I have learned along this journey that nobody talks about that - and if they do, it's very vague. And that is not only good, but necessary. It's important for marriages to have privacy - and at the same time, it leaves so many people feeling like they are the only ones struggling. So many marriages end after the loss of a child and yet, there doesn't seem to be any resources for us.
In the book I will carry you by Angie Smith (which I read and loved so much I put Rachel's hand print in mine), she only referred to her marriage struggles once and said something along the lines of Satan would love to watch while my marriage crumbles.... and then went onto something else. Out of an entire book, only one thing about the dangers to marriage through such a hard loss - and she gave no insight, shared no details.
So anyway, I've mentioned that we almost didn't make it to our vacation this year - but what I left out is that there was more to that than just money. We were in a very low place and I'll be honest, I was all out of energy and ready to quit. To say that these past two years have been draining would be a major understatement.
God provided for our trip financially at the last minute - Matt got some overtime, which they never allow and we were blessed to find a check in the mail for the remainder from Jill, in Corey's memory. (they loved going there) I knew God was making a way, so we packed up the day before our scheduled time and went.... mostly for the kids.
Our God is amazing. He has yet to forsake us, even with how much we mess up. With each day in Maine - away from the stress of the day to day hustle and bustle - we somehow peeled back all the layers of walls we were building between us and grew closer. For the first time in a very long time, we connected... and not just for a day or two - but for the entire week. From the moment we headed out until we returned - and even still.
As we went through our week, hand in hand, God whispered to my heart.... I've got you.
I am so thankful that in His Grip, His grace abounds.... and that once He grabs a hold, He doesn't let go. I'm thankful that He shows up just when I think I can't go on. I'm thankful that He leads me, even when I'm not a good follower - and reminds me of His Sovereignty.
I'm thankful for Matt. For the unbelievable father he is to our children. For his refusing to walk away even when I'm unlovable. For being devoted to me and the kids and taking his role so seriously. I've never seen a man so willing to learn, to take advice, and to grow. He's pretty awesome.... now. God has done an amazing work in him over the past 6 years - but a month ago I couldn't see any of it.
Grief is all consuming - but the hard part about it is that as time goes on, you easily forget it's there, but it makes it no less real. The subtle dull pain that lingers starts to be part of who you are and at any moment can come out of nowhere and hit like a tornado, thrashing through every area of your day without warning. No weather man to tell you to take cover, just a raging storm of pain and the ache of empty arms that can be filled by no other.
Part of what makes this all so difficult is that nobody knows the pain of a mother who buries her baby, except a mother who buries her baby - and even then we are all so different. He is not a mother, he's a father and that is not the same. He knows it, I know it.... but sometimes I really resent being the only one who hurts like I do - and seemingly being invisible while doing it. I wouldn't trade places - ever. I love that I got to know her like nobody else... but my love and bond with her is what makes my heart long for her so much. And while I don't really expect Matt to grieve like I do, I want to be understood by him in a way that probably isn't possible, although he has gotten better at offering support.
A few months back, I heard myself say "Maybe I was too quick to say we were one of the marriages that survived the loss of a child." I was starting to think that perhaps I was wrong. That maybe Rachel's life and death hadn't strengthened us like I thought it had.
But I refuse to believe that God would include our failed marriage as part of his plan with Rachel. He brought us together and has given us an unbelievable testimony to His faithfulness through this valley. And I believe He has a grip on us... on our marriage... on our family. And there, we find the grace for another day. Another minute. Another second.
And I know you will too. Rest in His Grip.
|Loved you yesterday, love you still, always have, always will.|
|He found me a heart-shaped rock on the ground |
♥ Rachel ♥