Alternate title: The post that is most likely to get me defriended on Facebook. #sorrynotsorry
In some ways, July 12, 2016 was the hardest day for me during Bryon’s crisis.
March 29, 2016 was the day that the sh*t hit the proverbial fan. The day he went into septic shock and his organs started failing. My life had been turned upside in an instant. I was stunned. I was consumed with fear and was struggling just to process what had happened.
August 20, 2016 was the day I learned that Bryon was not going to survive. The resident had told me that his heart was going to stop beating that day. He ended up holding out until the next morning. At this point, I knew that this was the reality. I had seen a lot in the past five months and I knew that this was the end so I was able to process it. It was the ending I was desperately trying to prevent but at least the days of hell sitting in the ICU were going to be over.
Little did I know that the hell would continue for the months that followed. #widowhood #grief
July 12, 2016.
One year ago today.
The day that Bryon had gone into septic shock for a second time. Until that point, I didn’t think there was a chance he could die. He survived septic shock in March. He was stable and recovering very slowly. But here I was again, staring at his vitals, desperately trying to will his blood pressure to stay up. I couldn’t believe we were back where we were in March. Except in March, Bryon had been strong going into this. Now he was back to square one but with a body that had been weakened after three and a half months in the ICU.
July 12, 2016.
The day I lost my faith in God.
No, I am not an atheist. I believe He exists. I just know that He doesn’t give a damn about me.
It was the day that I realized that God didn’t care how many Rosaries I said or how many Novenas I said. He didn’t care that I put the Novenas on Facebook either.
It was the day that I realized that God didn’t care how many church prayers lists Bryon was on.
It was the day that I realized that God didn’t care how many candles were lit for Bryon.
It was the day that I realized that God didn’t care how many convents I had submitted online prayer requests too.
(In case you are wondering, submissions were made to every convent that accepted online requests in the English speaking world. About ten pages of Google results.)
It was the day that I realized that God didn’t care that the Rabbi’s in Bangor, Maine were praying for him.
It was the day that I realized that God didn’t care that Bryon’s name was whispered into the Dalai Lama’s ear.
It was the day that I realized God was going to do whatever God was going to do. While He’s off performing miracles for other people, He wanted Bryon to suffer for months in the hospital. He wanted me to have to watch it. Doesn’t sound like the loving God I heard about throughout my childhood in C.C.D.
People are so quick to defend God to me. I get it. People like Him. But it makes me feel more alone in my grief when people do that. Like my grief isn’t taken seriously. Like I am a teenager rebelling against her parents because she didn’t want to go to her confirmation class. (That may have happened.)
C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed described it best:
… Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be — or so it feels — welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?
There has been a lot of buzz in the “widow world” about the engagement of Patton Oswalt. People are so quick to judge him even though they haven’t walked in his shoes. People are so quick to project their ideals and standards onto other people. I belong to many online widow groups, most of which consist of young widows and widowers and so many of them share stories about how they found love again…but those in their life (parents, in-laws, friends, children, etc) aren’t comfortable with it. They get told that it is “too soon” and will be told that they are still healing.
It is no one’s place to dictate when someone is healed or healed enough. Never.
(For additional reading on this topic, please see Kerry Phillips, John Polo and Erica Roman. They say everything so much more eloquently than I can.)
I am closing in on 11 months of widowhood and I am not ready to date again. So I have no experience with being judged about that. Who knows what kind of reaction I will get when that time comes. Though I know if anyone tries to stand in the way of any future happiness, my best friend Kimmy Gibbler will shut them down.
I have been judged about my relationship with God. And it’s frustrating as hell to be told what my relationship with God should be by people who have never been in my situation. It demeans my grief and what I have been through. I am hurting in a way that most have never felt. It is insulting to be told that I have to love a God that took my husband from me and my daughter’s father away from her from people who never had to feel this kind of pain.
My grief is mine. My relationship, no matter how strained, with God is mine. Not yours. No one has the right to project onto me how I should feel. And as far as I am concerned, He slammed the door on me and the ball is in his court.