Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Five years

Today marks five years since Brad's death. That is crazy to me. Five years sounds like a long time. And it's weird because it seems like a lifetime ago and also just yesterday all at the same time.

I remember very vividly walking in my bed room to get Addie who was six months old at the time of Brad's death. Probably a day or so after. (those days are all kind of a blur,  they all run together)
I remember saying to myself - "my life is over." Just matter of fact. Not trying to be overly dramatic, but stating what was obvious.  Not only did I not want to be here without Brad, but I really didn't believe that I would be able to exist without him. I felt like half of me was literally missing and I didn't see how I could possible survive that way for long.

Now that I am looking back on the last five years instead of living it I've noticed a few things. It is interesting to see the progression.   All the different phases that you go through. I think I was in shock for about 2 years. Just attempting to function and not much else. I remember feeling like an actor in a movie. Pretending everything is fine because that was the only way I could function.  

I think in those five years I went through every phase multiple times. Feeling like I was finally getting a handle on this grief, only to be swallowed up by it the next day.  

Grief , I've found, is frustrating like that. Good one minute, total nut job the next.

I remember thinking, "I will never be happy again." Sure I would smile and laugh occasionally, but I would never really be happy. Not until I am with Brad again.   And that's not a very fun thought. Spending your life, just hoping time passes quickly so we could be together again... not much comfort in that for me. Not really a life, to be honest.

Well, one thing that has been a pleasant little surprise - is that I've been feeling happy lately.  It was honestly something I didn't expect.  And it's not really something I can explain. It's not that the pain of losing Brad is gone... or even bearable on hard days... And I still don't know that I will ever have a "fullness of Joy" without Brad physically by my side. But somehow, there is a calm, peaceful power that comes from being loved by my sweet husband. Somehow, knowing that he is there; and not just on the hard days or the special occasions, but Always.  That knowledge and what it means is finally sinking in. And it's changing me. Empowering me.  And I don't feel alone. Because I'm not alone.  And with that knowledge,  I can be happy here and now.

I am also learning that the powers of heaven are not bound by human logic. 

Elder Wirthlin gave a talk in the first General Conference after Brad’s death. In it he speaks about The principle of compensation: 

“That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."
I had never heard of (or payed attention too) the principle of compensation. It hit me like a ton of bricks while listening to this talk - that it was true. That the things our family would miss because Brad was taken would be made up for. I initially thought that meant it would be made up for in heaven - when we were all together again... but I have seen over the years the blessings pouring out upon us.
 The  powers of heaven are not bound by human logic.  If you are in a situation where it doesn't make logical sense for you to EVER be happy, or even be ok. Where it doesn't make sense for you to be able to heal- 
That doesn't matter. 
Because the Lords power is not bound by what our human mind can comprehend. 
Many times I've felt the spirit whisper that everything will be ok. And many times I've felt my sweet husbands presence and he has said that it will be ok- and not just ok, but good . And that someday I will understand. And I used to argue - I'd say - well I don't see how that can ever really be true. I don't see how it will be ok for our kids to grow up without their wonderful daddy, and for my littlest girls to not even have an earthly memory of their father . I don't see how that can ever be ok- and how they won't get gipped.  and I don’t see how I will ever be ok - being here without you...
One of my biggest sadnesses was having my children grow up without the influence of their amazing father - but that is already being  compensated for. Somehow, miraculously, my little girls have memories of their daddy. They know him and have a relationship with him. All my girls recognize when he is near.  They are influenced by him and he teaches them. I know he protects us . Somehow Brad is able to provide for, comfort, teach and bless his family - from the other side of the veil.
I know we will all still continue to have things we miss out on by not having Brad physically here with us - and those things are difficult and heartbreaking at times... but I have seen a little glimpse of the way Heavenly father is miraculously compensating for this already -  and it teaches me to not despair about those sad things - but to have faith that the Lord will do what He says He can do.
 I don’t pretend to understand how it works , but I have complete faith that my girls will not be gipped out of having a daddy.  I may not see the interaction, but he influences them, protects them and helps them in many ways I can not. 
I know my Savior is there, and that I can call on him. I feel like he has been lifting me up and carrying me around and steadying me every day for the past five years. And the power you get from the atonement - it’s not just a nice idea. it’s not just a warm ,fuzzy, happy thought, that you think about . You have the ability to tap into a literal power that nothing in the universe is stronger than. Every person on this earth has the ability to use that gift - even if we don't understand how it happens.

And THAT gift is what makes us happy...