I wrote this post tonight—intermittently between helping the kids with homework, wiping my dog's vaginal blood from carpets (for the humor in that, please read my previous blog), attending my son's indoor soccer game and meeting with a Craigslist lady who bought a card table from me. So forgive me if it's all over the place.
OK, I'm not a big "feelings-y" person. I don't like hugging all that much and I'm not great with emotions and crap. I never was. I was raised Catholic and so with that came a lot of praying and repenting and feeling guilty and kneeling and all that. My extended family is pretty big on prayers —from Indiana to the Holy Land and back— boy do they love those prayers! But to be honest, I really don't know how to pray. Yes, I know how to lay in bed and give thanks for my kids, who are healthy and beautiful. I recite the bedtime prayer to them at night. You better believe every time the thermostat dips below freezing, I'm praising the heavens above that I have a house with heat to sleep in. But other than that, I'm not great at that thing called "Prayer."
I go to church every Sunday, and drag the kids along even when they just want to be in their jammies playing iPads. But I persist. I'm determined to get some meaning, some purpose from this twisted ass life I'm in right now. I want to be better at mothering, at friendships, at prayer—but every Sunday I feel numb, like a person simply going through the motions inside that church. I'm standing, kneeling, sitting up—trying as hard as I can to focus. I'm doing my best to get something out of it other than the free donuts afterwards. I don't know if any amount of holy water on this old girl will ever be enough to soften and heal this cracked and broken heart that only dwells on sadness, resentment and grief right now.
That was until I got a sign.
The past couple weeks I have been feeling so angry that I'm here doing this alone and he's not here. I have questioned my faith a lot, wondering why my husband got this shit hand—what did he do to deserve death so early? Why couldn't it have been me?
Then last night after the kids were in bed, I took the dog out. I stood in the front yard staring into my bedroom window, where my husband's last breaths were taken. And I got angry. I started wondering maybe there's nothing after we're gone. Maybe everything is here in this life, and we only have this brief amount of time to live and love. How unfair and sad and crappy is that? Then I started to think that if that's true, then my husband is just laying there in that box—being nothing anymore. I started sobbing. I kept saying over and over that it wasn't fair. This isn't fair. I went to bed crying and mad at the world, mad at God, mad at myself for so much time wasted in this stupid, unfair life.
This morning on the way to school, I got the usual amount of questions, but especially about dad today. They always want to know everything I don't have answers for—where is he? what is he doing? can he see us? are dogs up there, too? One of the twins said she hopes that she will turn back into a child when she dies so that daddy will recognize her. I told her that daddy will absolutely know her no matter how old she is. I told them that maybe daddy would be able to see our baby that I miscarried several years ago. This was big news to them, and they wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl and what was its name and how old was he or she. I told them I didn't know, but maybe daddy knows now.
It wasn't 45 minutes later that I got a text from a friend I haven't seen all that recently. She's one of those praying friends. She'll pray up a storm for everyone in Kentucky no matter who they are or what they believe. She texted me, "...I was praying for you this morning and the kids. I just saw Matthew in heaven with a child and he was so happy. Did you have a miscarriage?... I believe he is up there with that child and they are waiting on all of you."
Like I said, I don't like feelings and mushy crap. I'm skeptical and I'm a big 'Negative Nelly' most days. But my eyes welled up with tears because I don't know how at that moment she would have known I needed to know about him. I needed to know he was OK and that I was wrong about him just being in that box six feet under. All the tears of sadness and anxiety I cried last night must have been heard.
I can't pray to save my soul y'all, but I can sure as hell cry. After reading her text, I looked at the prayer card I taped to the fridge last week—it came in the mail from a complete stranger. It reads, "Tears are prayers too. They travel to God when there are no words to speak."
That's when I realized—I'm killing this shit called "Prayer."
This post was excerpted and published here at Today Parents on Feb. 1, 2018.
This post was also published Feb. 19, 2018 here at the Kathy Lee and Hoda Facebook page.
This post was also published May 9, 2018 here at Stephanie J Thompson: Learn to Discern.