Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Void

I've been reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. This particular section caught my eye:
"If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knee, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild."
Ahhh, C.S.: what a great man. I find it amazing that he, who was obviously never a mother, and more pointedly, never a grieving mother...could teach me something about myself---about how I feel each and every day since losing Will. The fact that I have been robbed of that "maternal happiness" is precisely why each day has been so difficult. I trust that Will is at the feet of Jesus-that he is enjoying all of heaven's glories...I believe that God did not take my son...that we live in a fallen world where we collide painfully with death's hideousness, and that my loss is a result of such a collision. I know that, even if God didn't take my child from me, He can use THIS...this nightmare, this pain, this struggle--He can take and make it something beautiful and precious. But my joy has been ripped away from me--and even my faith cannot restore that loss. I will always feel this emptiness...from what I hear, it will become more manageable...less intense...not quite as excruciating. But it will be there. So...for now, I choose to focus on what I do have, what I haven't lost, what is still within my grasp. Because that emptiness--that loss, will invade my consciousness quite often enough on its own. It comes, unbeckoned, and it doesn't need to be simply arrives. But I can fill my remaining minutes each day with things that bridge the gap between pain and joy: the feel of Nan's hand on my back when she hugs me...Shannon's smile (now appearing more frequently--and I revel in it)...the comforting sing-song quality of my mother's 'phone-voice'...the familiar "bookish" smell of my current readings (still my favorite pasttime)...the warm consolation of Herschel sitting faithfully at my heels...these are the things I relish right now. And my ability to treasure these things--to embrace the goodness present in my life--is a gift in itself. The "void" I feel is surrounded on all sides by abundance and blessings. I am grateful.


Samantha said...

oh, how did you know how i felt today? thank you for these words. i need to make myself open that book of clive's...

bless you today--

Katie said...


Jenn said...

Beautiful words. C.S.'s too.

willKISER said...

Susan, you are an awesome writer... please keep this up.

Adrienne said...


This is the post I've decided to read at my friend's one-year butterfly celebration for her son. I'm thinking there will be tears as I do, but that's unavoidable. It's just too accurate a post to leave it silent. Thank you!