This morning I woke up and the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" was on television. I had plans to go back to sleep but just could not get past the aching and pain I was feeling in my back as the pain just throbbed. It wasn't horrible but just enough to keep me away so I took some medicine and waited for it to kick in. This movie is a wonderful movie that is full of many things that cause you to pause and think on a much deeper level.
The past few days all I have been able to think about was pain. In the hospital as I sat there enduring the worst physical pain I had ever been in my entire life thus far, I kept thinking and praying that the pain would go away. I cannot tell you how relieved I was when the nurse came and administered the pain medication that let the surging pain become tolerable. As I sat there, I thought about how I wish it was that simple where pain from the heart goes and I though how I would have endured the pain I was in a million times over if only I could have my son back or even one more fleeting moment with him. Unfortunately, the type of pain I have where George is concerned cannot be fixed by pain medication or anything else for that matter. The very thought of that was just so overwhelming that as I sat in the hospital where he died, all I could do was ache not only physically but emotionally. I was thankful for the moments when I slept to gain reprieve from all my body and mind were enduring.
Today, I sat here thinking about pain in general. A surgeon can fix the physical problem for you but unless you choose to get up and work hard at pushing through all the pain you will never get better. There are moments even after all the initial work is done that you will still have problems and pain will come back since you are never truly back to the way you were before. I sat there thinking of the physical pain I was in and how others who loved me sat there watching me on the hospital gurney feeling helpless as they watched on as I worked through every moment of that pain. They were not able to fix it for me or take it away and somewhere inside each of them they had their own feelings of pain, sadness, and fear all created by the pain that I was having. They were all relieved when the nurse brought my medicine and I was in less pain but their worries never left. People checked in on me and along the way I made a friend in my roommate and her husband and several nurses during my stay. I was in less pain the day I was discharged even though not back 100%
This sort of scenario applies for emotional pain too. The day George died was like the surging pain that caused me to call 911 and take me to the hospital. People gathered around us and brought us food and attended his service just like that nurse brought me medication. As time went on many felt the relief of time taking place and although they worried for them, they could continue on with their lives even though deep inside our pain was still there. Along the way we have made new friends and had some come in and out of our lives just like those nurses that change shifts. Some of them have stayed the whole time just like my roommate did. These people have been people we know well and others who were complete strangers and found a common bond with.
So many times I would just sit there and pray to God asking him to take the pain away from my heart because I was so tired and it just hurt so bad. That of course is not possible and I know it for my son was part of me and has become part of the very fiber of my being even though he was only here for a short time. It is like breaking your leg, it may be mended after the initial part of it all and is only a short time however the marks are still visible your entire life on an xray and you may even feel it when it rains outside and your body aches in that very spot. It may not be apparent to the naked eye that you ever broke a bone but it is with you forever and the pain is never completely gone much like loosing a child, no matter how short or long the time may have been.
That being said, there are also moments where the pain you feel just overcomes you. You wish that someone would come and knock you out or somehow you could do something to take it all away. Just as in labor, they tell you to find a focal point to get through it all, that is just how it is in the beginning, you cannot focus on anything else but yourself or it will overtake you and the pain is so immense. Through this whole process, I never even thought about the fact that it was exactly what I was doing this whole time. I could not see past my own pain at times and had to find a way to focus just on my own pain. There were moments that I was aware others were in pain too but there was nothing I could do because I was in so much pain myself that I needed to focus only on me.
There is however a point where you have to move forward and push through it all. Just as with labor, the pain doesn't go away and it is so intense during those moments you are pushing through. You know somehow that in the end if you keep pushing that there is a greater prize at the end of it all. Some people have to push for hours while others it is only a brief amount of time. In order to get to that point you have to go through all the really hard stuff. Along the way there are people there to support you but if you don't allow them to, your labor is much more difficult as is the walk of grief. As in labor, there are ups and downs through the entire grief process. No matter the case though, you cannot enjoy the fruits of your labor until you pass through the hard stuff and then comes the moment you hear that cry and your life is forever changed. Your pain never ends after you deliver the child but you love them and watch them grow up and the pain is back as the grow into adults but it is a different type of pain, the pain of watching them become independent and the loss you feel for that need they had for you. This correlates to the pain you feel, it changes but doesn't go away.
If you get lost in your own pain, you just feel the surging pain coming in and taking over and becoming overwhelming. You block out all those around you and cannot see their pain. I remember when I was younger and had to get my ingrown toe nails removed and I did not do it with anesthesia because I was afraid of the needles. While I was getting it taken care of, I would hold on to someone else's fingers...the first time it was my sister Tara and I turned her fingers blue, not even realizing it. Her fingers had been deprived of the blood and oxygen they needed to survive. I thought about that and how if we cannot look past our own pain to see that of those around us also than those relationships will suffer and eventually die if we don't loosen our grip and realize that the other person needs us as much as we need them sometimes.
I really thought about that because I know that there are days where I just want to shut the whole world out, including my family and friends. Every single part of me wants to crawl in bed and forget the whole world exists. I will admit there have been times where I have only been able to focus on just my own pain, and not the pain of those around me. People understand it but it doesn't make it right. We have to take the time to see past ourselves and our own immediate situation. By allowing them to grieve with you is also like letting go of that grip so the blood can flow as needed. It is so hard to do. There were times that I have done this with Hugh, my children, my mom, and so many others in my life while walking this path. It was only when I realized I had that vice grip going on and I loosened my grip that the relationship began to flourish. Their pain was different than mine even though we lost the same person and I had to learn to accept that but it was no easy task and often times is an ongoing thing.
I found this quote to be quite interesting in the movie and it took a special place in my heart and made me really think hard about it:
Liz: "So the holy truth of the whole adventure here in India, is in one line: "God dwells within you...as you." God's not interested in watching a performance of how a spiritual person looks and behaves. The quiet girl who glides silently through the place with a gentle, ethereal smile...who is that person? It's Ingrid Bergman in "The Bells of St. Mary's" – not me. God dwells within me...as me."
This is such a profound thought that it made me think of all those times I kept praying to God to take my pain away, that I too had a say in it all. I allow God to work through me for the good of others, why not for my own good? We often times forget that we are his creations, just as our children are ours. God would do anything to help us but often times has to stand by and although he never leaves our side he cannot take the pain away but will be there to hold our hands in support just as we would our children. He is within us all and imparts himself to each of us as long as we allow him to dwell within us. We in return are allowed to help ourselves through all the pain and grief and no one else can do it for us but we cannot loose sight of those around us and embrace them too as we walk this path. The next time you are hurting, take a look around, I am sure you are not alone. Don't shut those around you out and recognize their pain too. Life is no easy road and we are here to help one another through the pain that comes with it. There are no quick fixes and it will forever be different but that doesn't mean that there aren't going to be moments of sheer glory and joy as you work through it all.
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!