We survived. March 14, 2015 came and went, and everyone is still ok. We endured the 2-year anniversary of Hannah’s homegoing.
It’s interesting how our emotions can be tied to dates. There are times when a wave of grief catches me off guard. It might be provoked by a comment or song or event. Or there could be no conceivable reason for the tears…except that I miss her. For the most part throughout the past year, though, we could anticipate the grief. We expect to miss Hannah more during the holidays and her birthday and of course the anniversary of her death. As soon as I switched my wall calendar from February to March, I felt the heaviness of grief fall upon me. In fact, as the days trekked on and February was ending, I began to brace myself. I knew it was coming: the re-entry.
Two years ago, Hannah’s sudden death took us into the deepest valley we’ve ever experienced. There were times when I thought we’d never get ourselves out of that valley. Well, to be honest, we didn’t save ourselves from that pit of despair. It was God who did all the work. We just took one step at a time, following and trusting our Abba Father to lead us through the valley of the shadow of death. Eventually, we could see sunlight as we meandered our way up the hillside. Now, most days are spent on the high ground where we are able to enjoy the sun shining on our faces. It’s those special dates that tend to take us back to the darkness of the valley.
In my anticipation of March 14, I chose to embrace the heaviness. I purposed to set aside time each day to welcome the sadness, to remember the oh-so-difficult events of March 13-14, 2013, and to cry out to God. Yes, grief is hard. It isn’t fun. Not. One. Bit. However, it is healthy. Even necessary. And so, I willingly re-entered the valley of the shadow of death once again. It began on March 1, 2015. I turned around from my usual sunshine and hid in the shadows…at least for a moment every day for those two weeks. I’m not sure when it will end. Maybe it has already.
I think Friday the 13th was my low point during those two weeks. Maybe I held too much in that week. Maybe my short moments of lament weren’t enough. I certainly was busy Monday through Thursday. Snow day, Bible quizzing stuff, retreat planning meetings, prayer times with friends, Bible study, etc. kept me away from home most evenings. By the time I got myself in bed each night, I was too tired to process. I would shed a few quiet tears and pass out until the morning. So, as soon as I was able to get the boys fed and occupied, I hid in my bedroom to weep before God. I questioned His purpose for Hannah’s short life. I asked all the “How long, O Lord?” questions again. I allowed myself to feel the loss as deep as did the day we ushered her into heaven two years ago.
Then, when I awoke on March 14, I didn’t have to do it. I had already grieved as heavily as I needed. I was able to think about the precious time I had with Hannah and praise God for that time. Aaron and I walked to the river to throw Noah’s rock into the water, and we were able to endure the audience that gathered to see the white people. We could talk to the strangers without tears or contempt. Ultimately, we could walk through the valley with eyes wide open and with joy.
Yes, it’s still hard. We didn’t enjoy the return to the valley, but we did it. And now, we can face the sunshine again. Thank you for your prayers. They traveled across the ocean and comforted us in our time of grief. May God bless you for your time, dedication, and love for us!!
Praises and Prayer Requests:
- Praise God for His ever-presence in our lives.
- Praise God for a little more rain this week.
- Praise God for Easter.
- Pray for more rain!
- Pray for us as we celebrate Easter. Easter tends to be very emotional for me. I can’t get past the fact that God chose to send His only Son to earth to die for my sins. God had to watch His Son die a brutal death. Now, after watching Hannah die, I can feel a bit of what God felt, and I can’t get used to it. Not that I want to grow accustom to this feeling. It’s just hard to attend Easter services and celebrate with the boys when my heart is hurting so badly. Pray that God would give me wisdom for how to handle the raw emotions that Easter brings.