Some dear friends of mine, Grant and Jordan, have had 72 hours of what seems is all of the above. The one-year date of when they had lost their 1 year old, Elliott, to SIDS was three days ago. Their beautiful new baby girl, Eisley, was born two days ago. The emotions behind these two life-changing events are ones that I could merely sympathize with. There is nothing I have experienced that could come close to such loss and such a wonderful gain. What a wave of emotions: all at once. I had the privilege of reading Grants words as to what the journey was like. He shared:
“You see, it’s hard to imagine – what do you do when the emotion of loss in contentedness begets desire? I’ll tell you from experience, you fill it, consciously or otherwise. “Anger! Alcohol! Pain! Instability! Hatred!” … This is what I had felt destined for in life. Despite the blessings, I had an inconceivable curse. When Elliott died, he took from me only one thing. He took the part of my heart that belonged to him, and only to him. It wasn’t his fault that I filled it with illegitimate junk, nor was it God’s fault.”
In a season of pain, we fill. We fill ourselves with what we think we deserve. The next paragraph contained insight that left me in tears….
“This brought me to my next battle, since I had most of that figured out. I always feared that Eisley may come riding in on Elliott’s shadow, but it isn’t the case. I have been blessed with an attitude that is irrefutably not of myself, but one born of the blessings of fatherhood. This is all I had to ask myself… “Grant – How dare you ever think that Elliott’s life was incomplete; that he may be replaced? And how dare you ever treat Eisley as his replacement?” It’s sobering in every way. I felt almost foolish after I realized where my subconscious had taken me weeks ago.”
We are met with these tidal waves of counter-acting emotions. How can there be so many beautiful things when there are also so many ugly, painful, and seemingly unforgivable things? I stand in a place of unknowing. How can you forgive and grow from such a place where the depth of the loss is so grand that you cannot see the end?
Grant and Jordan are heroes. They are courageous. They have walked through the darkness to come out in the light. And they have done all of this in a place of recognizing the pain. Of course, we fill. Fill fill fill. Fill up with anger, alcohol, pain, instability, and hatred. We stuff ourselves full, thinking we can justify it and coddle it. But at the end of the day, what we bury becomes us.
There are many things that I do not know. There are many things that leave me speechless and confused. Loss is one of them. However, what we bury becomes us. This mantra led me to the only possible outcome: walk through the storm. Now, to be very clear, there are many storms I have turned my back to. But I am closer to facing them than I have ever been in my entire life.
The tragic and beautiful story of Grant and Jordan has shown me that in all seasons there is a way to come out in the light. In fact, it has proven it to me.
It’s okay to feel rage, pain, heartbreak, confusion, hate, and any other feeling society deems as unacceptable. It’s where it goes and what you do with it that really counts. My only question for you is this: are you letting these become you?
Whatever season you are in, whether it is the beginning or the end or both, I urge you to choose to walk through the storms. It may not be today, next week, or next year, but do not bury them away. Do not allow them to become you.
Thank you, Grant and Jordan, for allowing me to share your story! You two inspire me, fill me with joy, and leave me in awe.