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Sheesh.  It’s been a while.  It’s also been quite a dizzying few weeks of apparently a few holidays.  At one point I wasn’t sure if the next holiday was Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years.  Turns out it was two days ago and we were past all of them.  Combine that with the fact that the server for my site was down for about or over a week or so and I just haven’t posted in a while.

Well, I’m back.  Much to many of your chagrin it’s not a list post.  I have been hit with something that I believe will be helpful if you are struggling with the grieving process.  Allow me to explain that this has been a revelation to me at least.  It goes a bit like this.

Before Trey passed, I was immersed in a daily/weekly/monthly/situational battle of a lifetime (for a life).  There were many different things we, as a family, and I as an individual had to get through.  Was I winning?  Well, I based it on a few things.  If I didn’t quit on God (I knew He wasn’t quitting on me), if I didn’t just shut down and collapse thus quitting on my family, if I continually pointed to God, and if I sought to and constantly tried to love by helping others (family, friends, fellow sufferers of all kinds, whoever) I was “winning.”  Then, a final test would most likely come.  Could I handle the death of my son without succumbing to any of the above?

Well, by most standards, I passed.  That is one of the reasons why I was able to preach on the day of Trey’s funeral.  That is why it was as much a graduation service for me as it was a funeral service.  I had made it, I believed I had done my job.  I was able to share that I believe that the reason Trey was “allowed” to be stricken with cancer was so that He would point others to Jesus, and Jesus brings people home to God the Father.

I knew that there was another battle looming.  I knew we could/would spend a few weeks in a numbing fog, licking our wounds (not minimizing anything) and the battle of grieving was large.  I didn’t know what it would look like but was quite sure that it would be hard but not as hard as what we had been through.  I have written enough about attaching comfort to grief and where hurts go to show you that I have a pretty good grasp on these things.  However, I was wrong.  I wrote about THAT recently too.  I had no idea the battle on this side was going to be so tough.

So where is the revelation you ask?  Here.  Before Trey passed it was, as I mentioned, a series of “get throughs” and “don’ts.”  The giant “get though” was always looming and eventually realized.  I have been so frustrated on this side with not knowing what the crap I’m even fighting and that there is no final battle in sight.  Many people have said that one of the biggest struggles is dealing with the fact that your time is no longer consumed with the disease and the constant trips to the hospital, doctors, treatments, etc.  Really, that’s much more of a Rachel issue than a me issue.  No, I always knew how I was doing in my battle back then and have no idea how I’m doing now.  There are no benchmarks, there are no identifiable dates or hurdles before me/us.  THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT!

Even the healing process is different than I assumed/presumed.  I anticipated a much more linear healing model where the current model of grief points to more of a spiral that comes and goes and doesn’t really ever end.  I will add this much to that.  I haven’t formally made up my mind but I feel that there is a definite combination of the two.  The old school grief model had stages to get through.  For example one of these was “acceptance.”  I certainly believe that this is still there and needs to happen to “get through.”  I don’t see how that cycles around (I don’t know, maybe it does) but I have seen the devastation in those who do not accept the tragedy that has come their way.  It is years later and they are not well…at all.

That being said, the nebulous cloudy nature of this fight with no benchmarks, no “get throughs” (other than the calendar of the first year and subsequent holidays I assume), and no real measuring sticks leaves me in this self analytical paralysis that is either so very essential and insightful or completely a waste of emotional margin and resources.

So, what is a “fighter” to do?  Change the fight.  I will draw the lines in the sand.  I will determine the winners and losers here.  I will form my own federation and crown my self champion given I meet criteria to achieve said symbolic belt.

I have some lifetimes wounds to heal.  I will get them out and have someone grieve with me.  I will continue to not only eliminate “bad things” (getting rid of pop, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, certain foods was tremendously underwhelming from a quality of life standpoint) from my life but add good ones (hello fruit and kale smoothie/exercise).  I am historically NOT a goal setter nor a TO DO list guy, quite the opposite really.  Thus, there won’t be much of or any of that.  However, I am one to “get things done” especially under crunch time and there are some things that need that attention.

Lastly, and yet most importantly, I will always point to healing and being used by God to comfort and protect others.  Whether it be my immediate family, extended family, church family or the quite extended family of the suffering, I will continue to abide my long standing declaration of “whatever you need, whenever you need it.”  I will love you or see to it that someone does (if I can’t meet your needs).

In essence, in a battle of no boundaries or measuring of performance or achievement,  I will create them.  I will not simply sit here looking around wondering what it is that I am in.  To a degree, I liked the first fight better.  However, I am in this fight now.  So, I shall fight.  Thanks for fighting along side of us.

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