Hoping to share the love, joy, and grace I have received in my own life.

Grief lesson #362

on August 6, 2016

Ok…I am honestly not sure how many lessons I have learned while working in this sea of grief following Trevor’s death.  I know the list I was once keeping is in a pile of my writing somewhere and was near 100 lessons, but I misplaced it a couple years ago and oh, brothers and sisters, have I learned so many lessons since then!  I have talked with a few people about the change in me over what has now been 4 years, 7 months, and 28 days since Trevor’s physical body left this life.  I think about those changes often.  Yesterday I realized that maybe it isn’t so much that I have changed, but that I have grown.  I just see things differently now. When things happen, big things (well and sometimes even small things) I tend to think about them in two ways…as how I can deal with them now and as how I might have dealt with the same situation if I had never experienced the excruciating loss of my son.

My grandpa has begun chemotherapy.  My daughter, Amy, took him to the first two appointments and yesterday I took him to the third consecutive day of this new process.  While we were sitting in that tiny room, Grandpa and Grandma both fell asleep.  As I looked at them both, I was overwhelmed with emotions.  I thought of so many memories that they both have given to me throughout my life.  I thought of good times and bad.  I thought of how much they have both been through and what their parents had been through in their lives, too.  I thought about how much of an influence my grandparents have been not only in my life, but in the lives of my children.  They have always wanted to spend time with me, with us.  They invested time in our lives.  That time gave us (and is still giving us) all memories that are ours to treasure forever.

Family is so important and my grandparents show us that every day.  Looking at each of them, both fighting different forms of this horrible disease, what I saw was…beautiful.  I saw how beautiful and amazing their lives have been, their influences on our lives, and how special they each are.  I said a prayer and thanked God for them and suddenly felt as if someone asked me, “Dana, what would this moment be like without the grief that has covered your life?”  Whoa!  Really??  All of the sudden I realized that I was looking at my only surviving grandparents, both of them seriously ill, and thinking about the “beautiful picture.”  What is wrong with me?  I then considered how this would be without this grief I carry.  The picture certainly wouldn’t have looked “beautiful.”  I imagine that I would be a nervous wreck and not thinking of all the love and fun times that my grandparents have shown me.  I would have been filled with worry and “what ifs.”

Instantly, my mind is racing 100 miles per hour and I feel like I can’t keep up.  I think of how Trevor’s mind worked in this way, how he could never stop thinking.  I thought of how different my life is, not only because Trevor is physically missing from it, but because of the change in me.  I realized yesterday that maybe I haven’t changed as much as I have grown.  Trevor’s death changed my life.  It changed every single aspect of my life.  The world around me is different, but it is because I am looking at it through different glasses.

I have written about how I look at my life in two time frames…one before Trevor died and one after.  I have to, because when Trevor left my life, part of the old me left with him.  I was changed overnight, but I have grown since his death and I am learning to be comfortable with the growth.  I WILL ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS MISS MY SON.  I love him.  I wish every single day that he could be here.  I see, though, beauty that I didn’t see before.  The change occurred in me from Trevor’s death, but this growth has occurred because of the way I have responded to that change.  I work every day through painful thoughts and wishes that can never be fulfilled.  I pray every day for God to let me survive the heartbreak of burying my son so that I can live to see the lives of our daughters continue to blossom.  I have pain every single day.  I have thoughts that no momma should ever have…thoughts  that I wonder if they will ever go away.  BUT…I have peace, a peace that I have received as a follower of Jesus.  I know God’s promise.  I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today without the Holy Spirit guiding me and God’s arms holding me when I get so low I feel there is no getting up.  I know that I will see Trevor again and I know that this life is really just a flash in the pan.

I don’t want to go back to the old me, before the growth.  I want my son here, but I want him here with my new outlook on life.  I know that I can’t have that, but I know that Trevor sees what is happening in all of our lives.  We all keep him close.  Megan, our oldest daughter, is on her honeymoon and she sent me a picture of “Buddy” sitting in the window of their Nashville hotel room with the city lights shining in the background.  (Buddy is a stuffed dog that was given to her by a child life specialist at the hospital where Trevor died.)  Megan takes Buddy with her everywhere.  She’s an adult now, but a part of her brother is always with her.  These things are what we have to hold onto…stuffed animals, clothes, toys, books, and memories of the most awesome son and brother a family could ever have.  His life changed mine.  Oh how my heart aches this morning at the pain of losing Trevor!  Then I think of my grandparents, both fighting for their lives to stay with us longer and I am so grateful, so thankful, so blessed to see their lives in this beautiful picture of our lives on earth.

I don’t know how I keep breathing every day, but I am thankful that I do.  I think of Buddy in Nashville and smile thinking of Trevor’s love for music and how he must’ve been with his big sister last night in Music City.  I think of the time that the five of us were in Nashville for my cousin’s wedding.  What great memories we have from that trip!  I think about the change in my life, but I am thankful to be able to acknowledge the growth that has come (and is still coming) from it.  More time with my grandparents is what I need now…more time to see the beauty of their lives, their love for us, and to share our love with them.

God, I know that Your Son has come and has given me understanding so that I may know Him who is true.  I am in Him who is true. ~1 John 5:20


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