Something I wasn’t prepared for is how physical grief can be.
I’ll never forget the morning Ted and I left the hospital. We decided the day before to take the morning easy and leave on our own time later in the afternoon. We woke up and Ted went down to Starbucks located inside the hospital to get breakfast. When he arrived back to our room he had coffee and a present. I remember smiling and asking if it was for me. I opened the gift and inside was a stuffed animal that we now call “Sammy” the elephant. I quickly wrapped Sammy in the swaddle blanket Sam wore during some of his pictures and looked to Ted to explain his sweet gift.
With tears in his eyes Ted responded, “No Mama should have to leave the hospital with empty arms.”
There aren’t words to describe the moment the wheelchair arrived in our room to escort us out of the hospital. All I had ever seen were movies of the happiness we were supposed to be experiencing. Instead, it felt as though Ted and I were being cheated out of a life. I had trouble sitting in the wheelchair because that room was the only place we would ever hold our baby. Leaving it felt like leaving Sam.
As our car pulled onto State Street I held Sammy close to my heart and sobbed. I questioned how the world was still moving when mine had stopped. It felt like slow motion driving towards Paoli Pike.
People were everywhere but all I could feel was the heaviness of my heart.
I wasn’t prepared to feel the same way yesterday in church.
I was excited to get back to the house of God. My heart has yearned to be surrounded by believers worshipping Jesus. But the moment the band started to play all I could feel was the same heaviness of the drive home from the hospital. My legs and hands were shaking. I felt sick to my stomach. I wept in the front row. My grief was physical.
I know God was in that moment.
Earlier in the morning when I showered I sang to myself the lyrics of Holy Spirit. I couldn’t stop my tears when I heard the band play “I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves, When my heart becomes free and my shame is undone, Your presence, Lord.”
I’m still glad we went to church. No matter how physical my grief may be I know I need our community. Whether it be our community of faith or friends; please know that you’re carrying us by your love and your presence. We can’t ‘thank you’ enough.
I don’t know how long my grief will feel physical but know that it does. In the meantime, may God continue to hear the song of my heart.
“Holy Spirit You are welcome here,
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for,
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.”