, but it just wasn’t a normal day. The thing is, I didn’t realize what today was when I first woke up. I didn’t go to bed last night thinking about what today would be. Instead, I had this moment when I realized that today was six months since Brody died, and I couldn’t believe it snuck up on me.

I remember when we first lost Brody, I truly thought I would count the days. I expected to wake up every morning and think: today it has been 104 days since Brody died. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to stop counting.

But that was an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. I couldn’t sustain it. I’m glad I didn’t hold myself to that, because it would be wrong to make every day about him.

Still, the fact that I’ve been so distracted with my present life, the fact that I was surprised when I realized we reached this milestone – I just felt like a terrible mother. I felt like I’d betrayed Brody in a way.

I thought of this one mom I know who does something for charity every month on the date of her daughter’s death. Why don’t I do that, too? That’s such a beautiful way to honour your child. I’m just not doing enough. I’m really not doing enough to honour Brody.

Jensen reminded me that Brody is not looking down on us waiting to see what we do for him today. He is not upset with me. He doesn’t question my love. And Jensen’s right, but that only made me feel a bit better. Because it’s just so much more than that. This was an overwhelming day of difficult emotions that I feel like no one in my life could possibly understand.

Finally, I remembered something I learned at Landon’s Legacy Retreat. One of the facilitators did an exercise with us where we shared our fears with another person and that person wrote a compassionate response. It’s remarkable how much more compassionate we can be when faced with another person’s weakness. It is not easy to be as compassionate with ourselves.

So, I decided to write myself a compassionate response. I decided to try to look at my situation from the outside and consider what I would say to me as a friend.

I think we often have a lot of critical voices in our head; we say things to ourselves that are simply unkind and we create unfair expectations.

When I thought honestly about what I would say to someone else in my situation, I knew I had nothing unkind to say.

It was still a hard day. I still wish I could have made it less about me and more about Brody. But I think I will figure that out in time – even if I’m not counting the days.