March 11, 2013

What now? Epilogue #2

Over the past years, I found comfort in writing about Erik's day-to-day life,  about "Erik and me" -- a little team.  Now that he's gone  I don't really like writing only about myself but I figure there may be other readers out there who have lost "special" family members too.   So I'll try to share my thoughts a little more.  

 Since late Demember, I've swung between two feelings.  

#1:  what now? 

I'm a "task-fulfiller".  I was so accustomed to tending to Erik's care and managing his days.   Walking into his room, wondering how I'd find him.  Going to see him on Sunday after church and drop off his laundry.   Buying toiletries, new items of clothes, bringing him Cokes for his little refrigerator.  Taking care of his insurance, doing his taxes, arranging medical appointments for him.  Calling his care-givers. My sister and I pre-planning his funeral.  Full days, that stretched me.  Days are different now.  It's taken a few months for me to develop rhthym with new tasks.

feeling #2.   lay it down.
I felt like I have been carrying an invisible box around for a long time.  In it was all my concern, worry, and care for Erik's present and his future.  Now it's time to put the box down.  And it's ok to put it down.  And it's good to breathe without the worry.   And it's ok to move on to the things I put on back burners.   I'm a little lighter inside without the concern I carried.   And peace is there, a feeling of "I carried the box around the best I could."  And Erik is rejoicing in heaven.  I try to imagine it.  But it's so beyond our imagination.  Fun to try though.  I bet he's SINGING!

I've had 2 dreams about Erik.  The night we found out Erik passed away I dreamed a vivid dream that he was lost and I was desperately, frantically searching for him.   A few days later I dreamed he became alive again and he was still struggling with all his health challenges and I had to ramp up and start all the work of tending to him again.  I'm waiting for more dreams about him.  I hope they come.

Thoughts on Loss/End of life:

I went to get a Subway sandwich today where Erik and I had gone.  I'm in stores where I routinely bought things for him.  There have been memories of Erik all over my little community. I drive by his 2 residences and can see the windows of the room where he lived and struggled.  Sadness would come. When I drive by and see those windows, I have to turn to the Lord.  What a comfort to know Him at times like these, reach out to Him from the depths.   And He understands.
I know He understands because of what He whispered to my heart one second after I recerived the news that Erik was gone.  Two words kept repeating over and over in my mind:  "Unspeakable Joy...unspeakable joy, unspeakable joy..."  It was 4:30 a.m. and I had to wake up mom, call my sister and everyone else, but those words were there over and over.  It was a message from God to me of the state of Erik's spirit at that very moment, present with the Lord at last!  God is helping me turn sadness to thanksgiving.

Erik became like another of my children.   A child who was a grown up.  Someone we hadn't had a real conversation with in over 4 years.  And someone who became more like an infant at the end.  Couldn't feed himself, bathe himself and - near the end - couldn't sing anymore.   You can't help but learn something when you watch someone you love lose those things one by one.  I think I learned to be more grateful.  When Erik began to refuse food and liquid - and eventually medicine - we knew his time was short.  His body was getting itself ready for his final journey.  Hard decisions were made during those days.  In the last few weeks, keeping him comfortable ruled out.   I had benefitted much by reading a book called Final Gifts.  It's written by hospice nurses to educate about the end of life.  I've had time to reflect on the dying process.  Our bodies are made to receive nourishment.  When we're at the end of life we don't need that nourishment any longer and we shut down. As a Christian, we're made to need nourishment from God in His Word.  We die when we don't take that in.  God used Erik to show this to me in a real way.

more coming.  thanks for reading.  Love from me.


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