Keep Me by You -

"I wanna sink my feet down in security, unmoved by changing tides and shadows' shifting lines.
I'm tired of getting worn, let me wake with the morn. Once sunken, be reborn, and think about eternity a little more.
Then I'd see the stars, see the sun, and I'd see all that has been done, and I'd - 
I'd leave my fear alone, I'd leave my fear alone. Not asking for anything, just keep me by You.
And sink my feet in the stone, sink my feet in the storm, not asking for anything, just keep me by You.
Keep me by You." 
~ Jillian Edwards ~

A few nights ago, I had the most heart-wrenching of nightmares. It was the worst because when I woke up, it was true. The nightmare WAS the reality, and vice versa. In my dream, Avery was gone. When I woke up, Avery was gone. The grief in my dream was matched by the grief when I awoke. 

It is often my desire to leave the world of my reality in my dreams and fly away and find new lands of joy and adventure in an alternate reality, far away from the grief of this life. So when life throws a curve ball at you, and instead you are reminded in your dreams (turned into nightmares) and your subconscious wakes you up to the sound of your own silent screams, it's a hard, hard thing to shake. 

And it's been hanging over me. It's quietly, silently there. It settles in right next to me and suddenly, all of it comes rushing back. Every emotion and word and sleepless night and every moan of pain and shock is vivid like no words can describe. It's amazing how one vividly real nightmare can remind you of everything you've tried to forget ever happened. 

And whatever you are thinking right now - stop it. 

I don't need herbs or pills or counseling or whatever it is you are thinking I need. 
What I need is for Avery to not be separated from his family, and what I need is for it to all come undone. 
And what I need is not something I will ever have in this life. 

And what I need is Jesus. And comfort. And listening ears. 

Tonight I just lost it, and texted Tricia to pray for me. She's my go-to-prayer-warrior. She's in the middle of nursing two baby boys and her husband back to health, and she took 5 minutes out of her time to ask me what was wrong, steady my feet on the shore, pray for me, and remind me that I am allowed to grieve. 

Because more than anything I was beating myself up for grieving. I don't even know why. I just was. 
But stop it, heart. I am very qualified to grieve. Why? Because I loved. I loved so very hard. 

I close my eyes, and I can see myself throwing my cell phone into the dirt, and running straight for Audra. Avery, with his unsure look at his Auntie Jemmie's tears...and then he was in my arms. I can feel the weight of him. I can smell the scent of his baby hair. I can feel his head under my million kisses. 

So I wrote Tricia. I told her I was heartbroken over Avery tonight. And you know what she said? She said: "That is so, so hard. I am so sorry that the pain is reality." I immediately burst into tears all over again, because to have someone empathize with you in your grief is HUGE. It is everything

This is the friend who held me in her arms for 15 minutes while I sobbed my heart out in her kitchen because her little boy was the same age as Avery. And her little boy was here and Avery wasn't. 

This is the friend who doesn't try to fix it and just listens because she knows that's all she can do. 
And I'm so thankful, Tricia. You've shown me greater grace and compassion than most, and I love you deeply for it. 

Savannah, GA in the rain. May 26, 2014.

Too often I find myself over-analyzing my grief. What should I be thinking? How should I be handling this? 

And the answer is: I should not be handling it at all. If I am sad, I have every right to cry.
If I am joyful, I have every right to laugh and play. If I am tired, I have every right to rest. 

Why? I am a human. God made us intricately and inexplicably complex and full of emotions. 

"When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay." 

When the nightmares come back and my heart breaks all over again. When the tears won't stop running down my face. 
When hearing a baby cry sends shooting pains of loss through my heart. When grief seems too much to bear.

Jesus is all our hope and stay. We are not Home yet. When we are - we will never leave or know loss ever again. 

There will be many, many people that I love that I will want to hug the breath out of them in Heaven. 
But there is in particular one little boy that I will want to sweep up and tell him how much Jesus loved and carried me through this life.
 It will be my great joy to tell him that Jesus never left my side....

not for one screaming, brokenhearted, grief filled, headache inducing, weeping moment. 

And for that I am so very very thankful. 

"Take me deeper than my feet can ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger -
in the presence of my Savior." 

With love always,
~ Jean Marie ~