That Face

"Bereaved people are like ducks above the surface. Looking composed and unruffled...below the surface, paddling like crazy." ~ Author Unknown

"I know that face... it's my face."

One of my coworkers was commenting yesterday on how well another coworker was handling the sudden loss of her only son at five days shy of one year old last month. As I looked at her in disbelief and tried not to look hurt, I corrected her. I said, "I see her smile and my heart breaks all over again because I know that face... it's my face. I wear that face everyday. She is not handling it well. It's just a face." I told her that this is something no one can "handle". You just keep putting one foot in front of the others and pray that time moves a little faster so that you can get home and take off that face. You have to put it on to go to work, to go see family, and some days, you have to put it on before you can even get out of bed. She agreed, but she will never fully understand and I pray she never has to.

My husband and I enjoy the show "Lie to Me" on Fox and the last episode we watched showed a lady who talked of her great expectations for her weekend with her family. She committed suicide the next day and no one knew why. She seemed so happy but the main character analyzed her "micro-expressions" and slowed down the tape so that her true agony was visible on her face. Sometimes, I wonder if people can see through my "face" or hear the edge that I hear in my voice. I know that I am a different person now. I am less tolerant. I am exhausted all the time. I sleep but I don't rest. I am a mother with no child to kiss. I wonder if all of that shows in my face.

This Easter is the first major holiday without Raelyn. Her due date was January 26 so this was the first holiday we would have really celebrated with her here. It is so hard for me to wrap my heart around the fact that I had planned to teach her the true significance of this holiday and tell her about her Savior and what He sacrificed for her and now... now she is living it! She can sit on His lap and listen to His story firsthand all because of His sacrifice. The hope that we have in Christ that we can be saved from our sins, see our loved ones again, and live eternally in Heaven with Him is all because of His sacrifice on the cross.

But that's not all! His sacrifice provided for His children a promise here on Earth. "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." ~Isaiah 53:4-5. Christ carried our sorrows and brought us peace and healing through His death. I don't have to carry my own sorrow or search out my own peace. All I have to do is turn to Christ and lay my grief before Him. I say that lightly but it is difficult for me to do. I can lay it down, but it seems that I turn right around and snatch it back up again, lay it across my shoulders and continue through life, stooped over underneath the weight of it all. Sometimes I feel that if I lay my grief at His feet that I will be leaving her behind, so I pick it back up and hold it close to my chest. My head knows the Word and the freedom it can bring to my life, but sometimes there is not enough room for that depth of understanding in this grieving mama's heart.

I know that you are for me
I know that you are for me
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are
~~Kari Jobe--"You Are For Me"~~


Julie said...

Your title says it all. Paddling madly away beneath the surface. Until a day like yesterday when I bumped into a friend who gets where I am at, then it was freestyle grief everywhere.

I have wondered about the concept of laying grief at the foot of the cross. Is it like laying fear or burdens down? I don't think so because at the root of grief is love. Are we called to lay love down?

Its a process, laying things before Christ. Little by little we discover we carry things that Christ already dealt with, and in that discovery we have release from the burden of carrying it.

Our relationships and the depth of love we have given and experienced is all that really matters. Your grief is a reflection of your deep love.

Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves just because we are Christian, we also have to remember we are human. Peace be with you.

Kimberly Rose Carolan said...

I completely understand what you are talking about. Many people assume someone who has lost someone they love are "over it" if they can smile and "appear" okay, but really we do need to cry and to be honest, and that is something we can do with others and, most importantly, God. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Kim Carolan

Rebekah said...

It's hard to smile through the pain at times. I wonder sometimes if people can see through my mask and sometimes wonder what masks other people are wearing. From their reactions I generally seem to have them fooled. I'm sorry there are so many people at your work who can relate to the pain but glad there's support for everyone. ((hugs))