Before their father died, he sang a song to them which his father had sung to him. Now that he’s gone, I sing to them with sweetly altered lyrics.
Grieving with children is a complicated thing. I want to be genuine with my young boys about sadness and the freedom to feel and express emotion, but I also want to keep unnecessary burdens off of their shoulders. I want to help them grieve in their own ways and in their own timing, but I also want them to be able to be just happy sometimes. My strategy for how to grieve with children is as young as those children and it grows and develops with them.
In February 2016, the lives of Lindsey Atkins and Lizzie Lindberg went through epic changes that culminated to a profound juxtaposition on Saturday, February 20th. These circumstances compelled us to write our stories together.
When tragedy fell on my family, I doubted more than anything else that I would ever be happy again on earth. In those days, the darkness was so dense that even the brightest truths couldn’t cut through the heaviness in my heart. I truly did not expect to experience belly-laughing good times ever again. I assumed I would taste joy, because of the hope of Heaven after this world, and I predicted that someday I would smile at lovely memories. I did expect to see some kind of light at the end of this tunnel. But happiness? Not likely. Not in this lifetime. Until bright spots started breaking through the cracks of my brokenness.
As a mom, I sometimes feel like I should be an excellent question answerer. I like to have the answers, and I like to talk, so one would think that I’d be good at taking on the quandaries of my kids. But sometimes I don’t know the answers and I’m well aware that I can’t protect my kids from the world or ensure their understanding. I can rely on God’s faithfulness in knowing the heads and hearts of my children and sending the Holy Spirit to direct the words that come from my mouth to their ears.
I struggle with a quick-fused temper that sometimes spews onto the people I love most in this world. From talking with other moms, I’ve learned that I am not the only one that yells in anger say her kids. This is a very difficult thing for me to admit because it is so contrary to who I want to be as a mother. It hurts my heart more than almost anything else to see my beloved boys in pain, and there just aren’t words to describe the kind of regret I feel when I know that I am the cause of that hurt. It’s also hard to admit because I haven’t found a fix-all solution; this is not a past-tense issue. I haven’t tied this up and thrown it behind me; there’s no pretty bow.