Friday, May 20, 2011

Faith Academy

Today Dan and I visited our alma mater, Faith Academy, where we graduated from high school back in 1999.  It's an awesome school, swarming with students from around the world, and the campus itself has been drastically remodeled in recent years. It was exciting to walk around, chatting with old teachers and friends.  Here's Dan and I in their new Fine Arts building.... it's huge, air-conditioned, and equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics.  Awesome!
I also felt sort of crazy. (Those of you who know me are probably thinking, "She finally figured it out!")

As I've mentioned before, one of the most difficult aspects of grief work is the sudden wash of emotions, the kind that take me from being a friendly, caring person to being a sobbing mess within moments, though not usually in public.  I can turn on a dime from acting like a "normal" person (whatever that is) to being pretty scary.

No, there were no crazy blow-ups today.  I didn't do anything nutty.  I don't have any new tattoos.  Instead, I felt really cheerful and happy up on campus, as if I were a carefree 17 year old again.  But I'm not.  I wonder how I can be doing "so well" and yet feel so crappy.  How is this possible?  How am I still functional?

Perhaps I shouldn't ask "how" I'm still functional and just be thankful that I am.  I can get up in the morning, I can cook food for my family.  I can smile and chat, at least some of the time.
Part of the problem is that when I do feel fine, (like today) I experience such guilt afterwards.  How can I be so cheerful (and even happy) when I've lost the apple of my eye, my beautiful baby Vincent?  How can I act as if life has been favorable to us when I've seen my child slowly die before my eyes, the cancer literally eating him away?  After valiantly fighting the aggressive cancer cells for months, he lost the war, exhausted from his chemo treatments, engorged with tumors.  I remember bringing him home from the hospital for the last time. I can still see his little body slowly shrinking for 11 horrible freaking days on hospice, living quietly without food or water, surviving solely on love and morphine.  How in God's name do I "get over" that?  That is NOT OK.

And yet, somehow inside, I find myself still loving God, experiencing feelings of hope and evendare I say it joy.  I should be excited about that, but I'm not.  It makes me feel that somehow I'm cheating Vincent as well as the deepest part of me which seems to be locked in a very long primal scream.

What's difficult too is that there are no visible signs of grieving in our culture. We don't wear black or put sackcloth and ashes on our heads.  There is no immediate way for people to know when something horrible has happened to you.  You look somewhat normal on the outside.  And if you talk to me for a few minutes, you might think I'm fine.

And sometimes I am.  I would call that a small miracle.


Anonymous said...

Oh Rebecca...I somehow wish that you could be disconnected from the guilt at having good days. I can imagine that Vincent would want his Mommy to be experiencing joy and even well as many other things, as he is looking down from Heaven.

And still, while I cannot relate to your journey and grief, I can imagine that I might feel the same way a mother, I know your heart of love toward your children....and I cannot say that I wouldn't feel as strongly. I'm praying that you are able to come to that place of rest, where you can live without any quilt, because the matter was entirely out of your control. You did EVERYTHING humanly possible for your beautiful little were the example that many of us needed to see, of love, commitment, hope...and I believe with all my heart that you are going to come out of this valley of the shadow of death - this place of weeping that endures for the night, dancing with the joy that comes in the morning. I don't know when...but I believe.

Praying for you...that God will envelop your aching heart today. (((HUGS)))

Hilary said...

Aww...seeing those pics took me right back to summer of '99 when I heard all about Dan and Faith Academy! Neat to see you two there again knowing God brought you together. Praying for times of refreshing for you both.

Jan said...

Becca...I think that you are just never can tell someone's personal hell by the look on their face. The fact that you know that, and that you get up everyday and do the things that you need to for yourself an your family is awesome. And I know that there is pain behind that beautiful smile...but I will enjoy the smile and accept that are incredible and I am so happy to call you my friend...