Thursday, August 24, 2017

I don't know how I'm doing.

"How are you doing?"
That's the question I get asked most often, more than I ever have.

It's a simple question, but I find it difficult to answer because I don't know how I'm doing.
I don't know how to do grief.

I don't know if I'm handling this well. Honestly, it's a situation I don't think anyone can handle at all. The heartache is the deepest pain I've ever felt.

I spoke to another mom whom I befriended at Texas Children's Hospital. She lost her 16-year-old daughter last year. I've watched many parents go through this past year without their children. I watched them and had the same thoughts that others tell me now ... "I don't know how they do it."

There's just something different about talking with someone who's gone through similar circumstances. No situation is the same, but there's something different about watching your child fight for so long. You see things that no parent should see. You already have heartache for a long time, but this heartache surpasses them all.

I wanted her to tell me how I was doing. Did she think I was "doing ok?" We talked for about an hour, shared stories with trembling voices. I told her I didn't know how to do this, and asked her what I should be doing. Did I need to talk to anyone about this? Did I need to go to some type of group? Or could I just do this on my own? What were the steps and procedures to get through this? What was going to help? I want to do the right thing. I want my heart to stop hurting so much. 

Of course, she didn't have an answer for me,. She told me what she did and that I should do whatever I think I need to or don't need to do. So, that's where I am.

I do know one thing for sure: You can't rush grief.

I don't know how I'm doing.
I wake up each day, thinking about Katie (I'm going to just use her real name from now on here.) I go to sleep, thinking about Katie. I think about the last few years. I think about her last moments. I think about what an amazing girl she was and how blessed I was to be her mom. And, the thoughts go on and on. They fill my day.

I don't sleep. I can't shut my brain off. I pray. I plead with God to just let me have some rest. I toss and I turn all night. I'm exhausted.

I still tell God that I'd give anything just to have her back with us. I remind him that He has the power to just raise her up from that grave, totally healed. He could do it. I want Him to do it. But, I don't think that's going to happen.

I remind myself that her thoughts right now are not on us nor about anything here on earth. She's in the presence of her King. She's happy, free, and healed.

I get angry throughout the day, not angry with God, just angry that this happened. My emotions differ throughout the day and come through in waves. Some waves will just ease over me and pass, and others are larger and I feel like I'm drowning. These waves hit when you least expect them and anything could trigger an emotion or thought. 

Katie is everywhere for me. Everywhere I look, not just because her pictures surround me, but she's in the smell of cinnamon oils I used to diffuse for her and the lavender vanilla body wash she used. She's in the taste of the lentil soup she so loved from one of the Greek restaurants here. She's in the sound of every single song she introduced me to. I can't even listen to One Direction anymore because all I hear is her singing to the music or dancing around the house. She fills every portion of my brain.

I continue to cry every single day. I keep waiting for the day to arrive that I don't cry. However, I seem to be able to control my crying more than before. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I've visited Katie's gravesite multiple times. Even though she's not in there, I still tell her I love her and miss her so much. Funny thing is I feel such peace there. I sit on a bench, situated under a large tree, right near where her body rests. I think about what she's doing in heaven at that very moment and how much she loved Jesus. That gives me peace, but doesn't lessen the heartache unfortunately.

All this to say, I don't know how I'm doing. Am I doing grief well? I don't know. Do I want to be doing grief well? All the steps you read about ... I don't give a lick about them. Grief is way messier than that. You can't order the steps of grief or put labels on the "stages." Heck ... I don't even think there are stages. Each person handles grief differently. And, it's not something as simple as going through a set of stages. It's something you have to deal with the rest of your life.

My husband and I are at a crossroads in our lives now. We devoted our whole lives to Katie, to her health, to helping her get well, to fighting for and with her. We gave up our jobs and our home. And, we would do it all over again.

As of now, we are simply praying that God would order our steps, that He would only open doors we need to walk through. In fact, as I am writing this, my husband is getting dressed for a job interview. We don't know if it's the right thing for him or not, but, again, praying God will show us.

Next week, we are headed to see Kylie (using her real name too now) in Australia. The enemy has definitely stolen a lot from us and one of those things is time with our oldest daughter. We've missed a lot the last few years, from the time she graduated high school until now. We're so proud her and the way she's followed the call of God on her life. It has been a very difficult season for her as well. 

In the meantime, we are working on updating my blog and a new website will be coming soon. We are also beginning to write down all of the things we have wanted to say over the last couple of years. There are many things that have been left out. There are many things that God has done through this. I don't know how long it will take us to document the last few years and get everything down on paper, but we've started.

Our prayer is that whatever we do that it will honor Katie's legacy and glorify God.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us.


Brown Eyes ♥ said...

I love you Daphne, I know we don't know each other as well as I would have liked but you are a tremendous person to have sacrificed all that you did for Katie, she was incredibly blessed to have you as her mom. You are correct as far is knowing how to "grieve". After losing my dad, I didn't know how to grieve, it all just came in time and from God. Life is never the same but it has gotten better. Although, to your point there are things that trigger a memory and I am filled with hurt all over again. I never want to think about getting married but I'm starting to be ok with the fact it won't be my own father walking me down the isle. I'm learning to understand what it means when he's with me. Its been almost 23 years since and I'm still's a process. Whatever you feel just feel it and know that it's ok and that it's enough. Praying for you. <3, Sarah C.

Amber said...

I can't even begin to imagine your grief to lose a child! I loss my dad in October of 2015, almost 2 years ago. Although our situations are completely different, I felt similar to how you describe, unsure if you are doing the right things, feeling the right things, etc.

I was actually told by "a friend" that I should just get over it already. How do you just get over it? Since birth my dad was always there then one day he just wasn't anymore. It helps me to have others I can speak to about how i feel and that they understand and can relate to how I am feeling but I wish no one had to experience the hurt.

Anonymous said...

When you and Richard and Katie first started this fight my heart went out to you. I attended church with you guys when Katie was a small girl. I too have a son who was diagnosed with cancer when he was five and he's now 25 and doing well. I would follow your struggles and pray for your family and could not even imagine how you and your family dealt with all the setbacks that Katie endured. My son had a two and a half year treatment protocol and he did well through all the years. Seventeen months ago I lost my youngest child, Joe at 20 years old in an accident in the night. He left and never returned home. I was in a complete fog because I did not even get to see him and hug him one last time. There is no wrong or right way to do grief and I wish we were not in this club that we did not sign up for, but I do know that God has carried me through, sometimes it even felt like he was dragging me through the darkness. But He has always been faithful and even when I could not see and I felt like everything was shattered and I did not even have enough faith to believe, He has always given me a peace that passes all understanding like He said He would. I am still exhausted and I do sleep sometimes through the night every now and then, but the questions that I had for God at the beginning don't seem to need an answer, because even if I did know the answer I would only want to have another question answered. Please know that the prayers of all the faithful people who have stood with you and your family will carry you through on the days when you feel like you don't have any strength left. God has used you through your fight with Katie and her life has touched so, so many people. I know that He will continue to use you and your family and she will never be forgotten. Much love and hugs to you, dear mama.

Mary E Lettiere said...

God is with you in this journey. Know that he has Katie in his arms, now.
She is Happy and in no pain, now. She was such a Blessing to your family and all of your friends. Our prayers continue to be offered up, for your healing.
We know your family through our great nephew Colten Collier. God be with you always!

RobinK said...

Galatians 6:2. I try to read everything you write as to know how to pray for you and your family. Glad to see you writing :)