I wrote a poem one day called “The Mystery of the Couch”. It was a dark poem, but it helped me to express what was going on inside of me that day. I felt a relief after getting my words out on paper… about what I had been feeling inside for a long time now.
The very day after I wrote it, I read something in a post on Facebook that I’m sure God wanted me to see – especially after pouring my heart out in my poem.
The quote was, “to everything there is a season”.
I thought to myself, “Thank you Jesus for speaking to me through this simple post that wasn’t even posted to me!” Isn’t it good how God works through others? This is one way that Jesus speaks to people. Jesus was letting me know that I was definitely going to come through this dark place, because now I am reminded that it is “a season“, and we all know that seasons don’t last forever. We will flourish again. Sharing with others and reading God’s Word is part of what keeps us all going.
This was a great way to start my day, especially after the darkness that washed over me the day before. For me, the (devil’s) PTSD and depression consume me sometimes still.
I have learned a technique called “Surfing the Wave”. Basically, it’s a skill that I can use right away (wherever I am). When the intense feelings come, I am to “observe and describe”, and breathe through them as they wash over me, “with no judgement” .
It’s good not to judge yourself and your reactions to things; like, “Oh I’m so stupid!”, or “I can’t believe I’m doing this AGAIN!” Or “Gosh! What is wrong with me?” It really does “lower my level of suffering” in the moment, and even more so over time, as I practice these skills of non-judgement of myself, others, and situations that just come up in daily life.
Do the feelings come back? Of course they do. Do I have a new way to process my way through them? Yes! I do! Do the feelings then go away? For that moment, yes. Do they come back? Yes, sometimes. Then what?
Then I use the techniques that I am learning in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It’s just one of the many skills I am learning as I am working my way through the grieving process.
Jesus and DBT therapy have kept me alive and going for almost a year now. I’m letting my readers know right here, today, that – in the beginning, I did think about ending my life as things just kept falling apart at the seams. I just got too far-gone in grief and didn’t have enough skills or wherewithal to deal with it. I closed myself off and went inside – as if trying to keep the rain from falling on my head.
A lot of other negative things all happened at the same time; some of which included: of course, the death of my only son, the death of my dad, the death of my brother, the deaths of two aunts, the deaths of an uncle and a cousin consecutively – all within about 1-2 months apart from each other. Seriously it almost felt like the rapture had happened and we just got left behind! I’m not even kidding.
Practically my entire family was ripped away from me, (including my daughters and grandchildren – their choice, don’t know why), and it is still this way to this day. I never imagined any of this could ever even HAPPEN to a person. It felt like almost EVERYONE close to me had just suddenly evaporated or died, and I never saw ANY of it coming. I felt like I had gotten run over by a freight train. It hurt my heart to the core. It STILL hurts my heart to the core. Grief on top of grief on top of grief on top of grief.
But I know that whatever you focus on, is what becomes magnified in your life. At a time like this, I understand that it’s hard to focus on the good things. Believe me, I do try every day. BUT we must at least try, in order to get through it (with our souls and brains still intact!).
Don’t be ashamed to own the truth of your experience; even if others do not understand your emotions as you struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Your truth is your truth!
The death of a child (or anyone you are really close to) is not easy; and we need all the help we can get. So I’m going for it! Do I want to be going through this process? No way! Should I continue to keep fighting against it at every turn? No. Why? Because it actually ‘raises’ my level of suffering to fight against the feelings/emotions rather than go with them. My old beliefs would have me think that to “go with them” would lead me into the pit of despair. But the exact opposite is true. Who knew?
Another skill that I have learned to use a lot is a technique called “Radical Acceptance“. I have to accept the things that I can do nothing about (even though I desperately still want to sometimes). I’m not gonna lie – it’s hard. But I can say that when I fight it, it ‘raises’ my level of suffering. And when I use my “Radical Acceptance” skills, I am able to ‘lower’ my level of suffering and anxiety.
I cannot do anything about the fact that my heart was shattered when I lost my son in a tragic fire. I can never change that. I can’t change the fact that I basically have no family anymore except my husband and sister (whom I am SO grateful for), and some dear supportive friends. I can’t change the fact that my heart STILL feels shattered at times.
But I am learning that at least there is a way now for me to control SOMETHING – myself! I still feel the suffering, but now I can choose to lower my level of it. I never knew that I could practically use tools to actually do this before. What a concept! Thank God! I CAN and will get through this journey/process with His help and with the help of my new skills.
The gift? Is there a gift? Yes. (There’s always a gift in the midst of the storm.) We just have to believe it and train ourselves to see it – and that is not easy sometimes, especially when gift wrapping is not so great.
My precious husband and I are learning these DBT skills together, and it helps us so so much. We are together (on the same page) now with our grief and with life in general. We are walking together in our understanding (and our “new normal”), instead of apart.
We are closer to each than we’ve ever been. We seek God even more. We finally have a common ground and tools with which to relate to each other (even in just regular old everyday communication); and we will now be able to share in all of this together – on the same page – on the same journey – for the rest of our lives.
For us (as a couple especially) it is so important to be able to recognize that when disagreements come, it is not your loved one that you are in disagreement with, it is the enemy (the devil) whose mission is basically to break up your family (among other things). I wish everyone could know this and keep it close to their heart all the time.
DBT – A BIG gift – and what a welcomed surprise in the midst of all the pain. A silver lining? I think so. Hopefully one of many. God’s good like that.
A Prayer for all of us:
“Thank You Jesus for blessing every single person pouring their hearts out to you. I know that You see and hear every single one. I know that you are catching every tear. I thank you for helping us to come up out of the dark places to receive your gifts in the midst of the storms.
Thank you for giving us all a way to be like a tree…..
Feet firmly planted in the ground where the roots go deep. Our arms can flail about in the storm, blowing this way and that. But by grounding ourselves with Your Words and the help of others, the winds may continue to blow; but we will not be moved in Jesus name”. “Amen.”
Peace and comfort to you all as we “Continue on this Journey ~ Together.