Thursday, May 1, 2014

The End of Week 1: Asking God for Help

(From Tuesday March 4th until Sunday the 9th, I stayed with Gareth's family in Gyeongju as we finalized the details of his cremation and cleaning out of his apartment. I have much to write about this time at a later date. For now, I'll stick with what I posted. The heaviness of these days were countered by the incredible gratitude of spending time and sharing this experience with Gareth's mom, dad, and brother, who took me in as one of their own.)

March 6, 2014

Be with me.
Guide me.
Protect me.

Dear God. I can't possibly ask you to take away the pain, as it's in direct proportion to the love I have for your sweet son Gareth. I can't ask for you to give me strength, because there is none to give. I assure you there is no strength in the world that would make this loss bearable. I can't ask you to help me see the good in it, because while there, I'm not ready to look.

I ask you to help me be with his family. I ask you to help me take in the scent of his shirt that I slept in last night. And I ask that the scent can linger for a little more than possible. I ask that I can continue to share the stories I know of where this item was purchased or what we were doing on the day he picked up that item. I ask that I remember I'm not the only one grieving and, please, God, help me be of comfort to others where I can. Give me the right thoughts, words, and actions.

Please God, prepare me for the empty spaces. Brace me for the goodbyes of his mother, father, and brother, who have taken me in and wrapped me in your love. Through them I hold Gareth's hand. Through them I feel his arms around me. Through them I receive gentle kisses on the head, just as Gareth would do.

Dear God, help me with the simple things. I cannot find the strength to brush my teeth. To wash a plate. I cannot consider doing the daily chores that I never used to give much thought about. God, allow me the grace of accepting the love and help of others.

God, be with me. Guide me. Protect me.

I can feel his warm body below the sheet he was wrapped in. I can feel the contours of the face I loved below that sheet. We were separated by cloth. I cannot touch my love. He is warm. I felt my sweet, sweet babe as he was warm beneath that sheet. Dear God, let me remember that warmth.

Dear God, my heart aches for Gareth's parents and brothers. I can't ask you to be with them. I know you already are. I ask you, God, to speak through those of us here with them and bring them stories of times when Gareth was full of joy. Experiencing love. Belonging.

If I am to use my intimate time with Gareth as a way of bringing healing to anyone else, please guide me to do that. I am open to bringing any words to anyone who needs them. Tell me what they need to hear, God. Speak to me and tell me who needs to hear them.

Finally, dear God, help me ride the waves of grief. Help me find peace in the moments when the tears stop and even when the laughter comes. Help me find grace in those moments and build strength for the next wave, as it is always there. It will always be there.

Sweet God, loving God, God that I shared with Gareth ("You can borrow my God if you don't have one you like. Mine is hilarious!"), remind me that Gareth is no longer searching. No longer plagued by the complexities that held him captive for almost the entirety of his life. Gareth is with you. And while I'm not sure what that means, exactly, I know he is not suffering.

If letting go of him is what would end his suffering, would I have agreed to it? If it was the only possible way he could find long-term peace beyond the moments he clearly had punctuated by distress- if it were the only way, would I have loved him enough to give him back to you, God? I wouldn't have. Here my selfishness would show. I would hold him tightly and scream for the pain to leave him alone, and I would refuse to hand him back. I would have refused you, God. We all would have. So it is that he was returned to wholeness without our consent.

A wave has passed. I feel sudden and momentary calm. I am wearing his favorite outfit of mine, and despite my worn face, I am trying to be the woman he'd be proud to introduce to his family. I will go meet them now at Gareth's old apartment and finish things up over there. Tonight we will gather at his university and share stories. God, be with me. Guide me. Protect me.

Be with us all.
Guide us all.
Protect us all.

March 7, 2014

From when I went home last August. Man, Gareth could really make me laugh.

Seriously. Some of the faces he made. You know the ones I'm talking about. Hilarious!

 March 8, 2014

Gareth, I tried to take your family to your favorite coffee shop (Coffee Core), but they were closed. We ended up going somewhere else- a place you and I didn't frequent. Imagine how my breath was taken away when I looked over and saw this. You know exactly why.

March 8, 2014

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