Updated: Jul 27, 2022
Before we lost our Kai in December of 2010, I was truly a Pollyanna thinker. I believed all of the cliches about "whatever happens, happens for a reason" and "God never gives you more than you can handle." I also believed that if I prayed enough, that everything would work out. Wrong ! Despite the fact that Kai had been struggling for years emotionally and psychologically I truly thought that prayer was the answer, especially because despite my own personal best efforts, nothing seemed to work. I succeeded briefly in getting him some mental health care, but that went out the window as soon as he found another girlfriend. I went to mass every Sunday, and asked God for his assistance, I prayed to God daily for him. I tried to stealthily assist in ways that he did not know that I was by finding out from his sister how he was doing. He has always been an honest person, but toward the end of his life he was not as truthful, and he was erratic.
When he first got sick he did not see a Doctor. He just kept avoiding it, until it was too late. He got sick on a Tuesday I think, and finally saw a doctor on Thursday evening, and died the following Monday after 3 days in intensive care. After he died, I knew that my life would never be the same. I had struggled with him his whole life, and now that he was gone, the struggle did not end, it just left more questions. I have sunk into despair, wondering about the existence of God, while still trying to pray and go to mass. I went to many different group therapies for PTSD, peer counseling, Compassionate friends, private therapy (7 years total), EMDR, Psychiatrists, read about 20 books, massage, exercise, anti depressants, Reiki, and a psychic. All helped temporarily, but the ruminating would always return. My mother and sisters didn't know what to do with me, and insisted that I forget about him. Thankfully my husband has been pretty patient.
It was my sister in law who told me about the retreat, this was in October of 2021. I signed up immediately because it sounded promising. I was hesitant as the time grew near to March because it felt like I might be sort of claustrophobic, or that I'd get antsy, and want to leave. In the end, I did not want to leave at all. It was a very nurturing experience. The programs and activities and stations of the cross, and labyrinth were very well done. Relaxed, deep, nurturing which was exactly what I needed. We began to read bible passages and reflect on them, which is something I have done very little of in the past. In the weeks after the retreat, we have remained in contact and have continued to support each other. My journey into the Bible has got me thinking that I've become somewhat of a doubting Thomas. But, as we learned, we need to trust the mystery, and the mysteries. I totally find myself wishing that I had never had this soul scorching experience, that I was still a Pollyanna thinker. Someday, I hope to meet half way between doubting Thomas and Pollyanna. I must say, that one of my most helpful practices now is to "rest in God". When I can't sleep, or the ruminating starts to seep in, I just keep repeating, "rest in God, rest in God." Then my body and mind relax and I can get back to sleep. I may never understand any reason that Kai had to go back to God before me, but, I'll just have to trust he is safe and happy, which is all I ever wanted for him.
Upcoming Sacred Sorrows event at JRC - A Mother's Love & Loss - Finding Peace after the Death of a Son or Daughter (September 8 - 11, 2022). Register here
To learn more about Sacred Sorrows and their upcoming events, go to https://www.sacredsorrows.org/events