The familiar routine of the nurses talking through every step while putting in an IV, I watch and remember. The questions they ask as they start the machine and I can’t help but want them to leave, even as sweet and helpful as they are. I remember these same thoughts running in my head when I stayed long and many nights with Zekey in the hospital. I just wanted him to be at peace for the short and few times his body would allow it, but the lights, the beeps, the vitals…
My eyes will not stop watering, looking away and watching the re-runs of ‘I love Lucy’ will not make the tears subside. One thought of ‘why’ and the tears flood my eyes again, only for me to repeat wiping my eyes quickly and blinking the tears away.
More questions are asked and they simply won’t leave. Wiping my eyes, looking away, trying to hold it together so they will not question my sadness. They must now think I am the sappiest of moms to have an otherwise healthy daughter who simply needs hydrated after a bout of the stomach flu, to be sitting here with tear-stained cheeks. Surely they would leave soon.
But then one final question does me in, “And your husband’s birthday?”
A long pause and a gulp of air down my throat.
The thoughts of “Can you please lave the room, I just need a moment to myself, PLEASE!” thankfully stay in my head as I instead utter through my tears,
“I’m sorry, we lost our son and this is bringing a flood of memories and emotions.”
And I loathe it. I like to bring Zekey up when I have joy in my heart (although joy isn’t always the absence of sorrow if you ask me) and my emotions are under control- I like talking about Zekey on my terms. Not in a hospital.
I like to say,
“He is with Jesus and I’ll see him again.” with a smile on my face, not a quick explanation of my sobs without the Hope that gets me through and giving Zekey’s story the credit it deserves.
It’s almost annoying and certainly painful when I have to explain because the tears have connected to the deafening silence paired with the hum of the IV and I get no damn say. I have lost this battle, I cannot keep the painful memories at bay any longer.
I love and feel honored telling his story to a crowd at a conference, when yes, tears come but I’m prepared and my company expects tears and even welcomes them and oftentimes joins in- people who want to know how I get through and I then to proclaim, “Jesus”.
But the mundane, the registration in the ER for something that didn’t frighten me, I knew she would be fine. It’s annoying because it’s inconvenient and a perfect stranger shouldn’t have to comfort me and thankfully, she didn’t try.
But I had energy for nothing else. Instead of comforting another with the hope of Jesus, I let grace cover me as God ministered to me in that moment. And I need to know that is okay, too.
This past week I had surgery on my foot and leading up to it, I made sure to tell my husband that I didn’t want to end up on YouTube for the things I said and did after coming out of surgery high on meds.
I remember wondering if I could take that forced time to sleep and think of my boy, who I haven’t had a dream of in over a year, maybe two. It’s something I try not to hold a grudge against God for, but it doesn’t change the fact that Zekey lives in the presesne of his Savior and friend and I can at least rest in that.
Once I was waken by the nurse in recover, she went to get my husband. A few minutes after Andy walked in, I started to cry. The presence of his parents together, maybe? His thick hair, big eyes and large smile greeted me and I felt his embrace. He was happy to see me and I was happy to see him. He was warm and joyful and healthy. And I missed him more than ever when the dream or vision went away and I was left with yet again, the poking and prodding of a kind nurse and being forced to hobble out of bed and into our car back home to the day to day I live without him, my Zekey-zoo-zoo.
I have taken on a lot, and know everyone around me sees it because they say it to me and sometimes when I’m not around. Some are concerned, others turn away and ignore.
I walk grief imperfectly. I know what feels good to numb the pain and I know what is going to make me face the hard truth of today, the longing and waiting, that tension of in-between the here and the not yet. I have learned how to avoid the pain and how to make myself face it. I have learned that sometimes you have no say and that it’s okay to be ministered to instead of always wanting to be the one to minister.
God is gracious in it all. I look to Him for what I need as no human can fulfill me. Humans, being made in His image, at their best reflect only a fraction of Who God is in whole. Thankfully, that fraction can be a beautiful gift at times, but in the end, God is my comfort, my help in time of need. He is the one who sent a Savior and rescuer that is Jesus Christ and the Hope of Heaven that I cling to when despair is at my door.
My prayer is that you will know this Hope that can get you through any fear or sadness that comes your way.
Looking forward to re-reading page 90-91 where a snip of Zekey’s story is told.