I’m not sure if the body is supposed to cry this much. I’m not sure if after 14 months of you being gone, my heart aches and aches for you. They say that the most powerful sign of love is the measure of your grief and if that’s true- I loved you a lot more then I ever thought I could.
People constantly say, hint, imply, or show through their actions that I should move on by now, that I should be healing and getting “better”, and growing.
Well, I am and then I’m not.
My problem with grief is that it is unique. It’s lonely because no one in this world understands your grief- because it’s unique, specific, and untouchable.
Your relationship with the person you lose is vastly different then someone else’s- one relationship or loss is not worse then the other- it is simply unique, simply different.
And it literally makes me crazy.
A year rolled around and we said goodbye to Chad one more time. We spread his ashes and as I sat there, in the exact same spot he looked me in the eye on December 23, 2012 and told me he was in it for the long haul, that he wasn’t going anywhere, and that he wanted me to be his, I feel like I left my heart there.
I have yet to grasp, to understand, to process how I stood in that spot- watching my dreams come true, listening to the man of my dreams tell me he was in it for the long haul, even though I just met him and then three years later- standing in that exact spot, watching his ashes fly into the wind.
As I sat there alone that night, I left a piece of me there. It reminded me of the night of Chad’s funeral- as I sat there draped over the casket, playing with his hair, screaming for him to come back. As I sat there for two hours with my head on his chest sobbing into the arms that once held me and made everything okay, I knew I was losing a part of me. As I heard the man’s voice telling my dad behind me that they needed me to get off the casket and they needed to close it to take it away- I felt my body crumble.
I felt a piece of me fall out of me and hide away in the brown casket they were closing in front of my eyes.
As my dad pulled me off the casket, kicking and screaming, begging to let me stay, to not take him- I felt as though my inner being was staying there as my body was being dragged away.
Being in a fog over the past year, going through the motions, simply doing what I had to do to survive and to make it- I never realized how much of me was left behind- follwing that casket to where it went that night.
And I have yet to get it back.
And I don’t know I ever will.
The night we spread Chad’s ashes- I realized how much of me was missing- how incomplete I felt and how unprepared and unaware of the future that lies ahead.
Over the year, thoughts of not having Chad and not fulfilling the many dreams and plans we set in place were present in my mind but were passing thoughts- simply because all I could really think was- “I can’t do this, I don’t know how to do it, I don’t know if I can do it”.
As I walked down the pier to Chad and I’s spot- I flashed forward to the wedding Chad and I talked about for as long as I can remember. I flashed forward to the little Chad that we dreamed of. I flashed forward to our plan after graduation. I flashed forward to the rest of out lives- the fighting, the love, the growing, the pains, and the beauty.
I flashed forward until the harsh reality hit and I looked down.
I looked down to see those dreams crumble, break, and shatter into the urn I was carrying in my hands.
And I realized- I had yet to come to the realization, or the stage of grief if you will, of actualization that Chad is gone, that the hope of him coming back and walking through the door is no more, the heartbreaking, realization that the love of my life- was not coming back.
I wasn’t prepared and as I watched Chad’s ashes fly into the wind- it hit me and I thought- “Oh God, the grief, the pain, the heartache, the brokenness- it’s not anywhere near done.”
I’ve yet to talk to anyone about this- in fact, I hardly talk about it all anymore.
The past two months since that night have been so far from difficult I can’t even explain it.
I not only cry every night- I cry just about every single time I am alone. I feel Satan attacking me through doubts, through relationships, through daydreams, through night terrors.
I’ve pulled away from people, I’ve been hurt by friends, and I’ve been even more lost in the world that I thought I knew so well.
My world has seem even more broken than before- maybe because of the fear of the future that lies ahead of me without Chad- the future we’ve planned that will actually become the present in two short months.
I won’t lie to you- I’m scared- I am 100% and completely terrified of the rest of this season that I am- I thought it was hard before but I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t think the rest of the season of grief and brokenness and pain isn’t going to be just as difficult, if not more- and extremely, extremely different.
Through losing close friends over the past two months because life has happened, to finding my passion for teaching again, to have yet gone a day in 14 and a half months without breaking down, to the decisions I am now going to have to make alone despite the dreams and plans that were already set in place, to continuing to find my fire and hope in the Lord- it’s been a rough 2016 thus far and a very long- and for awhile it just might be that way.
Grief and pain are unique- it is lonely- maybe the loneliest pain ever because n one can 100% know exactly the pain you are facing- but, despite the pain and hurt and grief- there is one beautiful and great Father who knows and feels every bit of it all.
Although my mind is clouded with grief and pain, I feel attacked by Satan, and sometimes, I simply let Satan win- I know deep in my heart- the truth that stands behind the beauty of the pain I’m facing is powerful- even on the day’s I forget or choose not to believe it.
The Savior of the world carried the pain of losing Chad and the grief and the hurt and the brokenness on his back, in t shaped form- thousands and thousands of years ago. He knew my name, he knew Chad’s name, He knew that one day, He would call Chad Cooke home and He knew that one day, in the year 2015, 2016- and however many years it will take- until the day we are called home- Chad’s family, my family, and many others will need hope, grace, power, strength, and forgiveness as we walk this journey.
Despite the many mistakes, the many reactions, the many times of pushing people and God away, the many times of believing I can’t do this, the many times of begging God to take me too, the countless times of being angry at God- the forgiveness and the healing I need, that we all need- was already carried and nailed to the cross.
Grief and pain are unique- no one will understand the unique pain and loss you feel- whether that is from a love one, the loss of yourself, or the loss of hope, dreams, anything- the loss you feel, the brokenness you feel is unique, it’s entrusted, and it’s beautiful.
You are entrusted with the season of life you are in, the pain you are in- and don’t be fooled- there will be times you steward the season of life well and there will be times you steward your season of life completely wrong- but take heart in the truth that lies behind the pain- you are loved, you are entrusted, and you are already healed because of the truth God promises you.
Our God is a God who works in seasons- this season will end, this pain will never be fully gone because it will always be with you, with me, but this season is shaping you, and me, into the beautifully broken beings of Christ that He has created us to be.
I believe that the loss of myself, the part of me that was left with the casket and on the pier those nights, will one day return. The Emily I pictured for myself all of these years- will one day return. She will be different, she will never be the same.. but she will return.
Take heart if you feel like your season will never end, if your grief or pain will never subside. Take heart if Satan is telling you that you are not good enough for a better season of life- that your dreams already came true and that there is nothing left for you here- take heart, take heart, take heart. I am right there with you.
Take heart my friend, healing is happening every day through your brokenness- don’t hide it, don’t run from it, don’t ignore- remember, you are entrusted with the pain and loss you will feel in this lifetime- you are entrusted to fight through it, give it to the Lord, and share your pains to point others to the Lord.
Fight through the season, feel it, and fight, fight, fight- your victory is already placed in the hands of Jesus- don’t miss it.