Sunday, July 20, 2008


Gabe died 3 months ago today. I thought about it in church this morning. It is the first time that the 20th has hit on a Sunday. He died on a Sunday. The last time I felt him move, that I remember, was in church. It hit me pretty hard this morning. I feel sad a lot. I sometimes feel like it's harder now than when it first happened. I can't really explain that except that the shock has worn off. Plus, we were surrounded by family and friends then, and now, everyone has gone home. Life is moving on. I suppose this is a natural part of the process, but sometimes I just think to myself, "How can that guy be outside mowing his lawn like that? Doesn't he know the world has stopped?"

We talked about joy in church this morning... how happiness is based on your life's circumstances and joy is based on the circumstances of your heart. That's true. Happy is not really in our vocabulary anymore, but the joy grows. Somehow the joy increases, no matter how sad it gets. Knowing where Gabe is. Knowing the company he is keeping there. Knowing who tucks him in at night. Knowing that the sorrow was worth it to have him here for 37 weeks. Knowing that the two hours I spent holding him really can last me a lifetime. Honestly aching for Heaven like they did in the Bible, not having to hold on so tightly to this world. It definitely changes your perspective.

I have prayer requests. One is just that as the grieving continues, it will be healthy and constructive and will gradually get easier. I know the grief will be around for a long time (maybe forever) and I'm definitely okay with that. The next is that I get a job. I resigned from my teaching position after Gabe died. This was with much prayer and thought, not at all an impulsive decision. I had decided to resign even before Gabe left, but it just made it clear to me that it was the right decision. I felt called by God (more than I can say I have ever been called to do anything else) to find employment using my Spanish to serve others. I'm looking into non-profit jobs. I feel really good about this. I feel like it's what God wants from me right now. I have a couple possibilities, but nothing concrete. There is one job in particular that I feel called to, but they are not hiring until late August. That makes it kind of scary. I don't want to take something else and miss out on this job, but then again I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. I'm ready to be working. It's good to have a "contributing to society" sort of purpose. I'm done with the alone time now. I have a couple other requests that I won't expound on, but just prayer for us in general would be great.

I'm trying to start reading the Bible on my own. Although many people turn to the Bible for comfort, I've kind of avoided it. I don't know why, but I feel bad about it... not really a guilt sort of bad, but just a sad sort of bad... like there's so much He wants to show me, and I've missed out. I feel an eagerness again to be in the word, so that makes me excited. I don't want it to burn out. I don't really know what to read when and in what order, so I'm just kind of randomly choosing. I've read Philippians and James over and over (these are my favorites), but I guess it's kind of cheating to read the same ones repeatedly and to ignore the rest. I always think I could learn a lot from the Old Testament, but instead of finding the super-meaningful stories, I end up reading about dimensions of something, a random war, or the uncleanliness of mold. I must not be looking in the right place.

Gabe's stone finally came in. It took 12 weeks (twice as long as they told me). They called Matt when it was ready. I am not surprised. They did NOT want to talk to me. I was losing my patience. I'm sure it's just a job to them, but it was so much more than that to me. His label-maker label on his temporary stone had faded. You couldn't even read his name anymore. That's pretty symbolic of how I've been feeling about things lately. Time goes on. People move on. The sun fades the evidence. And here I am, making calls to make sure they aren't forgetting about him. I want him to still matter. I know he does to the people who really count, but sometimes you want all those strangers who smile and talk to random babies to look at you and say, "I heard you have a son, and that he's beautiful and special and important, and I'm really looking forward to meeting him one day. Tell me about him." Okay, I do not really want strangers to come up to me and say that. That would probably be weird and make me uncomfortable, but I think you get my point.

Overall, in addition to sad, I guess I just feel anxious. It's an unpleasant feeling. I feel out of control and those of you who know me know that this is a VERY not good feeling for me. I want him to be here, but then again, I don't. I want to be out of the house. I want to be working. I want to be peaceful. I want it to all work out. And as I sit typing this, I know that it will... that I will be able to look back at this post and say, "Look how God worked that out... and that... and that." He's already been working on me, even just this morning. I was sitting in church this morning. My heart was heavy. I was crying. And then, they put my favorite verse on the screen. Phil 4:6-7. But they also added part of Phil 4:5 to it. That made it my more favorite.

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What comforting words.

Bill (our preacher) was also talking (just this morning, go figure) about when David lost his son - how he fasted and mourned when he got sick. He would not eat. He slept on the ground. His son died on the seventh day. When the child died, his servants wouldn't even tell him. They were afraid he would do something "desperate." But David got up, went home, bathed, put on lotions, and changed clothes. He went to the temple to worship, and then he ate. This was not what people were expecting. But it was a new day. David asked them "Why should I fast now? Can I bring him back?" (that's my paraphrase - 2 Samuel 12 for the real thing) Bill said that it is believed that this verse is in reference to that death: Psalm 30:5 ... weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. I feel like the morning is not too far away.

2 Cor 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.


Renata said...

Just wanted you to know that I think about you often and pray for you guys. Often its in the middle of the night when I can't sleep and I check your blog. I do not in any way claim to know how all of this felt and never will, but I can offer some sympathethic thoughts in the matter that we lost a niece a few years back. At the age of 7 months, she smothered in a crib at daycare while her mom, my husband's sister, was finishing up her last day at work. She went through a lot of the same issues about working that you are feeling. I can't imagine the pain, heartache, and grief from these experiences, but I know that you both have the comfort of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the greatest comforter of all. Praise the Lord that you both have his comfort.

I know that a complete stranger saying it would be weird, but I wanted to say that I look forward to meeting Gabe one day and getting to know that special little boy.

If there is anything we can do to help. Please let us know. Love, The Dean Family

Lauren said...

you've poured your heart out here, and i can't tell you how much i admire that and the strength and courage that takes. i'm praying for you and matt, for all those things, and i know the Lord is with you and is showing you all of these signs to bring you peace and joy. i love you and can't wait to see you guys, even if just for a night.

brightleigh said...

Oh, Patrice, your words touch me so much. As I write, tears are falling from my eyes. Isn't it wonderful how you are in church and it feels like your preacher is just talking to you in his message? I feel like that a lot. It is almost like he quenches a thirst that you have. It is truly GOD working in our lives. Gabe's stone is beautiful. I love you and Matt and I miss you tremendously. We will be in prayer for you. See you soon.

LeeAnn said...


We've already talked you know how I feel about what you have written, but I wanted to share the scripture that I mentioned to you.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Isn't it awesome to know that God loves us so much that he delights in us as his children? I can just imagine him rejoicing over Gabe with singing in heaven!

Much love,