Grief is not a constant. It comes and goes unbidden, ebbing and flowing, reappearing in unexpected moments.
A close friend, Ryan, left his sweet wife (Thank you for sharing him with us, Katie!) and two small sons and flew from Utah yesterday to come and support Shane. The two of them served in the Bishopric (the lay leadership of our local church congregation) together for almost two years, and they were united in their sense of, "Am I the right one for this job?" You will not find a more hilarious, more sincere guy than Ryan, and having him here brought cheer to Shane's otherwise cheerless day. Ryan walked through the door and within a few minutes, laid his hands on Shane's head and gave him a blessing of comfort through his own tears. After dinner Shane excused himself to rest and I sat with Ryan and caught up. He shared that he grappled with, "Why?" That is the ever present question. "Why this? Why us? Why now?" But I suppose the better questions are, "Why not this? Why not us? Why not now?"
As I sat on the edge of Shane's bed last night, watching him slip into the sweet oblivion of sleep, he put a hand to my cheek. I steadied his arm so it could remain there. Physical affection is my love language (and his) but it's difficult of late for Shane to give or receive in that way. One simple touch reminded me how lonesome I am for him. His touch was always a constant in my day, something grounding and life giving. That touch, his gift in a hard moment, brought grief rushing in. Afterward, I lay in bed and talked to God. " I don't think I can do this. I promise I'll do my best, try my hardest but I'm not sure I can do this." I thought of all the sad possibilities ahead and the tears went on and on.
A wise friend taught me to let my mind go to the dark places. The place where grief and anguish live. Now I do that without resistance. Those places are fearsome and ugly but now they are familiar country.