!Flash Flood Alert!
My sister (in-law) Erin and I have been using the phrase "Flash Flood Alert" often when we expect impending tears to soon occur. And indeed, it felt like this banner was running across my forehead all day yesterday. Of course, my eyes were pretty red from crying so maybe it really was like I had this eye-banner going.
My first full day without Josh in sight was busy as family poured in and we moved around supplies, walked, talked, ate ice cream, bbq and more. A company picked up the hospital bed and other supplies we no longer need which was good but weird. It was felt strange to get rid of these items because Josh used them last, but it was also a bit of a relief to change the focal point of the room. Now there is a strange empty space . . .
There's a lot of empty space and the feelings of such. Leaving home and spending time in public places seems to be a real challenge. As I sit in restaurants, everything seems to be normal to everyone else in the room but to me it feels so abstract. I know our family and friends feel the difference too - Josh is not there with us like he should be. There is a gap. For it feels like the Grand Canyon.
Tears wait like a pounding drum in the distance getting closer and closer (Drums in the deep. They are coming - LOTR). I feel them coming, I try to keep them at bay for a little bit, but soon I break. The tears fall a bit everywhere or behind my glasses (if I have them on). Sometimes, I just have to rush outside to find fresh air or a new scene. Fresh air really helps me recover for a bit. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to rejoin the crowd, but if I don't quickly, it's okay too.
My heart aches, the world is different. In contrast, there is still joy, laughter, hope and most treasured friendships that grow deeper as my heart grieves. There is great joy – God's joy – in being surrounded by people who care so much for me and each other. Friends who are near and dear. Family that loves me greatly and continues to trust me in my crazy service planning and overall weirdness and crying outbursts.
It is a new day. It's early, but still a new day and I'm trusting that God is with me. I thought I would be able to sleep from exhaustion but find myself awake at 1, 2 ...5... 6 etc... writing thoughts, feelings and planning memorial services.
After finally going to sleep a little after 2, I woke before 6 to a quiet sounding home, the silence made me think all the more about my husband not being nearby snoring. I would not open my door today to see his bed even.
In the gaps of silence, I know the Lord is near to me, the brokenhearted. Suddenly, Josh's words of encouragement from the past echo in my mind. Many times over the years, he's said to me, "I'm so proud of you." I would often make a face at him when he said something nice, which he thought was silly. This time though, as I heard the words in my mind, I simply said, "Thanks friend."
Thank you God for a giving me spouse who loved me dearly and the memories of our love and conversations that echo on.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
– Psalm 34:18 (NASB)
God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world. – Psalm 8:9 (The Message)
Goodnight Stars & Morning Tears
Enter Day 1 - I woke up crying, of course.
I tried to sleep last night and although exhausted, I struggled. I couldn't even really think, my mind a mushy mess.
I ended last night outside staring at the stars. When I looked at my watch at 11:45 p.m. I thought, "I can't go to sleep until I see the last moment of this night" – the last night/day spent with Josh here on earth. So I waited. I laid on the patio furniture and gazed at the stars and let the sorrow sink in even more. I finally surrendered at 12:05. I had made it to a new official day.
Going to sleep wasn't easy even after an emotional day. I knew I needed sleep but simply could not. Instead, I watched old TV comedies that I've often enjoyed with Josh. After a few episodes I fell asleep, only to wake up one hour later. Ugh! The second time three hours later. I stirred and immediately felt the need to cry. And did. Ugh!
The support and encouragement pouring in on my text and social media posts are encouraging but result in more tears. I thought, maybe, I had pre-grieved some but nope, still not enough. There's no way to really prepare.
I know this is going to be a long road. My heart will continue to be heavy for long time, grief continues on. I know it.
For now, I cry out for the Lord's help. And lean in on the love and support that is surrounding me.
I pray that Jesus will be with me and trust truly that he is indeed.
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.