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Saturday, 19 April 2014

The New Life of Easter unites Sadness and Joy

I've been trying to write another blog entry for days but I've been unable to find the words to write. Family and friends are being so supportive, yet life without Suzie is unbearably bleak, and I feel totally lost and bereft. I find it so difficult to know what to say when people ask how I am because I'm unable to respond truthfully without getting upset, and I feel so embarrassed for them as they struggle to find the right words to say. Yet I know the day will come when people will no longer ask, and I wonder if that will hurt even more. The simple fact is that this is an incredibly painful and distressing journey that has to be endured by anyone who has lost someone they love as much as I love Suzie. There are no short cuts, no easy answers, and nothing can take away the pain.
Tears are frequent and anxiety is a constant battle. Each morning I awake to the crushing pain and tightness in my chest, followed by a surge in my heart rate, sweating, shaking and the realisation that another day without Suzie has begun. I make a point of thanking God for each new day, I consciously take some slow deep breaths, and I have a diazepam or two. (This is an anti-anxiety medication that I've been on for years). I sit in bed with my coffee, watching out of the window for the occasional bird to hop onto the feeder outside, and I have a flick through Facebook, emails and the news on my iPad, until I feel able to get up and face the day. I wander round, looking at the various things that need to be done, but rarely have the energy or the motivation to accomplish anything. Interestingly, the only thing I have felt any motivation to do is to go out in the garden and pull up a few weeds and generally keep things looking nice.... Gardening had always been Suzie's passion and joy but was something I disliked intensely, and I'd only started doing it out of my devotion to Suzie when she was no longer able to do it herself.
Yesterday I made the decision to take down all of the condolence cards that I'd received and put them away somewhere safe. It was a hugely emotional experience for me, but, with Easter upon us, it seemed a good time to start focussing on new life.... the new life that Suzie has now begun, and the new chapter of my own life, whatever that might be. My hope is that this will help to turn my focus away from the sorrow of loss, and enable me to embrace the beauty of Suzie's living presence and love within me, and focus on all the happy memories that we shared during our lifetime together. 
I haven't yet been able to cope with going back to our church for a service. I've been into the church building once but the panic attack and depth of emotion that it caused was too much for me and I had to leave. That church was the focal point of our life together and meant everything to us, so I shouldn't be surprised that it will take time to be able to face being there without her. Suzie especially loved this season of Easter.
Throughout this 'Holy Week' I've found that the truth and meaning of Christ's suffering and death has taken on a profound significance as I recognise that Suzie has now received that gift of new life and eternal salvation joy for which Jesus paid so dearly. As I anticipate Easter Sunday tomorrow, and all that it offers as we are drawn to celebrate Christ's victory over sin and death, I can't help but thank God that Suzie is already experiencing the joy and peace of that victory. She has been made new, pure and whole, and she's been set free from the bondage of this world. Despite my ongoing and intense sadness as I so desperately miss her physical presence in my life, and even now as tears begin to fall yet again as I type, there is a faint glow of warmth and peace in my heart as I embrace the truth and reality of what the death of Suzie's physical body means for her. Her pain and tears are gone for ever. She has been made new. She is experiencing a level of joy, peace and happiness that is beyond anything we could ever imagine. That is what Jesus bought for us by His immense suffering, His agonising death and His victorious resurrection. That is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday. That is the free gift He offers to all who will accept it. 
hold on to the comfort that, one day, I will share that experience with my Suzie.