This morning I made my bed as I do every morning. I pulled the soft comforter to the top and carefully placed my pillows, gray first and then green and finally purple accents. I smiled because I like things neat and pretty and this fell into that. On an impulse, I went into Rebekah’s room and picked up her American Girl Doll from her resting place on the her colorful pillow. I put her on my bed. It felt right. She should be with me, I know Rebekah would want it that way.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was a trigger. One by one memories flooded my broken heart and they kept up as I washed dishes, held devotions with the boys, and encouraged them to get moving because we have piano lessons soon.
The drive into town continued the triggers as we passed an ambulance and stopped at the Y to sign up for swim lessons. Funny, we’ve been to the Y dozens of times since the accident, but today I stopped to think about her taking gymnastics there the summer of her accident and I could barely breathe as I walked into the building.
Drop the kids off, head to the grocery store, tears keep coming totally out of my control. Regain composure, take deep breaths, check to see if I recognize any vehicles and cross my fingers hoping I don’t run into anyone I know. Crossing your fingers does little good in a town this size and I ran into several people, spilled the sweet potatoes all over the floor, and tried to quiet Joshua when he dropped his banana (out of the peel, of course).
I smiled politely as sweet elderly people fussed over my cute kids and carefully avoided eye contact with anyone my own age. Deep breath, keep the tears in, paste that smile on your face, deep breath, deep breath.
The tears came the second I pushed the shopping cart out the sliding doors. They came quick and hot and I squeezed my lips tight to keep the wail inside my heart. Paper bags in the back, little boys buckled into car seats, doors shut and I let the sobs loose. My head down on the steering wheel, the radio up to cover the sound of Joshua complaining that his shoe fell off and I let it all out. Every precious memory that now hurt instead of made me smile, every memory of her broken at the scene of the accident, every thing I missed about her throughout the day. It all came out as if I was pouring out a tremendous burden.
Another deep breath and the tears slowed to a stop. The sun was shining bright through the windows and reflecting off of the other vehicles. I’m ok, though I’m not sure Joshua is as he is STILL yelling about his shoe. Seriously, kid!
I looked around to see if I’d been discrete. Yep, I think so. Old men were pushing empty shopping carts, preschoolers were running to keep up with their mothers’ busy steps, and grandmas were carefully loading plastic bags into the trunks of their cars. A young unshaved man sat in the drivers side of the car beside me. An old man with long gray hair and a cane carefully steps out.
My mind, being the multitasker that it is, suddenly wondered who else sat in their car and cried? Have I passed by a car with a woman inside crying because of a miscarriage? How about a young man who lost the grandfather who had always been there for him, or 60 year old woman struggling with how to tell her family she had just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer?
I have thought about this often since Rebekah’s accident. All the people who have been broken and passed by me and I never knew. Maybe if I hadn’t been so caught up in my own life, I would’ve seen them? Maybe I would’ve sensed something?
So, my dear friends and acquaintances, I want you to know that I am sorry if ever you were hurting and wanted to reach out to me but couldn’t. I apologize for having a life that was so busy it appeared unreachable or that I tried so hard to portray perfection that you didn’t feel comfortable coming to me. I am sorry I didn’t check up on you more when you lost your father or were struggling in your marriage. I’m sorry I didn’t stop talking about my own issues long enough to listen to yours.
I want you to know that if you ever find yourself crying in your car or sobbing into your pillow so no one hears you, you can call me. I can’t take away your pain, but I can cry with you. I can listen to your broken heart and comfort you in my limited earthly capacity.
More than that, I want to remind you of the one who can comfort you and bring you the peace you need in the midst of your pain.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
It has been a rough day and I have depleted all of my own strength. I find comfort in these words knowing that I am simply unable to keep going on my own.
Other posts you might like 🙂