March is a particularly difficult month for my wife and I. Jacob’s birthday and his death day come and go on the 3rd and the 26th. Winter overcast has taken its toll but the seasonal depression is lifting. Its has been 2 years this month since Jake overdosed, he would have been 24. I want to reflect back a little on this journey and evaluate myself and what has changed in me over the worst period of my life. Grief has changed me, this is what has changed to date.
Death is the great awakener to the value of relationships. Those closest to me have become nearer and dearer. My love for my God, my wife, my kids and my friends has deepened. Time is an un-renewable resource in this life, time spent with people is priceless and has taken on a much different meaning than it once did.
My job is great, it is at work that I spend most of my time with Jesus. There is nobody in this life I would rather spend time with than Stacey my wife. My kids take a close second and a perfect day is to be with them all at once.
change of interests
Passions in my life have drastically altered. I am more single minded in my pursuits and the things that once gave me a charge are pretty much dead throw away batteries now. Hunting, fishing and various sports were once a pursuit of mine but now have slowed to a snails pace or dead all together. I can take it, but mostly I want to leave it. I don’t enjoy much conversation in those subjects and find myself wanting to withdraw from people who are impassioned about them. I would say interest in theology and bible study has increased, as well as my desire to share, teach and write about the God who love’s me.
I vacation much more than I ever have. My wife has converted me into a beach bum and I like to go to Alaska to see my friend Dan. Dan is there for the fishing, I go to get away and to spend time with my friend. I do a lot more getting away (escaping) these days.
I would say I am a little more tender with people but in the same breath I will admit I have less tolerance for nonsense. I don’t listen to music, mainly because it draws out emotions I rather not deal with. I have no song in my heart yet, I don’t hum or whistle or sing in church- I feel that this is changing some now.
I used to follow politics closely but now am extremely irritated by it all and wish never to enter the dialogue. I have enough problems of my own I can’t fix, my vote won’t change the course of America so I choose not to.
Disappointments in life seem much more magnified and difficult to bear than before. I have become more guarded and less hopeful for fear of disappointment, loss and pain.
Chaos and noise are more bothersome than before and not wanting to be around children is an issue with me. This poses a daily problem because I am an elementary school custodian.
There is a lingering daily sadness I still have. I don’t laugh and joke like I once did. I have always been serious or silly but till now silly is out and serious seems to be the prevailing mood.
I have more gray hair in my beard, less on my scalp and more on my back. Gravity is doing a job on me and it isn’t pretty. I work out and lose weight so I can get fat when I go to Mexico each spring.
Psychological and spiritual changes
About a month ago I went to see a traumatic grief counselor. I had never sought help up till then but I was struggling with things I could not resolve on my own. I was having constant nightmares for about 6 months. I would wake up with the sensation of being held down and being choked. I thought it was acid reflux, eating too late and merely a physical issue. I made the necessary adjustments but nothing changed. I went to see Tim and described my experiences of waking up in fear and the feeling of being choked. We discussed the spiritual possibilities in the matter and he gave me advice on how to pray. We prayed together, and I prayed that God would deliver me. He heard our prayers and the problem has left me.
The death of my son made me wrestle with God. Theological issues I once thought I understood have come to the surface. I have learned to search the Scriptures for answers to questions that cause me trouble. My theology of suffering has changed. My theology of providence, sovereignty, pain, death, grief and much more has broadened and deepened in the last 2 years.
What I would like to change
I would like to feel normal, I don’t feel normal anymore. I would like my irritations and intolerance’s to diminish. I want to be kind, I don’t feel like I show kindness.
This will sound odd but I want to think of Jacob more than I do. I wanted to write today of a story about something in his life- I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I started, stopped, deleted and did this instead. Sorry for the disappointment! My thoughts of his life are snapshots and not stories. The memories are just short peeks into his life and that is all.
I’m welling up now…just thought about what he would say to me in this moment. He was such an encourager, I loved that about my boy. He knew how to comfort and love people from the heart. I guess that is something I would like to change in myself in the coming months. That I may learn how to better love and comfort others like he did.
Much has changed and much will change in the future. Some is good and some is bad. I suppose the time of reflection has been good for me to measure my healing and to evaluate the direction I need to head. March madness is here, March sucks, but I will march on!