Thursday, March 6, 2014

A River of Tears Seems to Water My New Life

I cry too much. Sometimes, I think I should be dehydrated, just from the tears.

Headed home the other night with tears running down my cheeks, I thought, "I wish I wasn't a person who cried all the time."

There was nothing really to cry about. I had just dropped the girls off at home and was headed home myself. I had money in my wallet, gas in my tank and a safe vehicle to drive. I think it was a song on KLOVE, or maybe something they were talking about on the radio, and suddenly I'm crying.

It wasn't Ethan, or grief, or overwhelming despair. Just tears.

Of course, that thought was quickly followed by another.

"No, I don't."

I realize I tread this ground repeatedly in my thoughts, but I guess that is part of making it my new reality. Each time I cross this bumpy terrain the path is a little wider and a little easier to walk. Each time this part of my journey becomes a little easier to embrace.

This fragile, caring, tearful person that I've become over the last few months is deep down a better person than the woman I was before losing my son. Although I'd give any possession I have and even my own life to have him back and whole (not just like he was before), I would not want to return to the person I was three months ago.

While I grow tired of the tears and the smeared mascara and what sometimes feels like a constant ache in my chest, losing Ethan opened my eyes and my heart to a world that I was content to ignore or brush off.

Now the pains of other people, even casual acquaintances and friends of friends, can move me to tears.

A stranger losing a child is almost more than I can bear.

The mothers I've met who are still struggling to deal with their child's addiction, or who like me are grieving, have a place in my heart and my prayers.

People who are no more than a few sentences and a picture on a Google+ site or a Facebook friendship, people who are on the other side of the world, or even not identified by a place, move me to tears, prayers and reaching out.

I find myself counseling people I would have never dreamed of counseling, or reaching out through cyberspace to let someone know they're not alone, or crying over a song on the radio, and I'm glad.

God made us to care about one another. Jesus told us to love one another and bear one another's burdens.

The world and life itself tells us to not do these things, to look after ourselves and let everyone else do the same, to keep our distance from things that don't concern us. We insulate ourselves from what and who we are meant to be, not just with one another, but with God.

We think we can take care of ourselves and we don't need to let other people into our lives. We think we can do it with God as a backup plan, a Sunday morning savior, a daddy in the sky we run to when things get rough.

Losing Ethan stripped away all that insulation and pretense.

I'm not doing it alone and some days I'm hardly doing it at all. Some days, God is doing it through me, and sometimes it's only the prayers and the realization that this is what I have to do that keep me going.

I'm so grateful for everyone who hasn't felt this pain who has reached out to me when there is nothing I can do for them. I'm so thankful for the exchange of support with others who know my pain. I'm so blessed to have found a better me through all of this who appreciates the miracle of each day and wants to feel, even when it means tears.

I still stumble. I still wish sometimes that this wasn't who I had to be, or more accurately that I didn't have to go through what I have to be this person. But I'm still trying to accept that I had to be broken to be made anew.

I'm still singing "Keep Making Me," sometimes with tears and sometimes with a thankful heart, still fearful of the words of this prayerful song, but at the same time aware that life is beyond my control. My prayer now isn't to be broken, it's to be healed and to be filled and to be this better person that I catch a glimpse of sometimes.

The one with smeared mascara because she's crying again.


  1. Somehow I quit crying about a year and a half after the death of my wife Angela. I don't understand it. Sometimes I have an "almost cry" as I now call it, but it is usually because I am overwhelmed either with some kind of joy, or a mixture of sadness and joy at the same time. I don't quite understand it. I speak with and minister to the needs of other widowers often, and have much empathy for them, however when I hear the news of someone that I know or know of passing away anymore, I just don't seem to feel very much.

    As hypersensitive as I seem to be towards a beautiful sunset or a sappy love song on the radio, when it comes to death my heart has been hardened. Sometimes I am overwhelmed nearly to the point of tears just being in the arms of my girlfriend today, however the news of yet another kid that we know in recovery relapsing and overdosing brings nothing. Don't get me wrong, my heart goes out to their families, but it's like something happens and I go right into some kind of emotionless void as soon as I hear that kind of news. I was going to write about it but haven't yet.

    My friend and spiritual advisor, who is also a counselor tells me that my heart is still thawing after what happened to my wife. I don't know, but it feels strange sometimes. Thank you for your posts, I really appreciate reading them.

  2. I just discovered your blog, but reading your post touched my heart. I have never lost a child, so I can only imagine how you feel, but I have watched those I love struggle with loss. I watched my grandmother struggle with the loss of her son far before she should have, and it forever changed her. It changed all of us. I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.