It’s easy to do these days…blame someone else for your problems…blame yourself for problems not your own. How is it that we try to escape responsibility for our own mistakes while at the same time punishing ourselves for something we didn’t do? How do you avoid it?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in response to Matt’s death. I’ve been blaming myself…even as I write this I struggle to remind myself that I didn’t cause this…that I couldn’t have prevented it. That’s what people keep telling me, anyway…that it’s not my fault. That there’s nothing I could have done. I want to believe that but I find myself getting caught up in the “if only”s or “what if”s and “should have”s.
You see, it had been about 2 weeks since I’d talked to my brother before he died. I knew he was under a lot of pressure and needed encouragement and even though I didn’t know how bad it really was, I still feel like I failed him. I let him down. I tell myself things like that…I should’ve known. When I heard the sadness in his voice the last time we spoke, I should have called him back right then and made him talk to me. Hearing that sadness in his voice tortures me now. I should have known. Sure, I prayed for him. We prayed for him as a family. But I didn’t call him back that night…or the night after that, or the night after that…
If you keep up with my blog, you know that I thought about calling him on the day he died. I remember it all too well. I was at Chick-fil-A with the kids watching them play in the play place. It was around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I remember thinking… “I wonder how Matt’s doing. I should call and check on him…no, I’ll wait until tonight when our night and weekend minutes kick in. He’s probably at work anyway.” I was worried about the stupid phone bill! I hate myself for that. If I’d known it was my last chance to talk to him, I’d have emptied the bank account if that’s what it took to make the call. I don’t know when his actual TOD was. Maybe he was already gone by then. Even if he wasn’t, he may not have answered the phone. All I know is I should have tried. I should have picked up the phone right then and called. At least then it might be easier to live with myself. As it is, I feel like a terrible sister.
I just need someone to blame. I could blame Matt, and I have at times, but he’s not here and what would that solve anyway? It’s easier to blame myself. I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more easily angered and hurt these days too. I don’t have the patience I used to have with the kids…not that I ever really had a lot of that to begin with. I snap at Justin for stupid stuff. I’ve even had a few angry conversations with God. Thankfully they are all very forgiving.
The pain can just be so intense sometimes that I want to punch somebody until they hurt as much as I do…like in the movie “Steel Magnolias”. I want the world to stop and notice. I get angry with people now for just going on with life as if nothing’s happened…total strangers I mean. At other times, I feel guilty for laughing or having the slightest moment of happiness in my life. It’s irrational. I know that. But it’s reality for me right now and if it’s true that reality is my friend, then maybe speaking the truth will help heal the hurt. I miss my brother. I want him back. I want my brother back.
When I get angry at God, I realize very quickly that I’m speaking to the God of the Universe as if He’s my “buddy” who’s done me wrong. Who am I? Even the most horrific day of my life is better than what I deserve. I’m very thankful that God is merciful, kind, patient and loving. I’m thankful that He’s big enough to handle my ranting and raving. He’s big enough to know when I need to be held and when I need to be put in my place. I’m so thankful that He knows my heart. I didn’t cause this. He didn’t cause this. So who is left to blame?
Ultimately Satan is to blame. And you know what gives me comfort? God is DEFINITELY going to put him in his place one of these days! He already did about 2000 years ago at a place called Golgotha…and He’ll stick it to him again at the resurrection!
Now I’m not naive enough to think that this realization means life is going to be peaches and roses from here on out. I expect that I’ll still have bouts of anger, depression, loneliness, and guilt…all the emotions that come with grieving. In fact, I may have them as soon as an hour from now…I may have them for years to come. I’ll probably forget every now and then that Satan is to blame. I’m counting on God and friends like you to remind me of that…and to remind me that “we do not grieve like those who have no hope.” And if faith, trust, and hope are intertwined like a rope, I’ve tied a knot at the end and I’m hanging on for dear life.
P.S.-Like the song lover I am, I found another one that I really love hearing these days. It’s my prayer every day and I hope it touches your life too. May you hang on to faith, trust, and hope in Him today and every day. Blessings.