For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Better Answer--What I Wanted

This series began with a question from someone who read my post Battle-made Courage.

She asked:

"In your latest post you mentioned your friends who responded to your emails in a somewhat harsh or maybe an unsympathetic way.  I'm curious and also want to be sensitive in these situations and would like to ask what would have been a better response for you at that time?"

I've offered pages of thoughts and suggestions, and hopefully, in them, people have found understanding of grief and equipping for addressing the pain and needs of those who grieve.
However, this writer asked specifically, "What would have been a better response for you at that time?"
To help you understand the answer, let me give you an insight into what precipitated the text.
I had gone through 7 1/2 months of mind-jarring losses. During those months, I spent countless sleepless hours with children who were grieving and could not sleep. I dealt with a mom who needed to be told daily what the doctor had said about the cancer, and each time I told her, it was the first time she had heard she was terminal...and she sobbed and grieved...every...single...time. My family was in denial. Then my stepdad blamed me for killing my mom when she died and decided to punish me in a variety of mental and financial ways. I cannot even put the whole separation and divorce thing into words, and there were people I had called my closest friends...who decided they weren't.

The week prior to that text I had finished my emergency response training, and every night I closed my eyes and saw my husband die in my arms...over and over and over again. Multiple times a night I was the one who pulled him out of his car and pushed air into his lungs through his blue lips.  I was the one who pounded his chest with compressions trying to get his heart to restart. And every single time...he died...with his head in my lap...anyway.

Throughout those months, I had tried to be brave and courageous. I had tried to be the kind of person my Marine friend would be proud to go into battle with. But that day, there was no bravery. There was no courage, and I had been battled beyond my ability to battle anymore.

And these "friends" demanded more. They made it clear what I had given was not good enough. That I wasn't strong enough. That I was a disappointment.

I deleted them from my phone list, Facebook connections, and email. I was already buckling under the weight of what I had. I could not carry their expectations, too, so I deleted them.

I tell you all that so you have a glimpse of the weight of grief and the responsibility of rebuilding lives when there is a giant gaping hole, or in our case, multiple gaping holes.

What I was really trying to communicate with the text, "I don't want to get out of bed," is how utterly exhausted I was on every level. Mentally, emotionally, and physically I was beyond fumes. Sheer will only goes so far, and mine was gone.
What did I want the response to be?

I wish someone had taken a moment to take care of me.

I wish someone had shown up at my door and said, "I'm here. Let me clean your house. Let me take the kids. Let me fix you meals. Let me...let me take care of you."

I wish someone had shown up with coffee or shown up to take me to coffee.

I wish someone had brought a stupid movie, made margaritas, and laughed hard for a few hours. Any clue how good it would have felt to simply laugh?

I wish someone had just brought sweet tea and a box of kleenex, sat on the deck with me, and said, "Tell me everything. This isn't normal for you. Tell me everything." And when I was done, she would have hugged me and whispered in my ear, "I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry," while I just sobbed.

I wish, for one day, someone would have given me a day where no one needed me to have an answer, no one needed me to be strong, no one needed me to take a deep breath and do the hard thing anyway.

I wish, for one day, someone would have been my answer and would have been strong for me.

I wish someone would have taken a moment to realize even the strongest warrior grows weary. If the battle rages long enough, even the most courageous can reach a point of simply wanting to quit. The cuts and the blows and trying to figure out a way through the battlefield only to be assaulted even more brutally than before takes its toll. At some point every warrior needs to step off the field or into a foxhole and find some rest while someone covers her.

I wish someone had been willing to cover me.

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