It’s been 2 years, 3 months and 19 days since Dalton died. I don’t usually count the days, but today, I did. I’m not sure why. My grief has been hanging over me like a big, dark, storm cloud for days, and I’m not sure why. Today, I just felt like thinking about how long Dalton has been gone, but I don’t know why. It seems like he’s been gone such a long time, yet it feels like yesterday!
Grief, like a storm, is not logical, nor does it follow the same patterns every time. They both can be unpredictable, and come in many different forms, but they always come. Storms at sea are always more dangerous and erratic, and those caught in them have little to no control over the longevity, intensity or outcome. At night, no one can see them in the dark, so they won’t be rescued. “They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end.” Psalm 107: 27
The storm that I have found myself in the last few days seems to have come on quickly and without warning. My grief has taken on many different forms and is certainly not rational, nor do I know what’s coming next. I have gone from feeling stable and joyous in one moment to resentful and bitter the next. At times, I have to stay off social media because one minute I can look at friend or family’s summer photos and smile, but the next minute I’m angry because it’s just not fair! I have gone from listening to praise and worship music and thanking God for His grace and mercy, and yet the next minute I find myself full of rage and needing my heavy metal outlet! The sadness at times has left me lethargic, overwhelmed, and unable to move. Yes, even after 2 years, 3 months and 19 days!
Like a storm at sea, my grief is much more lonely and pronounced at night. Many a night my tears fall silently, and I find myself muffling my sobs because they frighten me when I let them out at night! So, I let the tears fall quietly while feeling the crushing weight of darkness on my soul, and I wonder if I will make it through the night. I feel alone in these moments, and I pray that the morning light comes soon, because, at night, my fear and despair are palpable! “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.” Psalm 107: 28
Preparing for Life’s Storms
What I have learned the last couple of years is that although the storms will rage, and maybe unpredictable, there is a way to prepare. I have spent countless hours, days, years on my knees in prayer, developing a relationship with God, so that when the storms come, and they have, I would know what to do to have the best chance to survive. Dalton’s death has been the ultimate storm of a lifetime, that unknowingly, I had been preparing for it by seeking God in all circumstances! I have learned to trust God and batten down the hatches. I have learned to hold tight and pray and wait. Also, I have learned that it’s ok to sink into my grief, because I have already prepared ahead of time, and trusting the Lord is my default setting. I do feel scared and sad and lonely and angry many times, but I also have faith that the storm will pass, and I am thankful for that hope!
“He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and guided them to their desired haven.”
Psalm 107: 29-30
When the storm finally passes, and it does, there is a new and beautiful quietness, strength, and sense of peace within my soul. The light is brighter, the air more refreshing, and my gratitude is deeper. It’s the knowledge that with my Lord at the helm, the darkness will come, and the seas may rage, but He is still in control, and I will trust Him to keep me safe during the storm!
“In the morning watch, ‘neath the lifted cloud,
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you on from the place of the sea
To a land that you have not known;
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,
You shall be no more afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place,
A place that His hand has made.”
—Annie Johnson Flint
Mary is a wife and mother of two, with a background in social work, who felt called to write, share her journey, and start a non-profit after her 21-year-old son passed away from an accidental drug overdose. Mary loves walking alongside, and encouraging others, through her message of love, hope, and compassion, and values equality for all of God’s children.