Day 18 ~ Missing

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

The three of us, Tom, Kelsey and I were at the theater watching “The Hunger Games:Mockingjay” shortly after its release, and when we heard the character, Finnick say these words, we all thought the same thing.  It was Tom who whispered to Kelsey, “Do me a favor and write that down…I’ll want to think about it later.”, as we all nodded in shared agreement.

It had only been a little over four months – 16 weeks – since the death of our son, and Kelsey’s brother, Brett.  We were still very much trying to navigate the debilitating storm of grief that would catch us up in violent waves, sometimes as individuals, sometimes in pairs or even all together.  At best we were trying to find distractions (like going to the movies) that would force us to stop focusing solely on the one thing we were utterly powerless to do – and that was bring him back.

Funny how something as random as a quote from a movie can be used by God to speak to a need, if we’re able to hear it….because I see that moment as a beginning.  I started to realize that the times when I totally gave in to the grief – did nothing else but sit in my room, shaking and mourning in the deepest places of my heart for too long, it would inevitably take several days to recover – to catch my footing and find forward motion again.  So I very slowly began to focus on not falling apart, rather than having to be put back together.  I would “save” sorrow, as best I could, for the weekends, as I wrote thousands of words in an effort to try to wrap my head around what had happened to my family, but even in that, there was a danger of lingering too long…..

It’s now been nearly eight months since our family of four became three – still an unbelievably short time to adjust to this gaping hole in our lives – but somehow by God’s grace and trying to “manage” the times of deepest grief, we are moving ahead.  In fact, I’m quite proud of us!  And I know Brett would be too.  I have fewer all-out meltdowns; it’s been several weeks now, which is why last night caught me by surprise…..

I was looking on my phone for a voice message from Kelsey when I suddenly wondered how far back my messages went.  And that is how I happened to stumble across a voice message sent to me from Brett almost exactly one year ago – on my birthday.  Tom and Kelsey had gone out and I was home alone.  I knew hearing his voice would be like throwing myself into the deep, and I didn’t do it right away.  But soon longing got the better of me, and I pressed “play.”

I don’t think I breathed for the minute and 16 seconds of hearing my boy’s voice singing “Happy Birthday” to me and asking me to call him back – “or not, because, ya know…it’s your birthday and you can do whatever you want.”   =)   And I did cry… my heart fell under the familiar, heavy anvil that I’ve come to expect, but then something happened that I totally did NOT expect, (and the reason I’m sharing this extremely personal moment in my blog about Lent!):  I started smiling…..and then laughing.  And I can attest to the fact that crying and laughing at the same time are indeed possible because that’s how I listened to that message.  There was grief….and longing….but also such a familiar feeling of joy and fun and the playfulness of my son that I had to smile and just embrace the gift of a heartbreaking, but precious moment I’ll always remember as another…..beginning.

When I felt led to write a daily blog through this year’s season of Lent, I knew it would difficult.  I knew I would have days like today, when it would be impossibly hard to NOT write the personal side of my own Lenten journey.  But I do believe God is using this place to meet us, day after day, reminding us that because Jesus suffered, he is acquainted with ours.  God has not left us helpless or comfortless, but longs to hold us close and tight while the storm rages. The discipline of finding God in each new day is helping me to see that this sorrow will not own my life forever….if I can find laughter, even now, as I hear Brett’s voice teasing me in a year old phone message, this must be a sign of healing….

I’m closing with a song used in the slideshow for Brett’s memorial service.  I think it sums up what I believe God is saying to me tonight, and to all of us who need to reclaim wonder and laughter, even in difficult times.  In this simple, very Brett-like song, (one of his favorites), God is reminding us to not be so distracted in this life that we “miss the point of our every breath.”  May God continue to hold us all in his tender care.  <3

“Missing” ~ Olivia the Band

Take a look around
Tell me what you see
Do your eyes sing of un-describable things
You’ve never heard or even seen

If you take the time you’ll see
There’s something missing

You’re missing the fun
Missing the run
Missing it all
You’re missing me
Missing the point
Of your every breath
Missing it all
You’re missing me

From up here my view is clear
I see the tears fall from your eyes caused by fear
Of the unknown of being alone

If you take the time you’ll see
There’s something missing

You’re missing the fun
Missing the run
Missing it all
You’re missing me
Missing the point
Of your every breath
Missing it all
You’re missing me

The growing grass, the blowing wind, the shooting stars you see
If you look close enough you’ll notice that they’re all written by me

You’re missing the fun
Missing the run
Missing it all
You’re missing me
Missing the point
Of your every breath
Missing it all
You’re missing me

You’re missing the fun
Missing the run
Missing it all
You’re missing me
Missing the point
Of your every breath
Missing it all
You’re missing me

You’re missing me..
Missing me

About Shellie

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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2 Responses to Day 18 ~ Missing

  1. victoria hardiman says:

    Shellie, I cried as I read your words about Brett. It’s been 14+ years since Kirsten died and we still get caught off guard by a memory or a photo. Falling apart is agonizingly painful but that is when we put ourselves unreservedly in God’s care.

    • Shellie says:

      Oh Victoria, I’ve thought of you, Keith and your family so often, and I’m so glad you found me here! I see your faith standing the test of time and it gives me such hope that we will go on, “unreservedly in God’s care.” Thank you so much for your encouragement, and may God continue to hold and bless your heart at well.

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