Earlier this year, I read the New York Times Bestseller novel, The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin. I found the novel fascinating on many levels. Although fiction, there were many parallels I could make with my own childhood and that of the characters in the book. Perhaps what I latched onto the most, however, was the term dubbed by the children for the brief period of their youth in which they were left to practically raise themselves following the death of their father…”the pause”. Their mother was in a deep state of grief and practically couldn’t function as a parent for a few years.
I, too, have been simply existing during a two-year period of my life I’ve dubbed, “The Pause”. My pause doesn’t reflect this fictional character’s at all, however I can relate in the sense I’ve been “checked out” emotionally over the last couple of years in such a way I became unrecognizable to myself and to some closest to me.
Having gone through the loss of a spouse before, I stepped into grieving my most recent husband thinking I would “breeze through it” in much the same way. I quickly discovered, however, no two losses are ever equal, even if the circumstances surrounding the death were the same (they were not in my case). I grieved over Chris’ death in a much more holistic way. I faced it head on. I plunged right into the darkness, enabling me to reach the light at the end of the tunnel more quickly than I ever expected. However, with Joel’s death, I couldn’t tackle it the same way. I had four young children to parent this time around (all with special needs). The year Joel passed away, I also underwent five surgeries (only one was planned), a car accident, the loss of my beloved job (albeit by my choice but one I didn’t want to make), and the death of my father. There was no time to truly grieve. So, I apparently suppressed it.
Year two of my second widowhood brought even more grief suppression. I did things I never thought I would do, and there were things I should have been doing that I didn’t do. When looking in the mirror, I no longer recognized the woman I had become. However, I didn’t know how to find the “old Leah” anymore. As God permits, I’ll share more details of this story in the future, but just know this…
“The Pause” has ended! I have been set free!
In all honesty, I have never felt more delivered from the strongholds that held me captive than I do right now! While the journey was one of the most painful of my life (if not the most painful), the transformation has been nothing short of miraculous, and God is being glorified. There was no good thing in me…only God working through me enabled me to get to this place of healing and the start of a new life restoration. The redemption work He is doing in me is ongoing and will be until He calls me Home, but I’m so thankful to be back on the path to seeing Him raise up beauty from ashes.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Isaiah 61:1-4 (NIV, emphasis mine)