Grief doesn't maintain a schedule; there's definitely no timeline. Everyone grieves differently. Some stages you get through, thinking there's smooth sailing ahead, and then it all comes crashing down on you again. Everything I read tells me this; I just want the hurt to get better for all three of us.
In our family, Ben is finally grieving. He's kept the majority of his emotions bottled up, just underneath the surface. He's my reflective child, the deep thinker who I sometimes think has the answers to all of the world's problems. But he doesn't have his daddy anymore, and he finally came to grips with that after we returned home from Spring Break. From not wanting to talk about Daddy at all, he now is okay with us discussing him, although it brings tears. I tell him the tears are healing; I'm not sure he's convinced.
He is lucky. He has an older brother to comfort him; Andrew's been through this already, and even though Ben's emotions pull both Andrew and me back to a place we just thought we'd put behind us, he still consoles his little brother. I try my best to keep us all going, but bedtime for the past week has been so hard. They cry. I cry. I pray. They pray. We hold one another as closely as possible. It's all we know to do.
Ben has great support at school. His counselor is an angel to us all; she took both boys out of class last week and spent quite a bit of time with them. The principal took Ben into his office and shared his own personal story of loss and grief with him. Ben's dealing with many emotions, one of which is anger. I told him God can take it; I've been mad at both God and Mark at various times since last July.
I will never understand God's plan when it includes taking a vibrant, loving, hands-on Christian daddy from two young sons. I guess I don't have to. A close family friend told me that I will understand it all whenever I am face to face with Jesus. Only then will it all make sense. In the meantime, while we're left here, I just have to accept that He knows what He is doing. I pray that good will come out of all of this pain and grief.
Baseball season is upon us, and watching that blonde lanky 10 year old on the field makes my heart skip a beat. Flash back 40 years, and it could be his dad stroking a rope to center field, or making the play at first base. He loves the game, and the game loves him.
So, we're making it. Mark's mom and his sister, Kathy, travel to Wichita Falls tomorrow. They haven't been here since his services in August. We're all looking forward to the visit, but know it will be bittersweet.
Andrew commented tonight on how we're doing as we drove home, just the two of us in the jeep; I told him I thought we were doing okay, considering the crappy circumstances. I also told him it would get better. His reply? "I don't know how it could get any worse." My answer? "I know how---we could be trying to do this without God."
We went outside to play with Mark's dog, Maggie, who's become our dog. It was just before sunset, and she was elated. As the two boys gave chase to her, and she was outrunning and outsmarting them, I wished for Mark. He would've been laughing louder and harder than the three of us put together. Just as the thought of Mark crossed my mind, I heard honking....three Canada geese flew so low overhead that we could almost touch them. I know in my heart it was no coincidence. Mark was letting us know that he was there.