It’s that time of year. You know, when people say Happy Holidays! Or Merry Christmas! But for most, the whirl of a year of grief did not just start all over again. Don’t ask me why I thought something magical would happen after a year and things would all of a sudden get better. If anything, I feel I’ve turned a corner to a different kind of grief. I knew walking through things with his senior class would be tough, but not this tough. There are definitely more tears publicly and at night when I go to bed. But as hard as I try, they just don’t stop. I told a friend today that I have actually cried out to the Lord “Why!” knowing the answers all along. If He’s my father, he already knows my heart and has a big enough lap to handle my needs.
It doesn’t help that the majority of his support group at church has either fallen away, moved to another church, or they are at college. That is why I was so excited when they came home at Thanksgiving. Trey always hung with the older crowd at church. Even though I thought I was well on my way to having my identity being Lisa Erwin and not just Trey’s mom, I have always said, I will ALWAYS be Trey’s mom! It’s a hard scale to balance.
I hear him now – Mom, the Sound of Music is on! Nothing makes sense. This intense, gut wrenching pain that you keep suppressed just below the surface bubbles each day and just when you don’t expect it ~ that pain comes out in tears, silence, or the overwhelming desire to not roll out of bed. Or, as I am sitting in traffic and you see the 18 wheeler coming up behind you and you think to yourself for a split second that you don’t care if it stops. Then you shake yourself back into reality. That’s the definition of being hit by a Mack truck and I know what it feels like. This is daily. Trust me, it’s nothing a drug can cure.
I’ve been reading the book The Circle Maker and one thing the author did was take a break from social media in order to finish his book. I’ve tossed that idea around in my head because I don’t think I’ll ever get it finished unless I concentrate on it. But also, social media adds so many reminders that may not fit our family any longer. If you were to drive by our house each night you would think we were not at home. The house is dark, no lights, no life. Only the light of the tv and usually everyone is a different room.
But days were once different. When at Christmas, Jay and I spent too much money on our kids for Christmas. I remember one Christmas Trey sat on a bar stool and his boxes were higher than the stool and he had his arm on them. Oh, I have pictures. We have tried this year to buy for Collin, but nothing can make up for the loss of Trey. And really, it shouldn’t because buying gifts is not what Christmas is all about. I have a dear friend who is an attorney who shared this story with me years ago. When her children were little, she started out only giving them three gifts each. She explained to them that is what the wise men brought to Jesus when he was born. Her Godly example still speaks to my heart.
Christ was born in a small stable, to Mary and Joseph. How did they feel? As Christ grew He knew what He would be facing. He knew that He was born to die. This was His purpose. Yet as He was to die for our sins, He was distressed as it says in Mark 14:34-35
“And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
I think it takes more than a year for me to accept as a mother that my son was born for a purpose, to live for four months with a horrible disease, and die. All he said was that he wanted to be normal. In those early weeks he would cry and tell me he wanted to be normal. Just he and I, we had a momma and son moment and he just cried. That was about the only time he ever showed any kind of desire to understand what was going on in his life. And I couldn’t give it to him. But that’s when his faith took off more.
So as we play with elves, watch Buddy the Elf, shop at every store for the Xbox One, make Christmas candy, do all the things that are our family traditions, I am doing my best to remind myself that it’s all just fluff and Christ is the reason for Christmas. If it weren’t for His birth and death, I would have no way to cope with the death of my own son. I would have no hope of eternity. Even in grief, my hope is still in the Lord. But as much as people try to understand, you can’t understand how much I miss my buddy. Because you know what, above all, he wasn’t ashamed of his momma. And that makes me proud. I’m proud of you Trey Erwin. For reminding me to worship The Great I Am.