I don’t even know how to start this post, because there have been so many things playing over in my mind lately. But today, I had the privilege of spending time with some ladies that understand the grief of losing a child. Many of these special ladies lost a child to an overdose, but some lost a child from different circumstances. Regardless of the way we lost our child, we understand each other’s pain. For the first time, my daughter decided to go with me today. I was glad to see her stepping out of her comfort zone to share her loss with others today. I think that it helped her to know that others understood, because she was able to relate to one lady’s experience in particular. It’s a terrible thing to say, but it feels good to know that you are not alone in your pain. I can’t explain the comfort I feel in talking with these ladies and sharing our stories. We share, cry, and comfort each other in our pain. And the thing that helps the mostl is that there’s no judgement placed on us or our children because of the way they died. We can share openly and freely. It’s really a beautiful spectacle when you see the compassion and empathy that we have for each other. I am so very thankful for this group of ladies. They help me more than they know.
As we ate, shared our stories, and comforted each other, we discussed the emotional pain we feel and how there’s no bandaid for that type of pain. As I sat there and thought about that, I thought about what I had just read in a book shared by our hostess. In this book, the author shared Gary Christensen’s story. If you’ve lived in Knoxville for any length of time, you know this story. Mr. Christensen’s daughter was horrifically tortured and murdered around 10-12 years ago. In this book, he talked about how he had prayed daily that God would protect his children. After this tragic loss, he talked about how he turned his back on God. Those words struck a chord with me, because I did the same thing. I am in no way comparing our losses, but I completely understand that feeling of anger. I never, in a million years, ever thought that I would feel anger towards God….but I did. My whole belief system came into question, because I couldn’t understand how God would allow Aaron to die when I had prayed for his deliverance from drugs. I had been raised to believe that when we asked….we would receive. And had had asked….and asked….and asked, but Aaron wasn’t spared. I could not understand why my prayer wasn’t answered. You can pass judgment on me if you like, but let me tell you….you NEVER know how you will respond to something until it happens to you. I never thought I would ever feel this way and I couldn’t understand how people got angry with God. But once I walked in the shoes of a grieving parent, I experienced emotions I never knew was possible….I questioned things I had believed my entire life. Tragedy shakes you to your core…it changes you into someone you don’t know.
After losing Aaron, I was torn between my anger, my loss,and my beliefs. I tried to rest on my faith and to lean on my Creator, but there was a war waging in my heart and my head. I tried going to church, but I found no comfort there. I found no comfort in being around others at church. So, I quit going. After losing Aaron, I attended church a couple of times…maybe up to five times. But since then, I haven’t darkened the doors of a church. I’m not proud of that, but I want others to know, that you aren’t a derelict if you experience these emotions. As I struggled through these feelings, I searched for blogs, books….anything that talked about feeling anger towards God. And you know what, there’s very little out there that discusses this feeling and this state of being. I looked for some comfort out there, that I wasn’t alone in this feeling. Most people don’t discuss this feeling, because it’s something we aren’t supposed to voice. But bottling it up isn’t the answer either…God knows what we are feeling anyway.
I still haven’t made it back to church, but I am working my way back to God. Am I in a good place? No…I’m not. But I have taken a few steps back towards Him. I’m still trying to reconcile my anger and my pain with my belief system. So, to any of you that have experienced this, please know that you aren’t alone. There are others out there that have similar feelings…we just have to find our own path back Home.