10 Weeks…

It’s been around 10 weeks now since Sam died – which I feel is long enough for the shock to wear off most people and equally long enough for the terrible reality of his absence to settle with us.

I feel like I have moved away from shock (‘can’t believe this happened to us’) to ‘what now?… How do we live in this new reality?’

I find it hard to describe the kind of pain I experience when I contemplate that I will never see him again – in this life. It’s very very ‘black’ – very dark and I get the sense I haven’t ever felt this kinda stuff before so I don’t even know quite how to articulate it.

Is it a deep wound that never fully heals and is hyper-sensitive any time it is touched? Is it an expanding inner darkness that I haven’t begun to comprehend yet? I know these last few days I felt the ‘never-ness’ stronger than before, like it has settled deeper in my being.

I’m grateful Sam wasn’t murdered like the two Aussie surfers in Mexico – I’m grateful he didn’t die a violent death, and I’m grateful that we were able to see him and his body wasn’t lost. In light of what we have seen on the news recently I guess those are things are positives. But he’s still dead.

I now observe how people interact around news of Sam’s death, how it impacts some profoundly and others seem to be unaware or maybe disinterested. I know I have never been amazing at staying in that space of grief with people. I just don’t seem to have that kind of empathy. I can focus and work at it, but I have noticed some people are just very naturally empathetic. I’m not one of those as a general rule, so I have a fair bit of grace for people who seem to not register where we are at in life.

In one sense I feel like the reality has taken hold and we have accepted (what else can you do) our situation, but in the acceptance it’s like we stepped up another level in intensity of grief. It’s a little like the chronic back pain I had a few years back – sometimes you forget it’s there, sometimes you have days when you function fairly normally, but other days it’s a searing pain that you simply can’t get around. It never goes away.

And then come the doubts – what if the whole Christian story is a myth? What if we have been the ones barking up the wrong tree all these years?… Yeah I do have those thoughts from time to time. I feel like I also know how to process them so they don’t spiral me into utter hopelessness. In those moments I reflect on what I already know of God, of Jesus and on my experiences of faith over so many years and it pulls things back into shape fairly quickly. I’m glad for those markers and moments that I can refer back to after around 50 years of following Jesus. I imagine this would be a tougher journey without the track history of God’s faithfulness and goodness to reflect back on.

This Sunday we head to Pingelly to speak to the crew down there. We had literally said ‘goodbye’ to them after a weekend on their church camp, when the call came that Sam was in trouble. So they went home with that knowledge – a fairly awful end to a good weekend. I want to go back and share with them some of how we have been dealing with this stuff – how our faith interacts with an event like this and how I have processed it all. I shared a message like this with the QBC crew a couple of weeks after Sam died, and I don’t intend to use it often. but for this context it will probably be helpful for them. I believe they have been doing some stuff with basic doctrine – so this will be a very stretching exercise in practical theology. How do these doctrines stand up and how do we navigate crises with them. I shared some of my deepest core convictions here a few months back so I will be reflecting on how they interact with this current situation.

Thanks to those who have blessed us with such care and kindness these last few months. The initial ‘assault’ is over and now we are contending with the next stages – an unknown quantity in many ways, but I’ll be reflecting on here as I’m able for those who are keeping in touch.

5 thoughts on “10 Weeks…

  1. This is a gift that you share with us. Again I am brought to tears as my heart follows your journey of loss and devastation, hope and connection.
    Our love, again to you all, from the Kimberley.

    Scott and Chris

  2. Deep sigh… I have been through similar thoughts over the last 7 years in our grief story. I appreciate the way you write out your thoughts.

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