“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Since Becky’s death I’ve been surprised to find that Becky’s absence from my life is much more pervasive than was her presence. When Becky lived her adult life I rarely saw her. She was hundreds of miles away and immersed in a demanding academic program. Her life as wife and mother would’ve been enough to limit our contact, but add school and we spoke only every other week or so. We got to see each other at holidays, before or after our annual Grandmapa Camp, and at those times when Jacob and Becky needed help to meet the demands of their schedules. Even though I seldom saw Becky there was a Becky underlay to my life. I knew where she was and for the most part what she was doing. I knew she was stressed, but OK. I knew she was busy and involved, but that I could touch base with her fairly quickly via email or Facebook or phone. Becky was absent, but ever present.
But now Becky is gone. In reality many of the statements I made in the prior paragraph still apply. She is far away and immersed in another life. She is still an underlay to my life – she will always be my middle daughter. I know she is OK and, in fact, happier than I can imagine. But the undeniable reality is that I have no means to communicate with her. I can’t email her or call her or Facebook her or go to see her. There is a Becky absence in my life.
When Becky was present I rarely thought of her with longing. When I knew she was struggling with something I prayed frequently for her, but in general my thoughts were at peace about her. Now it is as if there is a Becky program playing continually in my brain. I long to see her and speak to her again. So many crazy little things remind me of her. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Sisters, Oregon as I write this and a couple of minutes ago someone said the word ‘pharmacy’ in a conversation behind me – a conversation of which I wasn’t even aware until that word cropped up. Immediately I thought of Becky. This continual Becky trigger feels like the heightened response that comes when something threatens me and adrenaline is injected into my body. This is emotional adrenaline and it has been active now for five months. I’m weary and I’m ready for it to stop.
Do I want to forget Becky? No way. I never want to lose my memories of Becky. But I do want to lose the automatic physical, emotional, and mental response to all things remotely related to her. I take hope in the fact that person after person who has lost a child to death assures me that my grief will change. I will always miss Becky and mourn what might have been, but there will come a day when missing Becky is more routine and grief is not so readily triggered. I look forward to that day.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31