How does life change so quickly? Its been 681 days since we lost Fareed. Nearly the same amount of time I had with him has passed. So short, yet so long. And I look back on the last 1500 days of my life and don’t recognize the person staring back at me in the pictures. Growth, lots of growth. Growth I didn’t ask for and didn’t know I needed. But time and tragedy have a way of doing that. Pressing us and molding us into better versions of ourselves. And we cant just slip away without it. The pain will come knocking at some point and tell us its time, its time to heal. I’m a firm believer in silver linings. I refuse to be a pessimist. I reject the notion that all the pain we endure is not for some bigger purpose. I’ve stood on that my entire life. Its one of those things that is deep in my being and my core values, hope.
I looked myself in the mirror every day after Fareeds death and told myself I wouldn’t get angry with God. I forced myself to see around it. I dug inside myself and allowed the tragedy to take hold of whatever it was supposed to do to shape me. If for a second I allowed myself to get angry I know I would have been lost. Lost in the defeat, in the grief, in the despair. I chose to get better vs bitter.
Its been nearly two years now. I have met my fair share of widows, and widowers. I have danced with the grieving and ate with the ignorant. I have met people who understand my mind on its deepest level and I have had people complain about their husbands to me. And above all I have learned a deep sense of Grace. Grace because I once did not understand. And I still in moments do not understand. I find myself laughing at the person I once was. The person who lived care free. And less aware of the tragedy happening all around me. The pain, I drifted through it in my own personal happy ferry. Until one day, my ferry crashed. And on that slow lifeboat back to shore I truly was able to see people, their anchors, and their life vests.
And you see, One question I stared hard in the face was “why when our children are so young, why while I was pregnant?” That was the hardest thing I ever did. Bringing our second son into the world – fatherless. I fought God and his rationalization, but I always contented that I would wait. I would listen.
I don’t know if I will spend my entire life time watching for those silver linings. Trying to make something good out of the horrible. Trying to bring life back to such despair. But I know I find more hope because I gravitate towards them. The more I choose to see Gods presence in my life, the less I allow the pain to overcome me. My focus has changed. The amount of pain hasn’t.
Hard things have happened to me since Fareed died. It would be nice to say my one really shitty hand was dealt and now life will be better, but that just isn’t the case. But God in the midst of the hard has shown me to see in a different light. To accept the downfalls as closed doors, and be looking for the ones he’s opening. To see the hard days as growth days. To embrace the rambunctious loud mess that takes over my home everyday. He has allowed me to see the beauty even when things seem to the outside world, unbearable.
I asked God “Why, Why when I was pregnant?” and I as I reflect back on those pictures lately, he gave me another answer.
You see I spent a lot of my life filling voids, trying to bypass my emotions. When the going got hard, I got going. I didn’t want to feel and at the very best I only wanted to feel good. Fareed allowed for me a place of safety. I learned what it was like to be in a healthy relationship and to be cared for. I learned my worth because he consistently reminded me of it. I think we all have our things we run to in times of tragedy, to numb, to isolate, to forget- even if for just a second.
So when I lost the one person who finally understood me and I allowed to truly see my soul for all it is, I was devastated. As anyone would be.
And this is the silver lining, I don’t know how I would have coped had I not been pregnant and had a toddler to care for.
I hear stories of people pouring into alcohol, drugs, shopping, dating… all to deal with the deaths of their spouses. But God graciously put me in a position to stay and feel, to process everything. I couldn’t numb or run from it, I had two little boys that came first. So I sat and looked my emotions straight in the eye. I wont say it was easy. I wrote, and I wrote. And I cried. and I allowed myself the freedom to be who I am and feel in such a new way. I learned how to handle my emotions and tragedy and not let them handle me. I think emotional health is a life long journey we should all be striving for, and that we will never fully “arrive” at. I think tragedy changes us inevitably. You will never be the person you once were, nor should you want to be. But I think God knew that I would grow and grow closer towards him if this was part of my journey.
So yes, I think its a bunch of crap that Fareed passed away, especially when I was pregnant. It makes me want to smash a million plates into the kitchen wall and then dance around on the shreds. I look at my boys almost every day and think of how proud he would be of them. I still get lost in moments where I imagine what he would be doing in the moment with us.
But I trust God, and I trust the story he is writing. I see the silver lining. He used something extra painful and placed his hand right on it. And nearly two years later allowed me to see where he has been weaving in our tapestry all along.
I cant imagine another way to teach me how to be strong, than that birth.
I cant imagine him teaching me another way how to be independent and rely on him, than placing me to raise two children on my own.
You see God knew the best way to bring me back to life, was to fill my house full of it.
He brought laughter through snot bubbles, and dirt cakes.
He brought hope through new life.
He taught me to care for my self by placing hard people in our path.
He taught me to be humble when I couldn’t hold it all.
He taught me about community by surrounding us by one that likes to truly get in the thick of things with the ones they love.
He taught me love by sending me Fareed, the most selfless man.
And he taught me how to truly cherish his gifts, by taking him home.
Its not easy to ask God Why, and accept the answers he has for us.
But in the end God is Good, All the time.