I’m not better, but I have hope.

It’s been a hard few days. Grief ebbs and flows, life itself shifts and moves in unpredictable ways. Sometimes I can pinpoint exactly what has made a day difficult and why we have experienced more grief. Like yesterday when Robert text me and said, “I just saw a patient that I hadn’t seen since February 24. I saw them last time at 4:19pm. It was the last patient I saw before I got your call.” Situations like that are bound to bring about big and difficult emotions. Sometimes, though, there seems to be no specific reason for our heavy grief, except that Jane is still gone and that is reason enough. I don’t know that people always understand that.

I didn’t know how long it would take, but we finally received the first, “Are you better yet?” question. To be fair people may wonder this to themselves, but had yet to actually voice it out loud to us. I knew it would come eventually and it seems that almost four months is the time. Robert, providentially, received and answered the question. I felt my flesh and anger rise up. Am I not grieving on your time table?! Should I be better?! Am I being dramatic?! Robert was much more gracious in his response and I’m thankful the Holy Spirit bridled my own tongue.

If you are wondering, we aren’t “better”. But we are also not without hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 was a verse shared with us repeatedly early on after Jane’s death. I appreciated the sentiment, but I wasn’t ready to “mourn differently”. I felt grieved and sorrowful and it felt as if I were being told to rejoice, get over it and count my blessings. In the moment, it felt harsh. But I realize now that I have always mourned differently. The verse doesn’t mean we “suck it up and move on”. It doesn’t mean we never grieve or lament. We can have tears and hard days, but we ultimately know where our hope is found and that is why we do not grieve like the rest of mankind.

Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13

The photo at the top of this post popped up in my photo memories today from two years ago. In my biased, mommy opinion, Jane’s eyes were one of her most beautiful features. They were bright blue at birth and seemed to get brighter everyday. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing those same eyes lifeless. I’ve told Robert how thankful I am that he didn’t have to see that. Please hear me, I am not trying to be dramatic, but that fact is a hard thing to face as a mother. It is horrific and tragic to lose a child. This side of eternity I will never be completely better because of it , but I have a firm hope that one day my heart will be better, fully restored, because I will stand in the presence of my Savior.

Two days after Jane passed away I received the following message from a woman I didn’t know very well.

Casey, I do not know you or your husband that well, but I did have the blessing of knowing Jane. I kept her on Wednesday nights, first as a baby and then as a toddler. We called her sweet baby Jane because she was just so adorable and snuggly! The thing that impressed me most is how her eyes would light up when you all would come to pick her up! She especially had eyes for her father. Can you even imagine how much those beautiful blue eyes lit up as she fell into the arms of her Heavenly Father? My prayer is that His peace that passes all understanding will envelope your family as you endure this unthinkable tragedy. I will continue to lift your family up in prayer. I am thankful for the short time I was able to love on Jane!

Today George told me, “I think Jane’s eyes are still blue in heaven. ” I smiled at him and said, “I do too buddy, but I think they are probably brighter than we could even imagine.” Just two days after losing Jane and seeing the brightness of her eyes dimmed, I treasured this woman’s message. It was encouraging. It was a reminder that I don’t grieve like those without hope.

We may never be able to fit into society’s expectations of us ever again. We may cry too much or seem too dramatic. We never be better enough or have moved on enough to please others. Frankly, I hope we don’t fit in. I’m not meant for this world anyway. We have joy and we have hope. We grieve and we lament. We don’t have to pick sides. One day my own eyes will grow dim on this earth, but they will shine brighter than ever before in the presence of my Heavenly Father. That’s the day I’m living for, that is where my gaze is fixed.

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