we are clear into the second month of the year and i have hardly stopped to reflect. not because i have been so busy, but because i have not been able to verbalize (or write about) so much of what has been swirling around inside me. in the wake of a rough december and january, i am mostly just hoping to make it to spring before the chill of the winter sets in for good.
the deep sorrow that took up residence in my heart last year worked its way into every corner of my life and before i knew it i was struggling with a thick and unmistakable depression. it reminds me, now that i look back, of one of those tar pits where everything sticks together and the more you move around, the more stuck you get. it was deep and real and making me think things that are not usually typical of my brain.
when you lose someone to suicide, a second father who you never had a single negative interaction with in the entire 30 years of knowing him, its like a stinging slap in the face that leaves your ears ringing and somehow throws off the equilibrium you had going. and it made me question so many things. almost everything really. the questions were not about tom's ultimate fate. the questions were not about God and his ability to hold on to his children even in their moments of being unable to hold on to Him. those things i did, and do, have a firm grasp on. tom loved the lord and, more importantly, God loved and still loves tom. and by God's grace, our savior has never lost a single one of the sheep of his flock. so i have peace and rest and assurance about tom and his Christ and their union together.
but all that ringing in my ears kept so much truth out, and kept all the questions in. but the questions weren't in my mind, where i could rationally deal with them, they were somehow so much deeper in my soul, where they caused havoc and pinged around on my insides like shards of glass, cutting and wounding with every contact.
i was insecure about everything. if he could be in such a desperate place and i did not know, and nobody knew, then who else in my life is in that place right now? and what should i do about it? i must do something because what if someone else dies like he did, in sorrow, and i did not stop it... this is my responsibility. and is my husband happy? because i have to make him happy enough to make sure that he never gets like that. and its my responsibility. and if tom could go there in his mind, couldn't i? what if i do? what will happen?... and i lost it folks. i just lost it.
and i could not talk about it, especially to people in my life who didnt know him or understand how significant the loss was. i could not talk about it because i could not think about it. so i just sat in the tar and let it cover me in a sticky dark, stagnant, suffocating mess.
until someone, a beautiful and wonderful and compassionate someone who knows who she is, actually sat down with me and asked about it. and asked in a way that was not quick or hurried or obligatory. and she actually wanted to sit there and listen to the thoughts that i was vomiting up, even though they were unfiltered and not clarified. and somehow those minutes sitting in little tiny chairs at the kids table in my kitchen started to let the air back in.
and i started to realize that all of the things pinging around inside my soul, were vicious untruths, based in deception, planted by the evil one, with intent to destroy me. and i felt a breeze begin to circulate in my soul again. and little by little, as more and more friends took the time to ask, i began to breathe again. and truth, the good and perfect truth that is and always has been found in the Word, took up residence again in the wounded part of me. and with each breath, more and more of the balm that is God's grace covered me and started to deflect the thoughts that had been keeping me in darkness.
and so now im here, in february, finally starting to thaw out. the pain of the loss of my dear godfather is real, and here, and its not going anywhere. the sorrow of the lost future i had with him will never go away. and im still walking day by day, wrestling with the knowledge of reality and severity of depression and the toll it takes on those who are under its weight. but its now informed by the truth, by God's grace, and consistency. its influence by the knowledge that i am not responsible to keep my loved ones back from the brink of destruction because i cannot be everything to anyone because that is God's place. its is replaced by the trust in who God is, and was, and will be. and its sweetened by perfect and incorruptible memories of a man i loved, and love, and will always love.
and now, a deep breath in and out.