Here we are in the dark hallway of grief, past the week 5 marker, and I feel like I’ve entered a fight. A battle of sorts, with an invisible opponent. Although, if you knew me a month ago and looked at my face today, you might be able to identify the invisible. Names like grief, loss, bereavement or mourning could each label my adversary.
The fight though. The bell rang about two weeks ago, once the fog or cloud of “what just happened” lifted and now it feels like every day I am fighting. Worst thing about this fight is that there are no rounds, no white towel to throw in, no chance of winning, but I have to keep fighting. If I don’t go through this inevitable battle, if I avoid it, I know I will have to fight again later. It physically drains me, my arms hurt, my head is sore, my eyes are puffy. It emotionally exhausts me, my laughter has disappeared, my tears fill God’s bottle daily, and the anger can well up in a flash. But worst of all, my soul is tapped out. I want to give up, I want to hide, I want to lay down and pretend that this fight isn’t real.
The only thing that keeps me fighting is my spirit, well The Spirit. “If the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me….” That’s a verse we always told Grace and Evie to recite when they weren’t feeling good or they came up against something they didn’t think they could handle. Something like a fight.
So I fight on. When will it end? Ask the experts. Six months, one year, never. There will be different kinds of battles, some say. Depression, anger, bitterness, fear. Some say it will make us better people, we will grow from this battle, just allow it to come. Whatever the enemy looks like, whatever its name may be, just let him hit you until you feel swollen, bloody, bruised and worked over. I often wonder how many of these experts have been in a ring like this.
“He will quicken my mortal body.” I know something that most of the books don’t tell me, though. I know that this fight I am in, this battle that is raging on, is not something I battle alone. Of course I realize that Jim is in his own fight, so is Evie, so is everyone that loved Grace, but they have their own rings, their own final bells. I know that in my ring, standing behind me sometimes, standing next to me often, but mostly standing in front of me softening the blows, is the Spirit of God. He fights with me every day, and when I can’t take anymore, he pulls me in the corner, cleans my wounds, fixes my swollen eyes and puts Vaseline on my cheek bones, to help some of the blows slide off. Then I am ready to stand and fight again.
I have no final bell in my foreseeable future, but I can fight this fight, I can battle this adversary, I can withstand every round. Not because I think I will win. I don’t see there being a clear winner in this one, but because I don’t fight alone. I have help fighting, I have help in my corner and I have help in the crowd. They cheer me on, that great cloud of witnesses. And if I look closely, between the punches, I can spot one particular witness. She’s about 5’10” (at least that’s what she told people), she has beautiful blond, bouncy hair. She has blue eyes that shine bright with joy, and a big smile, with a clear gap between her two front teeth.
I’ll fight any battle with that kind of help.