When I found out about Kade, when they said the words, “This is not survivable”, I passed out. I don’t remember anything between those anguishing words and being on the hospital floor, a nurse putting a pillow under my head and someone, seemingly far off, asking me if I knew my name. I remember saying, “Well yes, it’s Tracey” then the anguish flooded back in and I remember wishing for unconsciousness again.
Then I started praying and touching my boy. I ran my hands all over him. I uncovered his feet so I could rub them. I finally, at my husband’s insistence, sat in a chair that had been pulled up next to his bed and I laid across his shoulder and stroked the part of his hair that had escaped the bandage engulfing his head.
At this point, I’m sure you’re imagining some sort of hysteria happening. There was none. I talked to God. I silently begged and bargained with God. However, I felt the presence of God so heavy on my heart and I knew in all certainty that Kade was going to leave us. I heard no thunderous voice from Heaven, but the Holy Spirit communicated very clearly with me on this matter. Once God told me that he was taking Kade, I had this supernatural peace that I cannot even hope to explain.
I kept that incredible sense of peace for about two weeks. I kept saying, “This is the craziest thing! I know where Kade is, I know he’s not hurting anymore. He’s whole and perfect.” And I was HAPPY for Kade. He was a tormented person, he had been his whole life. That was over for Kade. He wouldn’t ever suffer again. The peace from that was overwhelming. Kade was peaceful for the first time, probably ever. I have often said, that Kade came out scared and mad and stayed that way. I even said it facetiously at times. To HIM! 🙄😂 But it was a hard truth that we all had to deal with. Kade was always unsettled and he was now settled. And I had this warm blanket of well-being surrounding my heart and soul and I was good.
And then….. the enemy went to work.
It started Halloween night. We were taking the grandchildren around to the trunk-or-treats in town and we passed the graveyard.
Bill had bought a beautiful bench for us to sit on when we visited Kade. We took all of the flowers from the graveyard except those sent by his graduating class. They were school colors, red and white, and the bouquet was huge. It was standing where his headstone would eventually be.
And I looked over, and for the first time, I thought, “My son is dead and that’s where he is buried” ￼
It knocked the wind out of me. I was sitting in the car with the kids and I didn’t want to spoil the fun the littles were having so I just kept swallowing and breathing.
The following two weeks have been a living hell. The devil went to work in overdrive. I have been in a constant stream of prayer day and night.
I began to cry. I had cried at the beginning, of course. But not like most would imagine. The girls would say to me, “You’re being so calm, it’s scaring us.” I would talk to them about this peace I had and I was so amazed and thankful and quiet in my soul. That seemed to be gone. It left as quickly as it came. At least, that’s what I thought.
I began to have awful thoughts. I began to question if Kade indeed, went to Heaven. I was concentrating wholly on his absence. How horrible the ache of missing him was. Kade and I were very close, as I am with all of my children. But of the three boys, Kade was the one who I talked to every day, several times a day. We talked each morning while he was getting his workday started. We talked about what he was cooking and we FaceTimed in the grocery store so he could plan meals and ask advice on what to get. We FaceTimed when he was cooking, or when his dog, Barlow was being cute. He called me to tell me what he and Elizabeth were planning for the weekend. We talked when he was sick, or happy, or mad, or sad. Our days were intertwined. It has always been like that with us. And what a blessing for me to have now. Except I couldn’t see the blessing, just the inconceivable void that was there now. A black hole of despair had taken over and I was drowning it.
Then guilt set in. I felt guilty that I was having such a horrible time. My peace was gone. The enemy told me if I had more faith, I wouldn’t be this inconsolable. I felt my peace was gone because I didn’t believe enough. I was ashamed of myself for crying all the time, for not wanting to do anything but sleep. Shame or no shame, that’s what I started doing. Napping became an escape from the horrors that faced me when I was awake.
I couldn’t watch tv, or listen to music, or read. I didn’t want to cook or clean. And all of this sounds normal, considering the circumstances and the depression surrounding the loss of a loved one. But I couldn’t see that. I saw failure. My faith had left me, that’s where my hangnail was. I was doing something wrong or I’d still feel that peace-honey that I’d been bathing in.
I finally broke down a few nights ago and trusted Ken with my secrets. The guilty thoughts I’d been shamefully hiding. I sobbed and broke all apart inside. I cried for my horrid thoughts and for the absence of a human whom God had formed inside of me.
Ken lovingly scolded me. He talked to me for probably an hour and I set quietly, except for tearful hiccups that snuck out, and listened.
You see, Ken is in a grossly unique position that, he’s been here before. His brother’s son died in much the same way as Kade, then five months later his other son was taken too. Both of their children, in five months. And Ken spent years putting their pieces back together. It’s this strange mixture of blessing and breaking. Good from bad. He knew what to say and how to say it because he’d been through this horror show before. I have this weird mixture of hating so much that these people I love so much had to endure this kind of agony and a thankfulness that Ken knew how to handle it because he’d had to endure it. I mean, how can you be thankful for something so awful, and maybe that’s not even the word I mean to use. But God knew. It’s just another orchestrated move in the life of Ken and Tracey. The masterful way our Savior works to save us is inconceivable, at best.
It took a few days, but I started questioning the feelings I had been having. I asked myself over and over, does this align with what God says, or is this a lie from the enemy.
I’ve pushed myself to do things I do not want to do. I have watched lessons, daily, from one of several spiritual teachers that I follow. I read their books and worked in their study materials. I had stopped all of that. So I got on my phone yesterday and searched for something to watch. More often than not, God drops something in my lap. If I’m watching it, no matter how recent or not it is, it’s something I need. So, of course, yesterday, God lovingly chose something just for me. It was about grieving and loneliness.
It was such a spiritual eye-opening on grief. The crust on the biscuit is, I’m going to grieve, I am going to feel bone crushing loss and that’s so okay. God designed us to love, and losing love is sad. “Jesus wept”, the shortest verse in the Bible. I’ve heard that my whole life, we learned that as kids in Bible class. Imagine that, though. Fully God. Fully human. He felt the sadness of losing Lazarus all while assuredly knowing He was getting ready to raise Lazarus from the dead. He wept. The key in this story is, He had hope.
That’s what I lost. I didn’t lose my peace, or my faith or the knowing. I lost hope. I stopped focusing on God and started believing Satan’s lies and got swallowed up in doubt and hopelessness.
My grief isn’t lack of faith, it’s loss. My doubts are lies from an enemy who wants to steal my joy. My loss was lost in hopelessness.
Yesterday I took my hope back. Now look, I still cried a lot yesterday. A lot. But it was grief of Kade being gone. Then I started purposefully thinking about what it will be like when I see him again. I started purposefully thinking about who he is with. I started purposefully focusing on the truth of his healed spirit. Of his whole soul. I am trying to change my focus to one of hope rather than hopelessness.
I feel better. I’m still so sad, unless you’ve gone through something like this, you won’t understand the depths of my sadness. But I’m praying constantly that my sadness doesn’t get rooted in despair. That’s where we get stuck.
I’ve said before, God was preparing me for this. He anointed my soul with the peace that passes all understanding for a while, and I didn’t have to do anything but receive it.
Now it’s time for me to pick up my end again. To build my strength with Him. It’s time to work at it again. It just took a bit of time to get my focus back and get rid of my shame. Thank God, I mean, Thank God, He has prepared me for hearing Him. I’m thankful for all the lessons I’ve had to learn to be able to go through something like this and not want to die too. Because I think all parents have that fleeting thought, some camp there. I’m not going to. I’m going to work as hard on that as I have anything in my life.
God has a purpose for me. He chose to allow this, He chose to take Kade instead of leaving Him. He is a sovereign God, so my faith tells me, He knows what He’s doing. And if I’m faithful, good will come from this. That won’t take away all of my pain, but it will dull it. Amen.