Friday, July 24, 2009

How Many Times Can I Break til I Shatter?

We have suffered another huge loss.  One that leaves us asking "Why, why, why?" all over again.  Of course, nothing will ever compare to the loss of Webb, so even a loss that one year ago would have been hugely monumental only pales in comparison.  But we have not yet entered our season of blessings.  Soon?

People say bad things happen in threes.  Ok, I think we reached that number a long time ago.  But as I sit here, crying and trembling over my keyboard, I still am not in despair.  When Webb died, I was drawn very close to God, right underneath his loving arms, and I did not once doubt his presence.  Lately, as that tangible connection started to fade, I am left asking all my questions over again.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why do multiple bad things happen to good people?  This just is not fair.  It isn't.  And I don't know another way to say that.  But I am not in despair.  His grace is sufficient.  As my precious grandmother used to say, "This too shall pass."

I know my latest posts have been heavy.  My heart has been heavy.  This grief is heavy.  It is hard to walk around with this weight I constantly carry.  We are being lifted up - I know it and I feel it.  This too shall pass.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

She says she's tired of life - she must be tired of something....

I am tired of grieving. I am tired of walking by an empty crib every night and every morning. I am tired of reliving the hospital and the funeral and the weeks and months before Webb's diagnosis. I am still in disbelief. How did this happen? Why me? How will we go on - really? How? It is strange how grief comes in waves, some big, some small. Right now it feels like a tsunami for some reason. I guess it is my brain's way of taking in things bit by bit, piece by piece. But it hurts. And it's exausting. I often picture myself as bobbing along in the water, barely above the surface. It sounds a bit suicidal, I know, but it's nothing close to that. I still enjoy life and want to keep living it. I just can't believe this is my new life - it's very hard to articulate the feelings. It's hard to square the happy, carefree person with the person I am now. Still happy on many levels, but...different. I can't believe I ever thought I went through "hard times." It annoys me when people who have not lost a child think they have a rough life. I am sure many have faced horrific obstacles, but I am being 100% honest when I say I think ANYTHING would have been better than losing one of my babies. I would have endured absolutely anything and said, "At least I still have all my children." I know that for a fact. There just isn't anything worse. In a way, it's kind of liberating. The worst has already happened, so I fear little, except, of course, losing another child. But death no longer scares me. While I don't want to die or be away from my other children, I have so much waiting for me in heaven that it doesn't seem as terrible as it used to. I never imagined I'd be 30 and no longer scared of dying. I feel like I have aged 50 years in 6 months.

Do you ever hear songs you've loved for years and never really understood the meaning? Or have you ever found a new meaning in a familiar song? That happens to me constantly now. Especially with Counting Crows, who have always been a favorite of mine. In the car the other day, this part of "Round Here" was playing and I burst into tears. The meaning never was something I could relate to until now. Now it makes perfect sense:

She says It's only in my head
She says Shhh I know it's only in my head
But the girl in car in the parking lot
says "Man you should try to take a shot
can't you see my walls are crumbling?"
Then she looks up at the building
and says she's thinking of jumping
She says she's tired of life
she must be tired of something
Round here she's always on my mind
Round here hey man got lots of time
Round here we're never sent to bed early
And nobody makes us wait
Round here we stay up very, very, very, very late

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I wonder if 6 months sounds like a long time to people. I wonder if people think: "Oh, Webb died 6 months ago - Zac and Ashley must be getting better, or over it..." I can assure you it's not the case. First of all, "better" is relative. Better than what? December 26? Well, I was in total shock then and had held my baby alive that day and seen him laughing and smiling 3 days before. Six months later, the shock is gone, and I have not seen him, heard him, smelled or felt him in what seems like an eternity. So "better" isn't the right word. "Over it?" Never.

In some ways, it is worse today than it was 3, 4, 5, even 6 months ago. The pain is more contained, the panic has subsided, and we can actually function through a day - but the reality that he is gone seems more....real. He is not just away for a while. He is not coming back. After 6 months, that truth sets in a little deeper. We knew in our minds he was never coming back, even when we were in shock. But after 6 months, we are actually starting to realize the impact of that. And it hurts. It is the dull, constant, horrific kind of hurt that will not go away. I imagine it is a bit like losing an arm or a leg. At first, you cannot do anything, and the physical pain is unbearable. After time, you start learning how to compensate and "live around" the missing appendage, but it is always there, always a reminder, never far from your thoughts. Just like a person who has to live without an appendage, we will never be the same. We will keep walking around this giant hole for the rest of our lives.

I have always been the kind of person who can put a "game face" on. It was partly how I was raised and partly what I have learned to do over the years. I am not necessarily a private person, but I can hide my strong emotions very carefully. I have gotten good at smiling on the outside, sheilding the world and my closest friends and family from how I am really feeling. It is not as much a protection for them as it is protection for me. I am not ready to lose it. Not today. I am not prepared for the aftermath of such an emotional outburst. Luckily, I have my God to pour it all out to. In the times of my deepest despair, I hit my knees and pray out every drop of pain, of fear, of frustration. It works. It centers me, balances me and helps me through my day. We are still so desperate for His guidance. He is the only way to get through a tragedy as great as this one, and I do not understand how anyone thinks their problems can be solved without God. What a miserable existence that must be. Even in the darkest days I face, I still have hope and the promise.

This past week, we spent some time in Vail. Vail is a special place as it is where Zac and I met and the spot our children have visited many times. Webb only got to go once. Yet as I sat in that familiar place that holds so many memories for me, he was all I thought about. Being in the mountains and seeing God's most beautiful creations has always impacted me, but this time, it hit me hard. I felt closer to Webb there. Maybe it was because I did not have the million distractions that I do in Atlanta. Maybe it was because we were 8,000 feet higher than we usually are. Maybe it was because I think my heaven must look a lot like Vail. Maybe it was all of that. And I don't think I was the only one feeling that way. When we got on the gondola to ride to the top of the mountain, Bo said, "We are going to see Webbie!!" He has never said that before, and he has ridden an airplane several times. I like to think his presence was there, as it always is. As we were flying over those mountains last night, back to our lives, I felt a strange sense of leaving something behind.