Monday, October 21, 2013

Living, After.


The last three weeks have been a whirlwind.  I cannot, at this moment, decide what is up or down.  There are few things that can blow a giant hole through your plans, your take on life, your visions, or direction, than death.  I am still shell shocked from the blow.  I simply sit and stare.  I could move on, life can go back to normal, but I'm changed.  I am completely altered.

We left for vacation the day I got back from my sisters, the day after the funeral.  I went from days of sitting, grieving, processing, to a sudden halt.  I had to be happy.  People get uncomfortable when you talk about sad things.  I learned this quickly and tried very hard to keep from sharing this giant loss.  Sometimes, it would spill out.  Sometimes, I would just cry.

I was in shoe store and was trying to find shoe's for my daughter.  I pointed to a pair, she told me they were 'baby Clair' shoes.  It made me cry.  She then screamed through the store, 'Daddy!  Mommy's crying, you better come help her."

Processing grief is unique to each person.  I remember when we buried Clair and I was walking from the funeral.  It felt over.  Like a big sigh after holding breath for too long.  My heart ached as I realized, it wasn't finished for me.  She may be buried, but the loss still feels huge.  I miss the child I longed for.  The niece I couldn't wait to hold.  The one who held my desire for another baby at bay.

My daughter is holding tight to baby Clair.  We are walking through our grief.  It's aching and hard.  We miss what wasn't.  We're sad.

The week I sat with my sister.  The week we drank coffee.  The week we worked through all of the emotional, personal issues that blew up in each of our hearts.  The week we laughed and cried.  The week we spent anguishing.  The week cousins played wildly, barely supervised.  The week we ate a lot of soup.  The week our lives changed.  The week we woke every morning to the reality of loss.  The week we said goodbye to one of our own.  My sister would sit, tears streaming down her cheeks, 'It's just so sad,' she would say.  Over and over.  The sadness of our loss was so present.  It still is.  It will be a long time before the ache abates.  For now, there is grief for what should have been.  For the gaping hole.  The room that was created in each heart, that was never filled with memories.

I am returning to routine.  Slowly, and a little bit cautious.  Life will resume it's day to day.  This will become a memory.  Sadness will give way to an eager expectation of heaven.  But, for now, as I sit quiet in my house.  I can let the tears fall.   Everything is different.  As much as people hate to hear this, life will simply never be the same.  When there is trauma or joy, it rips or adds to your world.  When a life is birthed, everything is different, when it is lost, everything is different.  It's okay to make room and arrange around what should have been or what is.

I'm adjusting and arranging.  Resting in the grace and goodness of God.  For now, that's all there is.


Anonymous said...

Oh cherylyn, I am so sorry for the pain you are carrying. I thought about you often as I saw you post photos of your vacation. I thought about how hard it must be to be with family from the other side, having to put on a face. I hear Him saying "you did well." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I hope it brings you some sort of peace. I love you and will be praying for you.
Sarah Beylik

Cherylyn Petersen said...

Thank you Sarah. That means a ton to me!!

charis said...

cherylyn, this is so so true. it is so awkward to admit grief because people just don't know what to do or say. i love you guys, all of you. i am praying. it is hard and it comes in waves. sending hugs.

Angela Overstreet said...


Thank you for expressing yourself in this writing. It is a beautiful expression of the part of life we try so much to avoid. Praying for you, and the Walden's, and everyone who is navigating through pain.

Blessings to you,

Circe Adena said...

My heart breaks for your family. I, too, know the pain of "empty arms" when our first son died when he was four days old. And yet I also know the faithfulness of God. No one ever signs up for this journey, but Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. Just like in the poem "Footprints in the Sand", He holds you in the saddest of times. He carries you when you cannot take another step. He will strengthen you. He will heal you. He will see you through. And one day, there will be no more tears. Love you and am praying.

Cherylyn Petersen said...

Thank you all for your prayers. I know that each of you have experienced grief and are well acquainted with pain. Thank you for standing with my family in prayer and a covering of love. We are so blessed by our community and I am so grateful.