I was reading The Journey of Desire by John Eldridge. It’s a great book, I just love all his stuff. Anyway, he wrote that book just months after his dear friend died in a climbing accident. He wrote it from a place of real grief. He said in the book that we don’t grieve enough, or allow ourselves to grieve properly. We plaster on fake smiles, hide our feelings and get on with our lives because in our society grief equals weakness. And even in Christian circles we don’t know how to deal with someone who is grieving, we say dumb stuff that does help because we are uncomfortable with grief. We should get more comfortable because this world is full of grief and loss. We need to learn to deal with it properly or we will have underlying emotional and physical problems from not dealing with our feelings. He said in his book that in his darkest moments of grief only beauty helps. That really resonated with me. When I am going through a difficult time I just want to be in nature. I am drawn to it. After our most recent miscarriage last month we found ourselves drawn to get away from it all. We scheduled a beach trip for Labor day. We hadn’t gone anywhere this summer and we decided it was time, we needed a break. It was also monumental because we decided to not take our two special needs kids with us. It has been a long summer with them home all the time. They don’t like being at home, they prefer the routine of school, and by the end of summer they are having behavioral issues as a result. Then my husband, a school administrator, has to work most of August. Not just work, but work like 70 hours a week. It’s nights and weekends on top of the normal hours just to get school back in session. It is the longest month of my whole year. I was so done by the time the kids started school that this little beach vacation was just what was needed. Glenn said it was the most restful vacation we have had in 10 years. He was right. We didn’t do a whole lot other than just be together on the sand, but it was just what we needed. It was not an easy decision to leave our special kids here but it was the right one. If you are a caregiver for someone, whether they are an adult or a child, you need a break every now and then. It is vital. Thank goodness we have parents who understand because they are caregivers for an elderly grandmother. We provide a break for them by caring for her and they took care of our special kids for us this weekend. We needed to just be a normal family for a few days. It can be so exhausting, the mental and emotional toll of caring for special needs kids. It’s also draining to be a special family who is always looked at and held up to such a high standard all the time. It was nice to blend in for once.
It hasn’t been an easy season with our son Joshua. Really for the past two years since we moved from our old house he has been very challenging behaviorally. He is severely destructive and I mean will tear up anything and everything, clothes, toys, bedding, flooring, walls, whatever he can get access to. It’s exhausting and frustrating. We have tried rewards and punishments but nothing works. We are changing some medication right now to see if that will help. He has been throwing severe tantrums and started getting to where he is throwing furniture and hurting other people during these tantrums. The tiring part is he does not do this at school. I am thankful for that but also frustrated that it means he can on some level control this, but chooses not to. As you can imagine it’s just tiring to be in the house with him all the time when he chooses to act like that. So this break from all that chaos was just what we needed. I tell special needs parents all the time that they need a break. They have to find a way to get some respite from the chaos that is special needs parenting.
I found the beach so healing. We are coming up on the anniversary of Andrew’s birth/death and I won’t lie and say it’s easy. We finally bought a headstone for his grave. It took us a year to do it but we finally did it. We will place it there on the anniversary, September 29th. It’s been a few years of grief. The obvious grief of loosing Andrew and this latest miscarriage, but also the grief of dealing with Joshua’s challenges and grieving our ideas of what he could be versus what is. But in the end, only beauty helps. A sunset, a flower, the beach, the mountains. God calls to us through his creation and brings healing through beauty.