Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overwhelmed and searching--Grief and healing

The door creaks. The cobwebs entangle. The dust chokes.
"Helloooooooo? Anybody home?" 

I don't know why I picked today to visit my own abandoned blog. Could it be that I feel overwhelmed and could it be that I thought my old blog would be a place I could hide? Mmmm, could be. As long as I'm hiding out here, I can avoid all the housework and sewing projects that are screaming at me. Or maybe I came here searching for something? Or someone? Some days I feel  like I have misplaced my purpose, and my brain. And myself.

Yeah, I think that's it. I'm feeling overwhelmed AND I'm searching. Have you ever been overwhelmed? Have you ever been on a search?

I love the definitions provided by Dictionary.com
o·ver·whelm [oh-ver-hwelm, -welm] verb (used with object)
1.  to overcome completely in mind or feeling: 
2.  to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush: 
3.  to cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters, debris, or an avalanche; submerge
4.  to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything:
5.  to overthrow.
search [surch]verb (used with object)
1.  to go or look through (a place, area, etc.) carefully in order to find something missing or lost: 
2.  to look at or examine (a person, object, etc.) carefully in order to find something concealed:
3.  to explore or examine in order to discover.
4.  to look at, read, or examine (a record, writing, collection, repository, etc.) for information:
5.  to look at or beneath the superficial aspects of to discover a motive, reaction, feeling, basic truth,etc. (my favorite)
Let's back up a minute. Or several months.

My last post here was in June, 2013. I mentioned a new day that was dawning. Daily life for hubby and me changed because of his shift in careers. That type of change, like a pebble boulder pitched in a lake, creates a wake that reaches far into the future. My life will be forever different, like it or not. That change brought me grief. Downright, honest to goodness, tear producing grief. I felt a little silly about that, but what can I say? If you have followed this blog, I think you have a pretty good idea how much I enjoyed My Dashing and Bold Adventure. The end of that life's chapter made me sad. There. I admit it! (Does such public honesty make you squirm? It does me! I'm squirming over here, just so you know.) That sadness, sometimes, is overwhelming.

When I wrote that last post, I thought I was starting to get a grip on the new day that was coming up over the horizon of my personal timeline.
It is possible to be sad about something that you've lost and at the same time be confident that the new thing that comes to fill the void is part of God's plan for you--your hope and your future. 
I thought I had a pretty good idea what to expect and how to deal with it.

Little did I know...

For the last several years my father complained of pains in his chest (and various other places) and and an overwhelming tiredness or weakness. For the last several years, visits to the doctor were futile.  On July 4, 2013, my father was hospitalized because of his pain and weakness. Finally, a diagnosis! MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome)

The months that immediately followed seem now to be a blur. Because my parents lived a three hour drive from here (where dad received treatment), my home became their home one week out of every month, with more visits in between, while dad took chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions.  Yes, a new day was coming--an unexpected day, one that I had no idea how to handle.

Five chemo treatments and a several units of blood failed to produce the positive results for which we had all hoped. On November 21, 2013, dad decided to start home hospice care in my home. Thirty days later Daddy traded his weak, exhausted body of flesh and the temporal things of this earth for a new, unfathomable life to be lived, eternally, in the presence of the LORD! Daddy's ultimate new day has come.

Those six months of offering hospitality and care to my parents I will cherish as long as I live.
Even sad memories become sweet when love abounds.
My youngest daughter and my precious parents. 
Deep down I always saw myself as a daddy's girl. I still do. Though my mother is alive and we have a good relationship, my father's passing left me feeling somewhat orphaned. Not every day, but some days, that orphan feeling is overwhelming.

A few other things have taken place in the recent months that have not touched me directly but have been devastating or at least life changing for other people I know and love. I've shared and felt their grief in the private corner of my soul where I go to hide and cry and petition my God. It's all been...I hate to wear out one word, but...OVERWHELMING! (Feel free to go back up and read the definitions again. Every single one applies.)

 Like that avalanche in #3 above, this whole overwhelmed thing has gotten out of control. It has rolled over my emotional, knocked down my mental, crashed into my physical, and is headed straight for my spiritual with destruction as its intent. It's got to be stopped! How do you stop an overwhelmation? (Yes that's a real word because I just invented it.)

Thus the search begins.

I've avoided this blog, my memories of how life was, because it made me sad. I've been running ahead of the avalanche, refusing to look back because I can't stand the pain, and I'm sick of tears and snot. I think I've been trying to bring about some sort of closure. So here I am, in search of an air hole from under everything that suffocates and overwhelms me at the moment (including the piles of laundry and layers of dirt in my house). I'm trying to face the avalanche head on. I'm searching for myself, that old woman girl who loves to look at life from a quirky angle. I'm searching for a better place than where I am now. I'm searching for a way to REALLY deal with that new day that popped up over the horizon.

God's Word promises that if we seek, we will find. Do you want to know what I'm finding? (Say yes because it's profound and you really do want to know.) I'm finding stuff that makes me laugh. Again. I'm finding a personality that is a unique crafting of the hand of God.  I'm finding a God who deeply loves me and forgives me and cares for me and entertains me and guides me and protects me and provides for me... (Forgive me if this sounds narcissistic. It's not about me, it's about my GOD!)

 I am not finding closure, and I'm glad. All of the days of my life past are such an important part of who I am now, and merely stepping stones to where I am going. To shut those memories up, to close them off because they may sting my heart, or make me cry, is like saying they count for nothing and had no purpose.  But, instead, I am finding healing. Unlike closure, which shuts a door and moves you on down the road of life but never really frees you to live, healing restores, makes whole, cures, reconciles,-- it frees you up to LIVE, not just continue on with life. I pray you understand the difference because it's HUGE! 

I'm not saying I will never again cry over the memories of my Daddy. And I'm sure if I flip back through the pages of this blog again in days to come, I may still be weepy when I remember those fun times. But, I can be free from the overwhelming grief that tries to completely bury me. I can look forward and look back with joy because of God's grace and healing power. 
There is a new hopeful day dawning, and I am certain of that because there is evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness in days past. He has already proved Himself. All I needed to do was look back and see.
If you are reading this and you are feeling overwhelmed, I hope you will read some old posts and find the God who gives relief, healing and life.
Then, if you would like, check out my other blog New Day Dawning here. (Click on the blog link. It's kind of new and trying to grow. Your visit will help it out!)   I would feel so blessed.

Lavonda

4 comments:

Karen said...

Dear Lavonda...I didn't know you had a new blog, so I hopped over and added it to my feed reader...

My heart hurts for you over the loss of your dad, but your words about him and the time you shared were profoundly sweet...I suspect he would be quite pleased with his "writer"...

Your post really resonated with me today...although our journeys are different, OVERWHELMED was the word pouring thru my soul yesterday evening...I shut the door and cried and prayed and still felt no less burdened and unsettled than when I started...today was a new day with new mercies but my spirit still has been hampered by worries and cares that I shouldn't be carrying....these words here:

"There is a new hopeful day dawning, and I am certain of that because there is evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness in days past. He has already proved Himself. All I needed to do was look back and see." gave me a much needed reminder of the blessed daughter I am of the most high God...thank you for sharing your words as I truly needed to read them....I look forward to reading your new blog soon!

Panhandle Gal said...

Lavonda - I know how you feel. The year after my dad died, I was looking at my future as a "new life" - not because my dad died, but because I was stopping the work I'd been doing for 14 years and life was changing. I now have responsibility for my mom, taking over what Dad did and that has changed the relationship between Mom and I. I understand what you mean about stepping stones - that first year after Dad died was hard, not the "new life" I was anticipating, but more of a different section of the path. I am still finding my way with the thought firmly in my mind that God is in control.

Lavonda Pflug said...

Karen, thanks for sharing your heart. I feel so blessed and honored. To know that the words I compile touches one heart or lifts one person's spirits is better for me than winning the lottery!
May you find hope, healing, and encouragement in the Lord.
Blessings!

Lavonda Pflug said...

Panhandle Gal, here's a big hug for you. ((HUG)). I believe that caring for a parent's needs can be hard work, but it is actually a very high honor as well.
My mom made it perfectly clear that she doesn't want me to care for her. She is more content with my sister. I am thankful that she is not alone all the time and that they have each other.
Yes, I constantly remind myself to give God control of the situation. I trade Him control for peace. (I come out the winner.) ;-)
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me. It always helps to know we are not alone.