Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This Strange Journey

I have grieved before, for friends and Paul's dad and others. But never like this, with an out-of-the-blue death of someone this close. So it has been an interesting journey, full of who-would-ever-have-thought moments that increase the surreal sense that this is all happening to someone else.

A few surprises: the shock. We all had stories of those first days, when we wandered around in a daze and couldn't make the smallest decision. Making a pot of tea took enormous effort and concentration. Getting ready to leave was nearly impossible. Thankfully I had Amy, who went to my closet, picked out all my clothes, and packed my suitcase.

The sudden tears: it was like I had a hot-water-bottle in my chest with tubes leading to my eyes. And every so often, like in the middle of the Denver airport, something would punch the water bottle and I'd spill over in tears.

The lack of sleep: I had maybe two nights' worth of sleep in a week's time. Mom had one night where she didn't sleep a wink. Now, back home, I am sleeping long and deep.

The lack of appetite: Normally I can put away some serious calories and feel close to collapse if I don't eat every few hours. This week I hardly ate unless Emily set something in front of me and made me eat it.

The laughter: somehow I had always thought I wouldn't laugh for a month if something like this happened. Yet we found ourselves laughing hysterically at the oddest things, especially with my SIL Geneva, who slept in Mom and Dad's basement with me. I think the lack of sleep had something to do with this.

The lack of tears: sometimes I'd be talking with someone who was weeping on my shoulder, and I had no tears. And I didn't cry much at the burial. I thought, "What? I'm done crying?" I wasn't done crying, it turned out, but tears can't be summoned at will; they come and go randomly.

The need for contact: most of us shy away from picking up the phone and calling someone who's mourning. But it's vital to make that connection.

"I continue to have a deep sense of peace," my brother told me this morning. And so do I. This is the most surprising thing of all.


  1. Dorcas, I'm so thankful for your postings. It helps all of us to think through things. We all grieve differently and for you to be able to journal like this in so wonderful.

    You are walking a path not quite like anyone else's, BUT as you look back there are others following you that you'll be able come alongside and say.... "I know, I care, I've been there..."

  2. Don't force yourself to eat, Dorcas. Foregoing food is one Biblical way of healing during mourning. Our Creator designed us that way.


  3. Dorcas, i've never commented on your blog before and why am i now?? but i've been thinking about your family alot lately and it reminds me of when all jeff's kids were killed. every one of the things you were surprised at, i also went thro. something you know nothing about til you go thro it yourself. and for every one of those things brot memories back. but i'm so thankful for the peace we can all have if we trust God with everything. i'll be thinking and praying for you guys. Gina Schrock

  4. My sympathy on the death of your nephew. My prayers are with you.

  5. Dorcas, you dont know me. I'm LaDonna's mother who is married to Justin Nice out your way. I know what your talking about with all the different things you've been going through and experiencing since the death of your nephew. I too have experienced death in different kinds of ways. Expected and unexpected neither one are easy but I agree with you the unexpected is definitly harder.
    My husband's father also took his own life, and we had a son killed at 18 months old. Both were really tough and I think still continue to leave their effects on our lives.
    May God continue to give you grace and peace for the days ahead.
    Love and prayers, Ruth

  6. Praying for you, Dorcas.

  7. Hi Dorcas, I'm Connie from Texas and I've commented one other time on your blog.

    My Dad is a minister and their Youth minister and his wife have been under counseling from my Dad for their marriage problems. Last week the young wife committed suicide. My Dad's done a lot of funerals over the years and has seen his share of death by accident, suicide, natural causes, homicide etc. but this young woman is "haunting" him. I think there are many more emotions that come into play when a person commits suicide. Besides the anger and the feeling of sadness that someone felt like suicide was their only escape from the pain, is a feeling of betrayal as well. When you invest in a person and they do something so selfish, you can't help but feel betrayed. I reminded my Dad that in the end, it is that person's choice to do what they have done. All the "what-ifs and if only's" in the world can not overide a person's free will. For those left behind, it seems like there are never any answers, only questions.