Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tidal Waves at Disney

If you were able to read yesterday’s post about our recent trip to Disney over Labor Day Weekend, then you know that we had a blast. The time I was able to spend with my daughter was nothing short of treasure-filled. We needed that FUN time together…away from the heartache and stress-filled days of the last 18 weeks. And…we were blessed.

But, even within that blessing, a few tidal waves of grief still appeared. Two of them, I handled slightly better than the other. Regardless…the waves threatened to suffocate me.

While sitting in the airport waiting to board our flight to Orlando, I was suddenly – and, I mean suddenly – overcome with emotion over missing Chris. All I could think at the time…

He should be on this trip with us.

Why are we going on a mini “family” vacation when we’re missing a key member of our family?

What was I thinking in trying to do this so soon after Chris’ death?

So…I did what I always do in these little panic moments. First, I prayed…”God help me!” Then…I texted, Tweeted, Facebooked, and/or emailed a need for others to pray for me. I know, beyond all doubt, that the reason I’ve made it this far in the grieving process is because of all the prayers lifted up on my behalf! For that, I am so very thankful! God carried me quickly through that mini “panic attack” and re-directed my mind back to Him and to my time with Anna!

Tidal wave number 2 arrived on Sunday – the 4 month anniversary of the day Chris’ body was found. I never really spoke of it on that day to Anna. I really tried hard to go on “business as usual” throughout the day. However, I found myself unusually cranky at times. I blamed it on the heat. I blamed it on the crowds. Finally, I had to face the fact that it was all me. I felt guilty for having fun at Disneyworld when only 4 short months before, I was being delivered the news of my husband’s suicide. Guilt – as I have learned – is a byproduct of grief, a natural emotional response. Even so, it’s not healthy to remain there. So, I had to emotionally move forward…Chris would want us doing exactly what we were doing. We were actually planning a family vacation to Disney in 2012, and he was so excited about it. It was just happening a little earlier and with one less of us.

The third tidal wave…I didn’t handle so well. It was actually so minor in the grand scheme of things, but so HUGE to me at the time. Right after Chris’ death in early May, I started wearing his sunglasses. It was such a trivial little thing, but for me, it brought a sense of closeness to him. Silly as it sounds, those cheap Walmart sunglasses brought me comfort. Of course, they went to Disney with me, as well! Our last day at the parks was spent at Hollywood Studios. On one of the 4-D movie rides, I realized I should have probably taken off my sunglasses for fear of them bouncing off my head. So, I gave them to Anna and asked her to put them in the netting under her seat made to hold belongings (since mine was already full with my camera bag).

After the ride was over, we went to gather our belongings, but Anna couldn’t find the sunglasses. Then, I crawled under and started to look for them. I looked as long as I could, but they were loading up another group of riders, so I had to vacate the ride. The sunglasses. Were. Gone. And just like that…I felt another dagger pierce my heart. I even took my frustration out on Anna a little. I didn’t blame her, but my response and body language said otherwise. It was truly my fault. I should have been more responsible with them, so in all honesty, I was very upset and angry at myself. All this emotion over a little pair of cheap sunglasses.

But…that’s just it. It’s those secondary losses…the other parts of the greater loss (of my husband) that continue to show up in the tidal waves of grief. Yes, it was just sunglasses. They could easily be replaced. But, they were the same sunglasses that had rested on husband’s head, that had protected my husband’s eyes, that been held by my husband’s large hands. Those could never be replaced. Then again…neither can he.

I apologized to my sweet girl for my abrupt reaction. I replaced the sunglasses. And…I moved on. I continue “surfing the waves”…until the next one sweeps over me. But…even so…I will NOT drown!

Isaiah 43:2

When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.

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Comments

  1. alwaysmydaddysgirl says:

    Oh dear sister, I am so sorry about the sunglasses. I can relate to the attachment that comes from a deceased loved one's possessions. I have some cufflinks and my Dad's favorite tie that I treasure greatly and would be as, if not more, upset as you were if something were to happen to them.

    But as you so gracefully acknowledged; the greater loss is in the person not those possessions and that by the grace of God we can learn to move through our grief and pain having those items as a pleasant memory but not a weapon to steal our joy and peace.

    I am so proud of you for being transparent about your journey. If you didn't have those moments, God wouldn't be able to use you to minister to other, grieving individuals who have the same tidal waves in their grief journeys.

    Lots of Jesus love to you.

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