Grief is excruciating; yes, even for me. I know that if you haven’t walked this path alongside our family up close or kept up with the good and the bad social media posts, I might appear to have handled our losses with ease.

No. “Ease” is not a thing with grief. Grief, however, is also not an enemy to rid. It is a very real pilgrimage – a passage – that must be traveled through.

Nothing about losing a baby, then Mike, followed by the property loss and our together-dream, and then my father’s passing… none of that was easy — all in less time than it would have taken to have had the baby! No, nothing about walking [sometimes just crawling or barely breathing in and out] through this year was easy. However, there has been a steady undercurrent of peace. And THAT is what I hope my openness shares with others who have found themselves under the pressure and heavy weight of grief.

There has been an ebb and flow, like ocean waves – sometimes in a natural rhythm, and other times crashing through a violent storm – of sorrow then joy, anger then forgiveness, disbelief then acceptance. And sometimes right back again, or many all at once! I do not believe that people can expect “the 5 stages of grief” to be neat, tidy, pretty, or orderly. There may even be more stages than are mentioned in books!

Here’s what I do know:
I know it’s rocky. I know it’s at times terrifying. I know it’s not something that goes away with the quick snap of the finger. [Or perhaps not even after the first prayer with the proper word-formula or end-tag]. It is a healing process. It is a journey that is best taken with much grace — grace for self and grace from others.

At my early-on worst, I began to struggle to breathe, and my heart was laden under a constant pressure of heaviness that was pushing against smashed areas that were no longer whole in my chest, but shattered and broken. I could say, “I know my physical heart muscle is not actually in pieces,” and yet I could literally feel this feeling of broken fragments inside in a way I’d never before known. I looked up specific symptoms that I was experiencing, and I read all about “broken-hearted syndrome.” It was real. It was heavy. It was hard. And I hurt.

Just because someone is evidencing this feeling of being crushed and pressed on every side, it does not mean that faith and trust are not present. Believe me, in my yoga pants, Mike’s shirts, my infamous greasy-ponytail hair, a makeup-less face, and my “I really don’t care to beautify when I’m gonna cry it all away anyhow” reality, I may not have appeared to be hope-filled around the clock, or even much at all some days or weeks. But I was in a constant begging for hope, holding onto every smallest strand I could grasp.

At one point, I didn’t know if my heart would make it through those long, pressing days. But, I would cry out from the bedroom floor, “My kids. God, help me rise for my kids. Help me love my kids. I love my kids!”
I had no idea how I would be that night or the next day, but I knew a few things:

•I needed God to hold me together, because I couldn’t.
• I needed God to hear me, because I had felt like Mike died in spite of all of the pleas and the words we had to give. I needed to grow my trust that God knew, and was listening, even to all of my questions in that deafening silence.
• I needed God to see me; because I couldn’t see the future, and I needed to stand on His ability to see me through. Every day, I was looking for the You-are-with-me evidence – it didn’t need to be big. I was looking for the smallest of the small. Those tiniest cues bore witness to my hurting soul.
• I had too much to lose. My kids needed me to rise and be. For us.
• I had to lose. Surrender was key. And even from the floor, healing was happening, bit by broken bit.
• I needed to know that God would not let me go; He would not be lost in this, but holding fast to carry me along.

And that, my friends, is where this song was born.
From the hard floor, with a heart-wreck, and the need to be seen when I couldn’t see, heard after the wall of silence, and held when I didn’t have the strength to do the holding.

Today is our anniversary. [I don’t know if I should say, “it is” or “it would have been.” I don’t think it matters. November 23 will be an “always” day for us to celebrate.] I find it to be divinely appointed that this song release lands on this 20-year mark of “the two becoming one flesh,” now becoming one flesh again. A shattering that in time will be made whole.

So finally, the pain of a widow is real.
But thankfully God cares immensely for the widow.
He holds. He holds the whole of me, in bits or not.
And I have found that there is nothing to lose in surrender. For THAT loss is truest gain. And from that gain, I have risen up from the bedroom floor.

*** Side Note: This was the last song we tracked. It almost hit the scrap floor. Cheryl said to the guys, “I just feel like 11 is the right number of tunes. I know we don’t have much time, but let’s try this. I think it might be a song that plays itself.”
And it did. We were out the door in thirty minutes. It was a one-take pass for most, with just a second pass of fixes. I sat there thinking, “I think this will be ‘the song’ for some special listeners out there. We’ll see…”

I look forward to sharing tomorrow’s post. It’s perfect to be falling out on Thanksgiving!!! Please join us.
It will be a blessing, no matter what journey you are on.
Thanks again for listening.

Full Song Lyrics

Hold Me Together

I need You to hold me
Hold me together
I am all broken and I can’t hold the pieces
Everything is changing
I know that I can’t go back
But I don’t know how to move
And I can’t afford to lose

I need You to hear me
Hear my confusion
I have the questions and You know all the answers
Everything is changing
I know that I can’t go back
But I don’t know how to move
And I don’t know what to do

Here I am
Every part
Will You hold me with this hole in my heart?
Every tear
On the floor
Will You pick them up and make me whole?

I need You to see me
See that I’m shattered
I am a mess; and my heart is still breaking
Everything is changing
I know that I can’t go back
But I don’t know how to move
And I need You to see me through

So Here I am
Every part
Will You hold me with this hole in my heart?
Every tear
On the floor
Will You pick them up and make me whole?

I need You to hold me
Hold me together
I am all broken and I can’t hold the pieces
Everything is changing
I know that I can’t go back
But I don’t know how to move
And I don’t know what to do
I don’t know how to move
And I can’t afford to lose
Maybe I need to lose
I know I’ll never lose You