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Monday, October 13, 2008

Dancing with Grief Plus Seven Months

Jolene took her own life seven months ago today. I'm feeling some anger at Jolene for the manner of her death. How could she? Why did she?

I can't say that last month I had healed from Jolene's death. I have learned that I may never "heal." That the seemingly callous statement of a stranger shortly after Jolene's death is nothing but the stark truth: I will never "get over" it. It will never be okay. A scar will form, and life goes on, but I will always miss her. I flit in and out of denial, a sense of impossibility that I will never see my girl again.

But the past four weeks have shaken me to the core once again. My own scare with the angiogram and possible heart blockage was bad enough. But Mom's surgery, and the subsequent complications, reminded me that someday I will lose her as well. Take her away as well as Jolene, especially now, and I will collapse like a proverbial house of cards. That is a blackness I cannot contemplate.

God is good. As of this morning, Mom is doing much better. The doctor is even talking about releasing her from the hospital tomorrow; that may be delayed since she now has a bladder infection. Her kidneys still aren't functioning properly, but otherwise she is making progressing. Yesterday she took a few steps and sat up for five hours.

I told one of the nurses at the hospital about Jolene last night. I also told her about the granddaughter on the way. She told me she had her daughter shortly after her grandmother died, and we both agreed that God sometimes works that way.

When Jolene shared her testimony, she always mentioned how a church member went home to be with the Lord at the same time she received Christ. She always felt like she came in to take his place. I wonder if up in heaven Jolene is awaiting the birth of Baby Franklin (as I call her) with the same anticipation.

Oh, Jolene, Jaran's baby can never take your place.

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