Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Comfort of Shock

It lasted for longer than I expected.  The shock.  I guess it actually began before I ever even knew what was happening.  I remember getting the call that night that my mother had been involved in an accident but that was all we knew.  The details were sketchy and we truly had no idea just how bad it was.  We scampered for a few minutes wondering what to do.  Go. Stay.  Call someone.  What about the kids.

 I had never heard or seen my step-father cry.  Maybe that was the start of it.  Hearing him crying and sounding so small and confused.  So, we drove the hour drive in almost complete silence.  Not knowing what we were driving to or what we would find when we got there.  I remember us trying not to scare the kids so we had insisted that everyone just sit quietly as we tried to figure things out.  Somewhere along that drive my husband took the call that confirmed that the accident had taken my mother's life.  I remember him looking at me his eyes full of tears shaking his head, no, and then dropping the phone.  That was my sign.  That was the way I learned that I had lost my mother.  My big, strong husband delivered the news.  God knew I couldn't hear it from anyone else.  I needed to hear it from the person who knows me best.  My partner.  My confidant.  My rock.

 I heard him.  But I didn't really hear him.  I remember his reaction and thinking, "why is he crying"?  "I don't believe him."  Truly, I didn't believe anything or anyone.  I had checked-out.  The lights were on but nobody was home.  Nobody that wanted to feel grief or face the reality of what had happened. I kept thinking they had gotten it wrong.  A mistake had been made.  They had mixed her up with someone else or maybe they had actually taken her to the hospital and not the funeral home because she was in bad shape but she was still alive.   But I think that is where the shock becomes such a blessing.  A comfort, really.

 In one of the books I 've been reading on grief it describes the shock-phase as a comforter.  A gift from God until we are ready to feel.  A gift from God until we can feel without totally loosing our mind.  That is exactly what it has been for me.  I didn't feel anything for so long.  I stood outside the funeral home at 10 o'clock the night of her accident while everyone else wept and I got busy making plans.  I called and delivered the news to both of my brothers.  I called to get my brother home from boot camp. I stood in the funeral home knowing that just beyond the office door laid my mother.  But I would never see her again.  I took the rings and earrings that they removed from her body.  I took her purse that was salvaged from the crash site.  I did all of this without shedding a tear.  I could not have done it if I was not being comforted by my great Lord with His gift of survival shock.

Now though comes the hard part of feeling.  Slowly feeling the pain of the grief.  Of course, just as our Lord gives shock to comfort, he also allows the shock to be pulled away slowly.  A bit at a time.  Like a wave returning to the sea.  As this wave returns I have had difficult hours, difficult days, and difficult weeks.  I have felt a bit like I am stuck in the sand, right above where that wave would land and am going nowhere.  However, I have also felt big strides of healing.  The Lord continues to give me the time, people, and places I need to heal.  Ever so slowly, heal.  I am grateful for his time and for his compassionate heart.  And for this place, this blog where I share what I have felt, am feeling and I heal.  Each time I write I heal a little bit more. 



  1. These are beautiful words as you process what happened. Thank you for being so vulnerable. Blessings!

  2. You are such a strong, brave, sweet, kind woman for sharing this. You are so right about the comfort that shock can be. God does this for us when we need to get through and get things done. I was the same way even though I knew and was "prepared" for both mom and dad's deaths. If it had not been for that shock factor I could not have functioned for the first few days. Nor would anything have gotten done. Thank you for sharing this and being such an inspiration!