"Because death is just so full, and man so small.
Well, I'm scared of what's behind, and what's before"
After The Storm Mumford and Sons
When I take the time to reflect on my grief process. . .where I have been, where I am now, and how the journey has looked so far I like to think I am doing okay. Ups and downs are a daily struggle. On and off I have cried, screamed, doubted, and at times felt a sense of hopelessness. Those feelings now come in waves that are further and farther between, and when they do show up I have more strength to push them away much quicker than I did three months ago. But there is one piece of my story that scares me still, and that piece is the trauma of Matt's death. The whole night and day of the event, from him waking up, to me pleading with God in the hallway of my home, the ER, and then the hospital, the goodbyes, the letting go, telling Evelyn. The trauma of the event has me still shaking in my core.
For my readers who don't know me well there was a time in my life where I lived in a state that invited a sort of trouble that often resulted in trauma to myself. For the most part this was in the way of my psyche, but at times the trauma was physical as well. For those who intimately know me, at best you know half of it. After I surrendered my heart to Jesus, but before I surrendered my time, effort, and body to Him I had to learn a way to cope with trauma. It was a survival mode I lived in for far too many years. I taught myself a way to get through a traumatic event, and then how to wade through the emotional aftermath without completely falling apart to those around me. It was an amazing turning point in life when I finally allowed the Holy Spirit to start His work of transformation within me. Once that transformation began I knew I needed time (hours and hours of time) in prayer, in meditation, and in confession. I allowed Christ healing from those wounds, the only healing with the ability to truly heal.
It would reason then that after moving on from this time I liked to think I was some what better equipped to handle a situation that could cause others to panic. And I believe prior to Matt's death that had some truth to it. I can think of quite a few moments that Matt and I ventured over the last years, but one time I'm brought back to is the night of Isaac's birth. Isaac and I were only in the recovery ward of the hospital a few hours before he was rushed to Children's Hospital under the assumption a blood infection he appeared to have had the potential to be life threatening. Under attack I kept my cool, I did what I needed to do as his mother, and leaned on God. Holding his teeny tiny hand as they poked his spine with a needle which seemed half the size of his entire legnth. Only getting to hold my child for the first week with the restraints of tubes and IVs keeping us slightly separated. Being completely separated from Evelyn, who wasn't allowed to see her brother in the NICU. It was tramatic, and yet it really wasn't.
This is an area I've been told by many that I may need further help with. That the trauma will not disapate, it will not be healed without guidance. It has begun to manifest itself in my life in far too many ways for me to feel comfortable continuing down a path of ignorance in regards to its impact. I have to pull over on the road two or three times a week because the panic overtakes my ability to function. I wake up in the middle of the night at the slightest sound, terrified that the sound I'm hearing is one of my children now being taken from this Earth in the deep of the night. A seemingly innocent and harmless situation with our dog Maggie (that I should have been able to handle) turned into an afternoon of chaos which required a friend to drop everything to come help, and a plumber to lend the panicked widow a hand.
These panics appear to me in what I suppose might be a type of post traumatic stress. Flashes of that day. . .images of Matt with life fading from him, the slow and painful heartbreak felt from his hospital bedside, the moment he started bleeding out at our house, giving him CPR, Evelyn's tears at the end of the day, the doctor's faces throughout the day, the walk to his room to say goodbye, the moment they told me he would not make it, his eyes in those last seconds of consiousness. These flashes back, these moments that aren't healing in my heart. . .these are what it looks like to me after the storm.
"There will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there.
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."