Facing Grief

It crept up on me and I wasn’t prepared. Before Halloween, I had a sadness I couldn’t shake. I found myself remembering deeply and going to places in my heart to remember. The happy times, before the seizures came, or even before the seizures were prominent.

Active grief. It’s a term I’ve come up with to describe the times I am heavy with grief for long(er) periods of time.

I like to ask myself, “why are you doing this?” when my character feels a little off. When I find myself doing and saying things with less of an edit button. Or when spontaneity is my go to for lots of decisions I make. It plays out when my personality type characteristics (Myers Briggs) are exaggerated.

For me, this looks like being extremely overwhelmed with the details of my business and persevering though it is even harder than normal. Every day tasks seem daunting and I want to leave the house all the time. I get an ‘itch’ to get out with friends at the last minute and am thoroughly satisfied when it works out- like a high almost. Becoming obsessed with things such as fashion or interior design, getting fit, changing something drastic i.e.  getting my hair chopped off and dyed blonde….

I feel that a large part of grieving well, is acknowledging when it’s prominent and knowing that decisions I’m making are being vastly influenced by it. This way, I can ask myself, “Why?” and make a plan to help bring healing to an area of my heart that is grieving.

Sometimes, it’s driving to a park that has a vivid memory with the one you’ve lost and you just have to face it head on:

A couple of weeks ago, I asked a few friends to meet me at a park. I mean, it was like, “Hey, I’m heading to the park in 15 minutes if you want to join!”

Now, for me, I could handle that and would jump at the invite if I had nothing else going (cleaning NEVER counts as something I have to do, although, it totally is something I should be doing). This isn’t the case for everyone…

To my surprise (or not), no one could come. So instead of going to the park nearby, I allowed myself to get to the heart of this last-minute decision to ‘get out’ and found myself remembering a park I took the kids to many times, when I was in the thick of mothering four little ones and needing to ‘get out’. It was also a park that Zekey had a major seizure and had to be rushed to the ER to be observed. So, a season in our life that was obviously hard but still full of really sweet memories.

As I drove in to the park, tears were streaming down my face. I loved having Bexley with me. She and Zekey had such a bond. She misses him and expresses it more than anyone else- she’s my grieving buddy.

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In my mind, I could envision the spot where I was walking briskly behind the older three and pushing Bexley in the stroller, ages 5, 4, 2 and 10 months (If I were to guess). Cy, Eisley and Zeke were enjoying the wide, open space to run and be silly. I wanted to go there again.

I remember being hesitant to go- “What if he has a seizure?” I was always prepared with meds to help pull him out of one but I dreaded the fact that a seizure, or now knowing the facts, Batten disease, has no heart and doesn’t care about ruining what was meant to be good. I hated seizures. I hate Batten disease.

As I watch intently, I notice Zekey running, but veering off to the right. I called his name, run up to him and notice, his eyes are rolling into his head- he is having a seizure and it was just the beginning of one.

I pull him into my arms, love and kiss on him, praying over him, trying to stay calm as his anchor was always me, his momma- what a heartbreaking gift now that he’s gone. My phone had died, so I asked a stranger to use her phone. We have since met, years later, and of course, God used that time to play a part in her redemption story because He is amazing like that.

As I walked around with Bexley, I was very thankful that the few people there we older and not necessarily looking to strike up a conversation. I didn’t want to be seen or known by anyone but Bexley and God himself.

The sun was shining so beautifully against the golden colors of fall and the temperature was a perfect 65. I felt the presence of God so greatly. I stopped at a bench and silently cried for all that was and all that could be. I let myself miss him and long for him.

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Tears. Healing. Hope.

As I walked more, I had come to conclude that I wouldn’t find the spot where my kids were running free that day, 4 years ago. As I was going to turn and go home, I was drawn to walk through a small, wooded area first.  If you can believe it, on the other side was the open space I was looking for. The space that echoed the joy and ache in my heart.

I parked the stroller and told Bexley to go and run around. It was beautiful. It was healing.

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I don’t like to be a coward to grief. I don’t like to feel it has a hold on me. So, I face it. I let my sadness take over me in ways that I still feel ‘in control’ but vulnerable and ready to embrace the Hope in Jesus that always pulls me through. I know God’s presence meets me there, so I never feel alone. I invite Him in and it really is beautiful. #ZekeyLives

16 Comments

  • Reply November 10, 2015

    Jean Holt

    You are wise beyond your years Breena. Thank you for modeling grief so well. God is so good. And life is incredibly hard. Two unwavering truths that somehow you are able to live from in such a powerful way. I love you.

    • Reply November 10, 2015

      bree

      Jean,

      Thank you for your encouragement- it means the world to me. Love you

  • Reply November 10, 2015

    Lori Coffey

    Dear Breena,
    We haven’t met but I am friends with your mom through Ministries of Pastoral Care. I am so very sorry for your loss, and I am deeply touched by your sharing. You are a gifted writer! I pray that God blesses you with many more healing times, and I have a sense that you have and will continue to bless so many others by sharing so vulnerably. God bless you!
    Lori Coffey
    (Mom to 3)

    • Reply November 10, 2015

      bree

      Lori,

      I thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement. Truly blessed me. God bless.

  • Reply November 10, 2015

    Sandy Thompson

    Breena,

    As always you do a wonderful job of showing your tremendous strength in the midst of your sorrow.

    “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    Love leaves a memory no one can steal” – Anonymous

    • Reply November 10, 2015

      bree

      Sandy,

      God is my strength, without him, I would be a puddle of mush. Have you heard the song, “The Earth Has no Sorrow, That Heaven Can’t Heal”? It blesses me so much. Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Reply November 10, 2015

    Amanda

    Beautifully written. Your aching heart is tangible thru your words. My prayer is that the words of our Lord and Savior are just as tangible to you…especially during these seasons of grief. Words of compassion, words of love… Words of hope. ((Hugs))

    • Reply November 10, 2015

      bree

      Amanda,

      Thank you for your prayers.

  • Reply November 10, 2015

    Mary Fulton

    i don’t know you but as I read this I felt your pain and then some joy! Out of your great pain has come a ministry to share and encourage and bring hope to others! You go sweet girl!!!
    Thank you for sharing!!
    Love and prayers coming your way!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Reply November 10, 2015

      bree

      Mary,

      God is good to bring out brokenness healing and redemption. I am so honored to be used by Him. Thank you for your encouragement. God bless.

  • Reply November 10, 2015

    Aunt Sherry,

    Wish I could put in words as well as you. Love you.

  • Reply November 15, 2015

    April Rumschlag

    Breena, I finally had a chance to read your latest blog and I’m blessed by it. My heart is doing something in me right now after reading it and just want to reiterate that you are a strong woman and you share from your heart so well, with vulnerability and honesty and I appreciate that. Still praying for you.

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