On Pain ~ when you are trying to not feel it

**I wrote most of this post several weeks ago. But I still wanted to post it because I want to document what this whole experience has been like for me.**

Its amazing to me how hard I work to avoid pain. Have a headache? Pop a motrin. Got a sore throat? Take a throat drop. Fall on the ice while going to the car to fetch a toy for your child (ahem)? Please don’t ask me to move for the rest of the day because my leg hurts, badly. Cut your finger while prepping dinner? Go to bed! (I wish!)

I spent a good portion of the day one day a week or so ago sitting on the floor with a crying child (who shall remain nameless), explaining consequences for actions, discussing good and bad choices and mostly just being with him in his pain. At one point he said to me, “I will do ANYTHING good and have ANYTHING else taken away but please don’t take away ….[that thing I really really wanted to do]…”.

My son was trying to find a way to avoid the emotional pain caused by the consequences of his actions. He pleaded with me over and over not to make that thing his consequence. It was hard, so hard to stand firm because I hated seeing him in such emotional turmoil.

Lately I realize that I have been pleading with God, myself, my husband, to not let this be my reality – the reality where my daughter, who would be nearly ten months old but for the fact that she got really sick and she died. I found myself distraught this past month over the evidence that, no, I am not pregnant.

Just last week I was remarking on how things seemed to be more even emotionally for me. I felt better able to “manage” my grief. I could see healing happening and I felt like I was starting to move forward. At the same time I was struggling to feel connected to Naomi. I had such a short time with her, we didn’t really get to know her much at all. And while I was relieved that the raw, sharp, biting pain of early grief had subsided into a deep ever present ache, I also felt more distant from my daughter.

I have been discovering that when I employ various strategies to numb the emotional pain of loosing my daughter I also numb out the joys of knowing her as well. Now, some of the coping strategies are just that. I need to cope. I need to be able to keep living so I can’t live in the pain all the time. But when I avoid it for long periods I find myself not only escaping the pain but also in some ways unable to feel the joy and love that she brought to my life. And there is oh so much love and joy she brought to me. God has used my daughter in my life in ways I never could have imagined. But I am so grateful.

Life is precious and fragile and painful. I don’t want the pain, but through it, and sometimes in it, I see love and beauty that simply takes my breath away. So today I try to face the pain as best I can with the prayer for strength and grace in all the places I need it most.

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