Judson's Legacy

Bag of Cement

The relational dynamics in grief are very challenging and I am discovering they are actually getting harder with the progression of time.  With each passing minute it feels as though the unstated expectation from others for me to be doing better grows stronger, but my “healing” is not progressing at that same rate.  Hence, I regularly feel as though I am not meeting people’s expectations.

At the core, I have a desire, like most, to be in relationships where I feel known and accepted.  Yet, for me to now be known, people have to continue to engage and accept my still very-present loss and heartache, which will likely be necessary for quite some time.  I recognize this is not easy; it is very hard.

And it hurts to know it is hard.

It hurts to know that entering into any kind of depth of relationship with me is a hefty commitment.  It hurts to recognize that by simply being a person who has lost my son I am a hard person to engage.  It hurts to know that I cannot change this.

It is a very isolating experience, adding to my already significant pain.

Another grieving mother I have come to know electronically expressed similar thoughts recently:

I am having an awful day. I have been crying since I woke up this morning. I am sure no one really wants to hear that but, it is what it is. I know people expect that we will be moving along quite nicely by this time and will be “healed”. That’s just not how it goes. I think everyone [else just] wants to be able to move on themselves and that may be why they want us to be “all better”, so they don’t have to feel guilty about not wanting to deal with us anymore. I can imagine that supporting a grief stricken parent would not be much fun.  It is never ending and most likely draining.  While people’s lives rotate and begin anew every day, a “stuck in the mud” [grieving] mother can probably feel like a bag full of cement around their legs. Believe me, I [wish I were not] holding on by my finger nails, but I am.  And I am what I am…  I hate that I have to pretend to be OK.  I hate that this is too hard for others to handle. (L Taylor)

I remember sitting with a friend and thanking her for her friendship while acknowledging that it was probably difficult to be in relationship with me now.  She quickly responded, “It is hard!  But…”  Interestingly, I don’t even remember what she said next, I just recall being struck by her honesty as she affirmed the challenge, and though I appreciated her frankness, my heart sank.  It exposed what I already perceived—my grief is hard for people, in turn, making ME hard for people.

This reality seemingly leaves me with three options.  First, I can withdraw from people to protect myself from pain…but this only compounds the issues of isolation.  Second, in the words of our grief counselor, I can “fake it” and act like I’m doing okay…but this leaves no room for real, authentic, transparent relationship.  Third, I can risk being the “bag of cement” around people’s legs and share what I really feel…but this makes me vulnerable to more rejection when my heart is already so tender.

I’ve discovered that I fluctuate between the three.  Sometimes I retreat, sometimes I “fake it,” and sometimes I risk and share openly (though subtle rejection may ensue).  None of these are great options, the third probably being the best of the three but carrying the most risk.  Yet, I don’t know if there are any alternative choices for me. 

However, some friends have made my choice easy by inviting me with sensitivity and understanding to “go there” with them, offering safety in our relationship.  Though I imagine it is hard for them, their risk removes my dilemma.  By directly asking me to share how I am truly doing, without judgment or expectation, I am given the greatest social gift on this journey of loss—the opportunity to be honest about my feelings without feeling like I’m “a bag of cement” to them.

I sure am grateful for the handful of people in my life who do regularly reach out, acknowledging and embracing me in my pain, while minimizing my feelings of isolation.  You know who you are – THANK YOU!


6 Responses to "Bag of Cement"

  1. lisa taylor says:

    Today I listened to a song that Catherine Crilly has on her newest video of Beautiful Carmen. It is called "M don’t wanna get over you", by Magnetic Fields. I immediately down-loaded it and have it on repeat. Two hours later, I am dancing around like some crazy lady screaming "I don’t wanna get over you". I of course am singing to my Jaden and loadly for all the rest of the world to hear. I don’t want to get over him. And I don’t have to, so I won’t!!!!!!!! AND I WON’T GET OVER JUD, WITH YOU EITHER! I love you Judson’s mommy.

    -Lisa Taylor (Jaden’s mommy)

  2. Jen says:

    Albert Camus once said, "Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."

    It has and will always be an honor and a pleasure to walk beside you in friendship, Christina. Walking, crawling, running…you are not alone.

    There might be concrete around your feet, but those who love you will help lift you up and carry you. We will carry you until you break free of the concrete (unbearable grief) and feel only the joyous weight of Judson’s soul resting on your heart.

  3. 44059 says:

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile here from bonny scotland (we’re missionaries over here). I’ve been praying for you for awhile, especially in the mornings (here time), knowing that you’ve probably not gotten out of bed yet, and how it might be difficult for you to get up some days.

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your honesty in your grief. I have a friend here in Scotland who lost a baby in later pregnancy. She’s not a Christian, but it has been so helpful for me to be able to feel like I can appropriately respond to her grief, and that’s in large part due to reading your blog and learning, as I have not experienced grief in the way that you and my friend have.

    So, thank you. I appreciate this post, it helps me know how I can be there for her, even though it has been 6 months now, knowing that her grief is still really raw. It has been in large part to your honesty that I have been able to show her Jesus’ love for her through this season of her life.

    Thank you, Christina.


  4. 33943 says:

    I wish I lived close enough to you to be a "real" friend. I would love to be there for you and help carry you through this immense grief. Know that I continue to think about you all the time and pray for you and your family often.


  5. 42524 says:

    I know that I am just a stranger in this cyber-world, but I am heart broken for you as I read this. I so do not want you to feel like you are a "bag of cement" to anyone. The loss that you are enduring is too much for you to bear without having to feel that way in your relationships too. I understand that that is a normal way for you to feel… but I hate it for you! You and your feelings and your friendship is valuable to those that know you, I am sure! I understand the frustration that you feel in knowing that others are getting worn down by the place that you are (or are not) at in your journey through grief, but I pray that there are those that are unconditionally there to listen to you and carry your burdens with you – as much as is possible. I hope that, if by only my prayers and my cyber-support, I am one that you feel a small bit of unconditional love from. By hearing your heart through your blog, I am not worn down at all by you but am inspired by you. You are a wonderful woman Christina! You are full of insights and faith and realness that many people long to be a part of. Keep being yourself and pressing into this process.

    With love,

  6. Kristy Harrang says:

    Reading this (as well as many of your blogs) – causes me to love you more and more deeply. You are an amazing person. You are a blessing. While it may hurt to engage in your pain (as those who are much closer than I am to you know much better than I), and while walking this road with you may not be easy for those who choose to do so – the value to walking with you is more than words can say. I feel honored to walk with you. I have learned more from you and through your beautiful transparency than you will ever know. You are who you are. You are at where you are at. And you don’t fall short. I think you are wonderful! And I think God is proud of his beautiful daughter Christina.

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