Fat Tears And An Inflatable Dinosaur

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I thought I was done writing about death.

Since my father-in-law passed away suddenly last March, I’ve poured the full gamut of feelings out onto these pages.

But last Saturday my Oma passed away. It was a different kind of loss altogether. She was in her eighties, and had suffered at the cruel hand of Alzheimer’s for years. Her memories of my family and I had long dissipated. I imagine she must have felt very lonely as the days crawled on, her world becoming increasingly small and unfamiliar. I was tremendously blessed to be present at the moment she passed; her room was filled with the voices of those she had cherished and loved throughout her long life.

And so I found myself at yet another memorial, yet another graveside service. Another committing of an earthly body to the ground. Another message of hope spoken over the spiritual body.

It was hard to be sad this time. I thought about the darkness that had marked her final years, and I confess to being tremendously grateful that God had finally allowed her to join her husband-my beloved Opa-in heaven.

I didn’t cry.

Upon arriving home after a long, somber day, I flicked on my son’s favorite song: Roar. We pranced and sweated our way around the kitchen, looking quite a bit more ridiculous than you can imagine. I was surprised in my desire to turn on worship music afterwards. The soft rhythms filled the room as Asher continued to bounce about in his little play area. He set about the important work of dumping out each container of toys, pausing only to enthusiastically jump up and down on the back of a yellow inflatable dinosaur.

Despite the crazed toddler circling me,  I knelt to sing out the familiar verse:

You are peace, You are peace

When my fear is crippling

You are true, You are true

Even in my wandering

You are joy, You are joy

You’re the reason that I sing

You are life, You are life,

In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,

I’m running to Your arms.

(Forever Reign, Hillsong Live)

My voice cracked on the words, and I wondered why the tears were bubbling up now. On a foam play mat after dancing with my son to Katy Perry. Not in the hallowed church, where there were no children wreaking havoc. Not when I placed a single rose on my precious Oma’s casket. Not when I shied away from the good intentioned funeral-goers attempting to hug me.

By the time I had worked my way through a handful of songs, I was sobbing all over those cheap play mats.

Asher paused in his destruction to press his face within an inch of mine and ask, “Mommy OK?”.

I haltingly eeked out, “Yes, Mommy’s OK”.

Apparently, I can’t even lie to a two-year-old. He picked up his huge inflatable dinosaur and solemnly handed it to me. And I clung to that ridiculous thing and cried fat tears over the thick plastic.

I can attest to grief having the absolute worst timing. Bawling while clutching a plastic dinosaur doesn’t seem quite right, does it? It doesn’t seem solemn enough. Or reverent enough. But I have learned in these last months that there is no rhyme or reason to grief. The moments it chooses to overtake you are often ill-timed and almost always inappropriate.

But it’s best to let the moments happen. There’s a purpose to it enveloping you when it does.

I have found it best to lean into it, expose all those big scary feelings to the world, and let the tears fall heavy.

And, if need be, let them fall heavy onto a plastic dinosaur.

Image Credit

8 thoughts on “Fat Tears And An Inflatable Dinosaur

  1. Oh Megan… It’s a funny thing that grief! Thank you for writing so boldly and bravely about it. Too many people try to stifle it, or try to be ‘strong’, before they let it help them!

    For me, grief has become a safe place to feel & release all of the emotions I tried to run from my whole life. It still catches me so unexpectantly though. I’ll be watching another family interact, ‘wish’ I could have had that experience with my sisters, and then (my friend) grief shows up to help me vent/explore/letgo of the hurts. I’ve learned to ride those waves instead of fight them. This may not be the same for everyone, but grief has allowed me to say ‘goodbye’ and close many doors/walk away from past hurts and feel more whole – like I got a piece of myself back!

    Thank you for writing about this … You are an incredible gift!! xxx

    • I think few people understand grief the way you do my dear. You’re actually able to look at grief as part of your journey of healing and wholeness. That’s a perspective that is tremendously difficult to have. You’ve come an incredibly long way, and I could not be more proud of you. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I have no doubt its helped someone in their own walk. Much love.

  2. Ok this totally had me in tears. And I so want to give you one of those awkward hugs now. Oh Meg, take care of yourself as you experience more loss. And I so get the crying at the wrong times thing. If only I had a nice plastic dinosaur from a Curley-haired cutie-pie. :)

    • I’ll bring it to the next meeting! We’ll pass it around :) Thanks so much for your kind words my friend. And I’ll take that awkward hug next time I see you. Missed you terribly on Saturday.

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